PART 3 THE FACETS OF DEATH
PART 3 THE FACETS OF DEATH
IS GOD A MASS MURDERER CAUSING MILLIONS TO DIE BY SENDING A CATACLYSMIC FLOOD?
This is one of those stories that many will point to that they believe evidence that God is evil. In response to some of my writings on various internet sites, I have heard some say that God is a mass murderer. They allege that He has brought about the death of many more people than even the Devil. I’m sure the story we’re going to take a look at next is the one they would present as a prime example of their sentiment. As we’ll find out, most of the people of the earth will perish at God’s hand. Does this reveal, as they infer, that He is truly evil? Let’s find out. Please go to the book of Genesis.
Suggested Reading: Genesis 6:1-22
2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
At this time, the population of the earth had grown since the first humans Adam and Eve, began to have children. The Scriptures tell us that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair (beautiful). There is much contention as to who the sons of God are and who the daughters of men are. Some say the sons of God refer to fallen angels, and the daughters of men are the daughters of human beings, while others say that the sons of God are from the godly line of Seth, Adam and Eve’s third son, and the daughters of men are from the ungodly line of Cain, Adam and Eve’s first son.
Whether we know who this is referring to or not, what we do know is that the sons of God took to themselves many wives. Apparently, the choosing of a wife for marriage was not based on spiritual character but on good looks. How many of the population believed in Yahweh? Only God knows. However, there was one godly man named Noah and his family that found grace (favor) in the sight of the Lord. Aside from them, there appeared to be an affinity for engaging in evil thoughts, words, and actions by just about everyone else.
5a And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth,…
What God saw (recognized) was that the wickedness (a wide-spread, firmly-rooted, and deeply-staining corruption, the second aggravation6) of man (humanity) was great in the earth.
So, what was the Lord’s response?
6-7 And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
The Lord repented that He made man. Some would say that what this meant was that He wished He never made humankind in the first place. I don’t think this was His perspective, as this response would be more reflective of a human mindset. The word repented means to be sorrowful. If you read this Scripture further, it says that God was grieved … at his heart. The word grieved means to be pained. I believe He was expressing sorrow that humanity had gone the way of self-centeredness, self-destruction, and total disregard for one another. It truly hurt Him to see this. With these thoughts in mind, the Lord said, I will destroy (remove them entirely) both man and living creatures.
If this is solely the basis for God removing a vast number of people from the earth, then maybe there is some credence to the allegation that He is evil. Some say the main reason God removed these people was because of habitual sin. I would counter by saying there are many people in today’s world who have committed egregious sins that have a testimony that God had changed their lives. However, I believe that there are two valid reasons why God decided to remove the vast majority of the population from the earth. Before we take a look at what these are, let’s take a look at one person and his family, whom God decided would be saved from this mass removal of humanity.
8-9 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
A man named Noah found grace in the sight of God. The word grace means the favor of God to sinful man. Another way of saying this is that grace is God's response to saving faith.7 Noah was described as being just (righteous; blameless in character and conduct; having integrity) and perfect (always obeyed God). As a result, he walked (had continual fellowship) with Him.
5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
11 The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
As for the two reasons God decided to remove humanity, the first was because the condition of their heart called for spiritual capital punishment (divine judgment). When we think of capital punishment, we think of the crimes associated with it, such as treason, espionage, murder, drug trafficking, etc. What is spiritual capital punishment? It’s the result of the decision not to believe in God as He revealed Himself to mankind.
You might say, aren’t there people today who don’t respond to God’s initiation for salvation? Should all humankind be removed from living on the earth for the decisions of a few? I would answer by saying that you just answered as to why humans should be removed. It is a matter of degrees. You might be thinking, what does that mean?
What I mean is that the wickedness that God saw was great. The word great means a wide-spread, firmly-rooted, and deeply-staining corruption, … so "that integrity possessed no longer a single corner" (Calvin).8 The words imaginations of the thoughts of their heart refer to wicked schemes that were only evil continually (all day long). The second reason God decided to remove mankind was what follows thinking, and that is actions. What kinds of activities were being committed, we might ask? We were told that the earth was filled with violence. The word violence means they treated each other cruelly and unjustly by forceful physical acts.
Genesis 6:12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.
Do you understand now the reasons why God chose to remove them? Their heart (their thinking) was continually evil. Wickedness was a universal condition. Perverse inhumane violent acts were the norm. Children were being brought up in an atmosphere of evil and were encouraged to follow their parents’ ways. This was not only an ungodly society but one deeply entrenched in total and universal depravity. God would have no inroads into any of their lives. If they were allowed to continue to remain on the earth, even Noah’s life, his wife, his three sons, and their wives would probably not survive, and the coming one, the Messiah, would never appear on the scene. So, in light of this, I ask you to consider this question.
Was God just in removing them?
In today’s society, there is another type of punishment relating to removal, called capital punishment. This type of sentence was imposed on people who were convicted of committing egregious acts. Yet, it has been proven by DNA or new evidence in some cases that certain of them were actually innocent. However, during Noah’s time, society would be judged not by cultural norms or direct evidence but by the God who knows all things as to whether someone is guilty or not. The conclusion was that they were all guilty. They all committed the same crimes. What crimes? The crimes of not believing in God and choosing to be continually entrenched in evil?
While some of you might say that the removal of them does have some merit, I’m sure there are some of you who are still insisting that God is unjust in respect to His treatment of them because He never gave them an opportunity to repent (to acknowledge and change their ways) and believe in Him.
Was this indeed the case?
Could what they are saying about God be true?
The book of Jude will shed some light on this.
Jude 14-15 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
A man named Enoch might help us to answer these questions. Enoch was a man who lived before the time of Noah and was known as someone who walked with God. This indicated that he lived a life of close fellowship with Him. Many commentators believe that his prophecy (said beforehand that something would happen in the future) pertained to two different time periods. The first time period concerned those who lived before God’s judgment of the flood during the time of Noah. And the second time period refers to those living in the world in the end times.
Here is clear evidence that God conveyed to this man an impending judgment upon the people living at that time, which was his responsibility to share this information with them. These people were warned ahead of time, and as we can see, they chose to disregard this admonition. Is there another example of God being just toward these people? Yes, there is.
Noah is another person God used to express His desire for the salvation of humanity. He was told by God as to how the vast number of people would be removed from the earth. It would be by an impending flood of water that would accumulate over the course of continual rainfall for 40 days and 40 nights. In order for Noah and his family to be saved from this deluge, God gave him instructions to build an ark (a vessel; a hollow place capable of containing persons, goods, etc.9) that would not only provide safety for those who would choose to enter into it, but also refuge for two of every kind of creature.
If you continue to read of this account, it would appear that in no time the ark was built, the waters came, and mankind, albeit all but eight people, were removed from the earth. From this observation, it does seem that God was unjust, meaning that He didn’t allow mankind an opportunity to repent.
Is there any indication that this was not the case? There is.
Genesis 6:3 And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
It took time to build the ark. This was no small vessel. Scripture indicates that this boat project could have taken as long as 120 years. Was this all that Noah was responsible for during this time? No.
2 Peter 2:5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;
Noah was also responsible for announcing to the people about righteousness (of upright moral behavior, or in its wider sense, living according to God's will and purpose10). As Noah found grace, we can also deduce he understood that no one could live according to God’s will and purpose without believing in Him. So, mankind became aware of the need to repent and of the sign of future judgment.
Do you still think that God was unjust in His dealings with the people who lived during the time of Noah that were given one hundred twenty years to repent and enter into the ark before the impending deluge?
It appears that Scripture has revealed to us that God was just in sending a flood upon the earth. Now, let’s take a look at another paramount story in human history that some say also characterizes God as unjust and inconsiderate of people’s lives. This story is about the death of over 11 million Jews. This is called the Holocaust. The Holocaust refers to the end of millions of European Jews orchestrated by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime during WWII.
HOW COULD GOD HAVE ALLOWED THE HOLOCAUST?
01/17/2012 03:08 pm ET Updated Mar 18, 2012
All Rabbis hear variations on the following questions: “How can anyone believe in God after the Holocaust? How can a supposedly loving God stand back and let such a horrible thing happen? How can you reconcile the death of even one innocent child with the existence of a just God?” For many, these questions are proof that a personal God does not exist.
The question of why good people [suffer] and wicked people prosper is not new or [rare] and is certainly not limited to Judaism. It is pondered by most intelligent [children] and was noticed by philosophers thousands of years before the Holocaust. There is, in fact, a theological field of inquiry called “theodicy”, which investigates the basic question: If God is all powerful (omnipotent), all knowing (omniscient), and [all-good (omnibenevolent),] how can evil and injustice exist?
It seems that one of these variables must not be correct, and various solutions have been proposed: Perhaps God is not all-powerful, and is bound by the rules of physics and nature; Perhaps God is not all-knowing, and [cannot] see what we will do and the consequences; Perhaps God is not all-good, and simply created the Universe but is not involved in what happens; Perhaps there is a force that opposes God that is responsible for the evil that occurs; Perhaps it only seems that the good suffer and the wicked prosper, but if we could know the whole picture we would see that there is justice in the long term.
While many of the solutions form the basis for different theologies, none get to the heart of the matter. In fact, the very question of “How could God have allowed the Holocaust?” represents a profound misunderstanding of the nature of God, creation, and the spiritual [dimension] because it is based on very faulty assumptions. It posits God as a being who is totally separate from us, who observes our behavior, preventing harm from coming to those who follow certain rules (usually written in books), and punishing those who do not. And it sees humans as helpless children. But God is much more than that, and we are much more than that. This image of God and humans, frankly, is childish and primitive, and from this [perspective,] there is no God, just as electrons are not tiny balls orbiting bigger balls. In order to reframe the [conversation,] we must understand the nature of [creation] and address the most essential question of our lives; Why are we here?
The Universe, it seems, had a starting point, when space, time, and matter began; when physicality exploded [into] being from nothingness. This, though, is an impossibility. How can [something] come from [nothing]? And [yet,] here we are, so there was a mechanism of some kind that allowed this to happen. Most religions postulate that the beginning was caused by a non-physical Creator (who I will call “God”, but you can use the words “Universe”, “Ground of Being”, or [“Pure Love”] if it feels better) who deliberately created physicality for a purpose.
Of [course,] one can ask the question, “who created God?” but this too is a misunderstanding of the nature of God. God, by definition as that which nothing greater than is possible, is uncreated - that has no previous state or cause. Even if one does not accept the existence of God, one must grapple with the question of something that is uncreated. This is either the material that came through in the [Big Bang] or an eternal Universe that has no beginning. Either way, there is an uncreated [element].
From a theological perspective, prior to [creation,] there was only God; undifferentiated, timeless, pure consciousness, irrevocably alone. And yet God’s greatest yearning is for connection - for something in which to be in [a] relationship and to experience love. But there was no possibility of anything to connect to because no thing could exist, as the only existence was the completely indivisible God. This yearning, though, led to the paradox of creation, as God removed “His” presence from a point, making physicality possible. This was the Big Bang, and long before it was discovered by Edwin Hubble in [1929,] it was seen by mystics from many traditions, especially by those in northern Israel in the 16th century.
The Universe was therefore set in motion with the purpose of developing creatures who would arrive at self-consciousness - the awareness of being aware -, see the obvious design in creation, feel the presence of a loving Designer, and reach out in gratitude. This connection in love is both ours and God’s greatest pleasure and delight (and, I believe, also for countless beings on planets scattered throughout the Universe).
The purpose of creation, then, is to be in a loving relationship with its Creator.
In order to have a true relationship, though, there must be absolute free [will] because a programmed or coerced being cannot experience true love. Free will, then, is a universal constant, built [into] the fabric of creation like gravity and the speed of light. Free will to choose love means that there must be the possibility to choose not-love - to choose indifference and hatred. [So,] while the world may seem unfair, it must be exactly as it is in order for consciousness to emerge, and I am in complete agreement with the [17th-century] German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, who wrote that this is the best of all possible worlds. (The very sound theological move “Bruce Almighty”, in which a man who is angry at the unfairness of life is given god-like powers only to make things worse, presents this point.)
This does not mean that God is not omniscient. God does know the choices that we will make because our consciousness is in constant connection to God, and for [God,] time is not a limitation, so our future choices are not hidden. Yet God deliberately does not interfere - not out of indifference, but out of great love. God must “watch” in pain as we commit atrocities, because to interfere would negate free will, terminating the relationship and hence the very purpose of creation. This is the reconciliation of Rabbi Akiva’s famous paradox, “All is foreseen, yet free will is given”.
This is the great gift and responsibility of creation: We can do something God cannot; we can elevate physicality by our choice to act in love. The end of time will occur when physicality is so elevated by consciousness that it returns to God as pure Love. Then, just as physicality was born in a male orgasmic explosion of outward giving, physicality will return to its Source and reunite in a female orgasmic spread of inward receiving. Presumably, the cycle will then begin again.
Where was God in the Holocaust? As God knew the terrible choices made by too [many] and wept at the horrific consequences, those who chose love and service in the face of this horror were strengthened and consoled. Good eventually did win over [evil] by our own hands. We can be mad at God for the Holocaust or for other human tragedies, but this is like a teenager who begs you to let him drive a car - promising to be responsible -, gets drunk, crashes [into] a telephone pole, and then blames you for giving him the keys. If we agree that humanity must have free will, we must accept the consequences of its decisions. As Elie Wiesel wrote, “After the [Holocaust,] I did not [lose] faith in God. I lost faith in mankind.”11
I agree with most of what was said except for the possibility of life on other planets. If this were the case, then like Adam and Eve, humans on these planets would be placed in a sinless environment with one command to not do such and such, and if they fell, God would have to send His Son again to die for their sins. I don’t think God the Son would leave heaven, be born of a virgin, live a sinless life, and die on a cross again and again and again.
To summarize this article, mankind was given free will and allowed to make good or evil choices. This should not cause any of us to blame God for the atrocities that had been perpetrated. God remains just in character, and I believe during all of the many unthinkable crimes committed by those in the Third Reich, He was busy implementing His plan for the salvation of those Jews who were being persecuted at this time.
I believe, and hopefully, you will also concur that God was not unjust to remove most of humanity from the earth during the time of Noah by means of a cataclysmic flood because their mental condition was continually irreversible, being entrenched with evil thinking and actions whose purposes were for self-gratification and the destruction of all that was godly that would eventually prevent God’s intervention in time of addressing the debt of sin owed by mankind in order to satisfy His justice and open the gates of heaven for all who decided to believe in His Son.
The next story that we will look at in the next chapter has bothered me for a long time with respect to death, and I guess I would say that after walking with God for all these years, I have a better handle on it now.
6The Pulpit Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, Access Date
7The Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989, 02 March 2018 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
8The Pulpit Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2006, 03 March 2018 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
9Adam Clarke’s Commentary Pc Study Bible version 5, 2004, 06 March 2018 ˂http://www.biblesoft.com>.
11“How Could God Have Allowed the Holocaust?” HUFFPOST 16 August 2020 <https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-could-god-have-allowe_b_1207672> .
New Covenant Ministries - Ministerios NuevoPacto
Harbor Baptist Church - Sunday & Thursday Worship 7:00PM