Actualizado: ene 22
From the beginning of time, billions of people lived and died not knowing about Jesus or His Father. Many people alive are ignorant about the God who created the universe. The same God that killed millions of people whose actions, or personalities, He did not like. He even decided to make His son suffer the indignities of crucifixion to save us all from a sin that we did not commit; Adam and Eve did. God created men in his image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-28), meaning that we were "very good." At the same time, the Creator anticipated our future sins and designed a plan to save us. It is clear to believers that God knows our thoughts, even our intentions. He knew that we would be susceptible to sin in our day-to-day lives because sin is part of our nature; it is what separates us from God. Without His mercy and forgiveness, eternal damnation is in our future. Nevertheless, He forgave us because we were His creation. He decided then that He would send His Son to save all those who confess their sins and declare Jesus as their Savior. Jesus' sacrifice granted us God's forgiveness. Additionally, our merciful and forgiving Lord has wonderful things reserved for us in eternity. For believers, there is no question; Our Father forgave us. The Scriptures are unambiguous, Christ suffered and died to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18), and His forgiveness gave us life (John 10:10). Jesus was the one who completed God's plan for forgiveness on the cross.
God’s actions are unknowable; it isn’t possible to discern why He punished His creation, including animals and objects. Having Jesus’ sacrifice in His inkwell did not stop God from severely punishing those who failed to comply with His desires for obedience, worship, even thoughts. Over time, the God of the Jews and Christians appears to have softened His personality. He still keeps His loving, merciful, and compassionate self, but He is always willing to apply the maximum penalty to those who dare violate His rules. ”I will forget their iniquities, and will not remember their sins,” says the Lord (Jeremiah 31:34). In Marilyn Monroe’s case, He didn’t. When she was feeling depressed, a friend told her to rely on Jesus to calm their feelings and get her back to a state of relaxation and tranquility, to which she replied, “I don’t need Jesus.” Marilyn was disrespectful, a misdemeanor, not a brutal crime, but God considered her remarks too offensive to allow her to keep on living. Three days later, she was found dead in her apartment. There are many cases where a sinner expressed disregard for God and paid a heavy price for it. Such a claim referred to the Titanic owner when he said, for all to hear, that “not even God can sink this boat.” We all know what happened. These events and many more happened in New Testament’s time. Before Jesus, Our Father was less compassionate.
Despite the many biblical reports documenting God's infinite mercy, compassion, and forgiveness, there is also an extensive list of direct or indirect murders and other crimes. The Bible writers report incidents of mass killings, events where God punished the guilty and the innocent. Although most Christians chose to ignore these crimes, and religious leaders don't like to talk about them, the reality is that these stories are in the Bible and, although unspeakable, they must be reviewed and analyzed to try to understand God's reasons for committing these actions. When we realize that God's decisions are unknowable, our reasoning has no validity. Nevertheless, our hopes to find reasonable explanations for HIs determinations stay intact. His Ten Commandments do not include confessing our sins and believe in Jesus, but if we don't obey His commands, be prepared to pay a heavy price. We don't have to make the sacrifices people in Jesus' times did, but you can be sure that there is a price to pay if you don't confess your sins. He made His son die a brutal death on the cross after spending more than three years trying to spread His message of the New Kingdom. In the end, despite Jesus' request for His Father to find a more efficient and less painful way to save humanity, God made him suffer the immense sacrifice of the crucifixion. Jesus paid the price for our sins so that we don't have to do it forever. Based on the biblical examples for not following God's recommendations, I would be terrified of ever knowing who He is.
Most believers, particularly Christians and Catholics, don’t realize that it is wrong to believe that by just confessing our sins and recognizing Jesus as our Savior, we assure our salvation. It seems they forget that God knows our hearts, thoughts, and intentions. If our confession is not sincere and transparent, it is of no value to God (Acts 10:43). We must realize that God is willing to forgive our sins only if we repent them sincerely. It is difficult to understand why some of the massacres perpetrated on God’s name, or by God himself, included innocent children and animals. Of course, there is no way to know why God does what He does. Please take a look at some events reported in the Bible that, if committed by anyone today, will condemn that person to the harshest sentence or declare that individual criminally insane.
The Flood – Going back from today’s population down to 2400 BC, statisticians arrived at an estimate of 20 million inhabitants of the earth (McEvedy and Jones). God killed them all by drowning, together with millions of other living beings, when God’s decision inundated the planet. In God’s own words, “He repented having made them (Genesis 6:7). God saved one man (Noah), his family, and selected animals from this global disaster (Genesis 7:21-23). God explains that He did it because the earth was violent and corrupt (Genesis 6:11-13). I cannot think of a reasonable explanation for including innocent animals, children, and even babies in the womb. Then, after Noah offers a sacrificial lamb, God promises not to do it again (Genesis 8:21).
Sodom and Gomorrah – The Bible does not tell, and nobody had determined how many people died when God rained fire and brimstone on these two cities incinerating all living things except Lot, his wife, and his two virgin daughters (Genesis 19:24). By the time of the event, these small towns may have had a population of around 1000 people each. God does not have to justify His actions because he had the right to do whatever He pleased with His creation. Nevertheless, He was ready to forgive them if only Lot could show ten virtuous people in the entire cities (Genesis 18:32). Again in God’s own words, the people in Sodom have sinned and must be destroyed (Genesis 18:20-21). The only man God saved that night was a pervert that offered his two virgin daughters to the sex-motivated mob trying to have sex with two messengers of God who were there to warn Lot of the impending destruction (Genesis 19-8). Later, this man will get drunk and had sex with his two daughters, impregnating them (Genesis 19:30-38).
Lot's Wife – The Bible does not tell her name, only that she died because she looked back to watch how God incinerated her family, friends, and neighbors (Genesis 19:26). Jesus did not object to these massacres; he said that what happened in Noah and Lot's days will also occur in the days of the Son of man (Luke 17:26-32).
Er – The Bible says that "Er, Judah's firstborn was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord slew him (Genesis 38:7). We know his father was named Judah, his mother Shuah, his wife Tamar, and his brother Onan. Nothing else is known about Er. God killed him for something he did, but the Bible does not tell what it was.
Onan – After Er died at the hands of God, Judah, Onan's father, ordered him to have sex with Tamar, Er's widow. Onan did not want Tamar to get pregnant; so, he spilled his semen on the ground. God did not like Onan's action, wherefore he slew him (Genesis 38:7-10). God killed Onan because he did not ejaculate into Tamar's vagina.
Worldwide Famine – It seems God’s action was conducive to getting Joseph to a powerful Egypt position. After correctly interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams (Genesis 41:25-32), the King named him overseer of all Egypt (Genesis 41:33). It is difficult to understand God’s reasoning to decide to starve to death around 70,000 people so that Joseph could become one of the most, if not the most, powerful man in Egypt. Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams was that God would send seven good years followed by seven years of a worldwide “very grievous” famine. Everything happened as Joseph predicted, and Egypt stored vast amounts of food during the good years. It went well for Joseph and the Egyptians but badly for the rest of the world (Genesis 41:54-57).
The Plagues of Egypt – In the first one, God made the Nile became like blood and forced the majority of Egyptians to drink from it for seven days. It isn’t possible to determine with precision how many people died from drinking blood only. Some experts estimate 1.5 million; not counting the effects of the next five plagues: Frogs (Exodus 8:1-7), Lice (Exodus 8:16-19), Flies (Exodus 8:21-24), All cattle died (Exodus 9:3-6), Festering boils on man and animals (Exodus 9:9-10), Hail and fire on man and beast (Exodus 9:19-25), Killing all firstborns of man and beast (Exodus 12:12-13). From an estimated population of around 3 million, some 2 million died from the plagues.
Exodus – After so many killings, Pharaoh told Moses to take his people and go (Exodus 12:31-32). Pharaoh changed his mind and ordered his army to follow after the Israelites. Next, God parted the sea for 600,000 Israelites to cross safely and then let the waters return to drown 5000 Egyptian soldiers together with his chariots and horses (Exodus 14:26-28).
Amalek's War – Technically, Moses was the one killing the Amalekites. The Bible tells us that when Moses raised his arms, the Amalekites died at the Israelites' hands. When he gets tired and his arms go down, the opposite happened (Exodus 17:11). Aaron and Hur, Moses' assistants, kept his arms up until they defeated the Amalekites (Exodus 17:12). Believe it or not, God is still at war with Amalek (Exodus 17:16). The Bible does not say how many Amalekites died at that event, but some experts estimate at least 1000.
On God's Side – In this killing event, God is displeased with His people's behavior. When Moses went to the top of the mountain to pick up the 10 Commandments from the Lord, they built a golden calf to worship the pagan god Baal. God forced friends and family to kill each other. So, those on God's side went on a killing spree that included "about 3000 men" (Exodus 32:26-28).
The Guilty Calf – God was unhappy because of the golden calf made by Aaron. Additionally, to order the Israelites to kill each other, God sent a plague to kill those who worshiped the idol (Exodus 32:35). How many died? Your guess is as good as mine.
This is by no means the complete list of events where God was not happy with the way things were going or did not like the individual or individuals involved and decided to eliminate the ones he considered guilty. Perhaps, He couldn’t kill selectively and have to include innocent humans and animals in those massacres. The list of events is longer than I anticipated. Expect a new post where I will try to finish the list and give you an approximate number regarding the number of people who died at the hands of God.