[Audio Intro] - Sean McDowell introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 13 Study Questions] (with kindle locations) - PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] - Click to subscribe to the audio.
Chapter Thirteen: Is God a Genocidal Bully?
Chapter 13 addresses the claim that the God presented in the Old Testament is evil and genocidal. In particular, this chapter looks at the specific instance of the judgment of the Canaanites. The context of the passage is explored, along with noting the cultural climate of the day. In addition, the authors look at the way that language is used in the Ancient Near East. The sinful depravity of the Canaanites, the special circumstance of Israel being a theocracy at the time, and other key factors are taken into account. This discussion provides a better backdrop for understanding the passage in a fair light, putting to rest many misunderstandings common to superficial readings of the passage.
Clay Jones offers an essay reflecting on seven key points to take away from the example of the Canaanites. This section offers a sobering perspective on the seriousness and destructive nature of sin, as well as the judgment and mercy of God.
To read the New Atheists' treatment of the Bible and its moral vision, one would think that obedience to Jesus means killing your neighbors rather than loving them. (p. 172)
So the conquest of Canaan, as a unique and limited historical event, was never meant to become a model for how all future generations were to behave toward their contemporary enemies. (Christopher J. Wright, quoted on p. 176)Discuss
God as the creator of life has the right to take life, and during this unique occasion of judgment, that prerogative was temporarily extended to the people of Israel since Yahweh was their king (e.g., a theocracy). (p. 178)
It will not do, as some have done when approaching this topic, to make the God of the Old Testament a God of judgment and the Jesus of the New Testament a God of love. God is both loving and just. (p. 182)
- How has the language of genocide and ethnic cleaning been misused regarding the Old Testament?
- Why is the conquest of Canaan not analogous to Islamic jihad?
- How do you respond to the claim that God is genocidal?
- Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God by Paul Copan
- The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith by Christopher J. Wright
Next Week: Chapter 14—Is Christianity the Cause of Dangerous Sexual Repression?