The Bible does say that God commanded the extermination of people groups (Kill them all – part 4). There is no question about it. We have discussed how selected verses show that God is ‘nasty.’ Yet when we take the 66 books of Scripture as a unit, we understand God’s motives, and we get a completely different picture.
Information about a specific subject in the Bible, is ‘spread’ over different books. One can never come to a conclusion based on a statement in only one Bible book, or a few specific verses. For example:
- The destruction of the Midianites is narrated in Numbers 31. In Numbers 10:29 we learn that Moses asked Hobab, the son of Moses’ father-in-law (a Midianite) to accompany them in the desert as a guide. Heber, a descendant of Hobab, lived among the Israelites. He had a wife, Jael who killed the Canaanite general Jabin. So revenge on the Midianites did not include all the Midianites. Only if you read Exodus, Numbers, Judges and 1 Chronicles do you have a complete picture.
- The Canaanites were given 400 years by God to change their ways (Genesis 15). They did not. By the time of the conquest of Canaan, and many years after that, they still worshipped their idols and lead Israel into idolatry. God warned the Israelites, ‘Do not intermarry with them [the Canaanites]. Do not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your own sons, for they will turn your sons away from following me to serve other gods, and the Lord’s anger will burn against you and He will quickly destroy you.’ 1
The reason God did not want the Israelites to inter-marry with heathen, is explained in Jeremiah 10:11, “Tell them this, ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.’ Idols cannot create the new heavens and earth, guaranteeing an eternal life. God loves His people too much to allow them to follow the devil. A cursory reading does not give the full picture.
The Scattered Scripture Principle has a very interesting effect. Those who want to reject Scripture (and God), will find plenty of evidence to do so. Those who are willing to seek the Lord (in Scripture) will find plenty of evidence to strengthen their faith. The first group base their opinions about God on an incomplete study of Scripture. They conclude that He is harsh, cruel, cold and worthy of contempt. The second group come to the opposite conclusion: God is wonderful!
In the following blog we will discuss reasons why God is not what Dawkins says He is. We will give attention to all three groups, and in a sense put God in the dock, and let the jury, the readers, decide what is the truth. 2
- Deuteronomy 7:3
- The God Delusion, Bantam Press, 2006, p 31