I can’t believe in a god who orders the complete annihilation of a people, the Canaanites!
What do you think of a country that forces its views on other countries at the point of a gun, that kills other countries peoples, that makes these countries pay your cost of the war, that locks up record numbers of its own citizens and kills many of them? Please answer this question.
I just described the USA in WWII. But you’ll say there are reasons that explain these circumstances. Yes, I agree with you and those reasons make a world of difference. But you have done the exact same thing in your condemnation of God in ordering the killing of the Canaanites. You haven’t considered the reasons for God’s actions.
God judges nations for their horrendous actions (Jeremiah 18:7-10). But He gave Egypt over 400 years to free the Israelites (Exodus 12:40, 41). He waited about 400 years before the sins of the Amorites had reached its limits (Genesis 15:16). Noah preached 120 years to his people and never got one convert, before God Judged them (Genesis 6-8). So, God is very, very patient with these nations. But His patience has its limits. Only God knows when those limits have been reached. Then and only then will God’s judgement fall.
So, we need to ask ourselves just how bad were the Canaanites? What did they do to deserve such judgement? Here are some of the things they did:
– incest…They thought having sex with your mother, sister or daughter was OK.
– adultery in many forms. Sex with Temple prostitutes was considered one of your religious
duties. It was also one way of financing the Temple. Transvestites, pederasts (adult-child sex) and sexual orgies were considered religious activities sanctioned by the Temple.
– child sacrifice…Children from birth up to 4 years of age were sacrificed to the Canaanite god Molech for just about any reason, even for financial success of the family or for Molech to bless their crops that year. The baby/child would be placed on Molech’s outstretched arms and set on fire.
– homosexuality…not just consensual sex but rape also. In the Canaanite city of Sodom, they raped visitors (Genesis 19:5).
–bestiality…the Canaanites practiced it with all kinds of animals. They had sex with just about anything that breathed. As we know now, some sexual diseases were transmitted from animals to humans. This explained why God wanted people and animals wiped out.
The Canaanites were so depraved that God told the Israelites to destroy every trace of them so Israel wouldn’t be “polluted” by them (Deuteronomy 20:16-18). But the Jews didn’t completely destroy them. As God predicted, the Jews became polluted with these practices. They worshipped the Canaanites gods, sacrificed their children, did evil (Judges 10:6), they had male shrine prostitutes (1Kings 14:22), and committed acts of lewdness, adultery and incest (Jeremiah 5:7,8 & Hosea 4:13,14). Even Solomon set up an altar to Molech (1Kings 11:5-8). Israel had become Canaanized. Yet all of these things were outlawed in Israel by God (Leviticus 18-20).
Was God singling out just the Canaanites for punishment while letting other nations off the hook? NO! God’s message is the same to any culture that commits such acts (Amos 1&2).
Who determines the sinful point of no return for a nation? God does! Without such clear divine guidance, Israel wouldn’t have been justified in attacking the Canaanites. A few times Israel went into battle without God’s approval and it was disastrous (Numbers 14:41-45 & Jude 7). It’s interesting to point out that Israel didn’t use these scriptures to attack just anyone. They realized that these commands were given for a specific people (the Canaanites) and for a specific time (only when God gave the command).
What if these people are unredeemable? What if nothing you could say or do would make them change their evil ways? What if every Canaanite was like this, even the children? Rather than letting their sin spread, God had to put a complete stop to it. What if we hadn’t done all we could do to stop Hitler and Fascism in WWII? Hitler and the Nazi’s were unredeemable. We all know people who will never, ever change or admit that they’re wrong. We cannot permit them to run our lives. We must also admit that we modern people have never known such cruel, barbarous people. Have you ever known anyone who would kill their own child so they could have financial success in the coming year? This is how far their culture had sunken. And yes, even the women and children were this depraved. Remember, God had tried for over 400 years to change this culture but it just kept getting worse. That’s almost twice as long as America has been a nation.
In disagreeing with God’s judgement, we’re placing our judgement (without knowing all the facts) above God’s (who knows all the facts and can see what is in their hearts). How arrogant of us! We’re saying we know better than God.
There are three times when God has had to act this way:
– when He had to destroy the human race and start over in the Flood of Noah (Genesis 6-8).
– here when He had to destroy the Canaanites.
– at the final judgement, when He will give people what they really desire…eternal life with or without Him (Revelation 19-21)
Finally, even some atheists have said that the values/morality of human rights, tolerance, social justice and racial reconciliation are the legacy of the Christian faith. The legacy of some secular ideas have produced the world’s worst regimes in history. Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc. have been responsible for more deaths than any other ideas ever.
For all the church’s flaws, she has been responsible for the following (http://www.faithfacts.org/christ-and-the-culture/the-impact-of-christianity) ;
-eradicating slavery worldwide
-eliminating the gladiatorial games
-elevating women’s status & rights
-founding the world’s great universities
-the writing of extraordinary works of literature and philosophy
– creating beautiful art and architecture
-establishing modern science
– composing brilliant music
-advocating for human rights
-taking care of the world’s poor and forgotten people in far away lands
If you stop with the Old Testament (OT), its like reading only half of a murder mystery novel. To stop with the OT, you won’t get the entire story of God’s dealing with humanity. Jesus is the rest of the story. The New Testament illuminates, explains and completes the OT. If you want to believe in something where all the wrongs are righted and where eternal happiness reigns, read Revelation 22, the end of the story and the beginning of eternity.
“Is God a Moral Monster” by Dr. Paul Copan
“How Christianity Changed the World” by Dr. Alvin Schmidt
For His Kingdom,