theodicee question about children in the OT

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by willing_servant, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. theodicee question about children in the OT

    In the last years I many times thought about questions of apologetics or of theodicee, ie the justification of God's actions in history.

    Many times these questions were answered when I:

    1) believed in God's holy goodness which cannot stand sin


    2) when I considered the gravity of human sin, ie when people in OT times sacrificed humans to idols, or idolatry in general; I view idolatry as something really creepy now, it's definetly in the sense of idols being abominations

    However, I could not find any justification for the biblical punishments as they were pronounced not only on grown-up and sinful men and women, but also on children.

    I have experienced God, and He has always been good to me if I drew close to Him. Apart from sometimes being told to wait which sometimes took longer than I was comfortable with, the Lord has never really disappointed me. He always meant love and light for me. It took a while until I understood the severity of sin and that punishments are in order sometimes. But eventually I learned acceptance.

    However, there was one thing I still don't really understand, I mean the fact that the punishments which had been pronounced on these sinful humans were also visited on their children. It's in the bible many times, the Israelites were supposed to kill the babies of the conquered nations as well.

    I don't get that. As far as I know, the gravest sin of these people was that they sacrificed children to Moloch or other idols, other false deities. I don't understand then that God didn't save these babies.

    I have the following thoughts which might justify these actions, but I don't quite believe in them yet:

    - God wanted to eradicate every kind of human sacrifice to idols, and to make sure that the people were really properly scared, he had to extend punishment on the very "thing" which humans normally love most, their children.

    - The punishments visited on children too were the result of a misunderstanding between the Israelites and God. Much like when Jesus explains that the Sabbath is for men and not men for the Sabbath, the Israelites didn't know back then what God really wanted, which I guess would be discernment and love for the enemy just as much as for the friend.

    - If God would not punish children too then many people perhaps would say, ok, let's sin, we have our children and they will remain untouched. May God punish me with an illness, I can endure it, etc. Also, the children would grow up and care less about their parents sins. My dad's sin isn't just his own business, just like my sin isn't just my own business. We ARE each other's keeper.

    I've talked about this with my mother who is a christian too, and her opinion is that the bible is a work of an ancient people who simply had another morality. Another time, other beliefs, you know.

    I am not decided yet. I can't help but to think of the children who got killed by the Israelites. But because I know that God is good, I tend to believe God hadn't been understood correctly. IE, not everything in the bible can be taken at face value. However, that view has other bad implications because how do I know that a bible verse is trustworthy, how do I know it isn't?

    Is humility the answer, knowing that God simply does what He does and we are not to question Him? I am drawn to this answer but it seems kinda bleak. How can a God who died to deliver us from sin, who proved so much love, have not considered babies who don't know right from wrong?

    What do you think?
  2. we're the ones that have other beliefs and views, we're the ones that have ruined views and opinions and traditions not the ones in the Bible, they have it right.
    we have it wrong

    I haven't read your whole post sorry I have to continue studying lol but I believe you're wondering how come God ordered them to destroy the children?
    because God said He'll curse those until the 4-5th generation of the families who hate Him but gives His love to thousands of those who love Him.
    Secondly, God did not want a generation to come out of the idolaters so killing the children is the best option because they are full of their father's transgressions.
    God's grace was still not as much there as it is now with the sacrifice of His own son. but what I have heard is that Jesus preached to those dead when He died so if that's true then it doesn't matter who died because they still have a chance to accept Him or not.
  3. Hmm - we have it all wrong?

    I really don't think so. There is comparatively less idolatry in the world, at least in its most blatant form, then there was back then. In Europe, widows get pensions from the state so they're covered. Orphan kids don't have to die from hunger in the west.

    Sure, many things still go wrong in the world, but in some areas things go better than in the old times.

    Why do you think God was so harsh with people in the ancient day? It's not like their societies were model societies which we would just need to emulate to find peace. Some things were really wrong. Consider slavery, for example, this is something outlawed almost everywhere. Granted, there is still human trafficking, but most nations have declared it illegal and work against it.

    Again, many things go wrong, but since after ww2 many things were looked up and reconsidered. It's not all bad.
  4. Idolatry is alive and well. Think of all the people that serve money. Think of all the false religions. Think of all the "christians" who refuse to believe God to be something. They end up making a false God up in their minds. Anything we put above God or that comes between us and God is an idol. Things, money, people etc., all can be idols.
  5. Just some random thoughts.
    God is never wrong. If He judges anyone by knowledge or by foreknowledge He is just and right.
    1. The people God judged harshly were idolaters and served pagan gods.
    2. Leaving them in Israel (or the general vacinity) was an invitation to pollute the bloodline of God's chosen people (through which the promise would come).
    3. Even with the lost if there was one who would turn and have Him God would never miss even that one.
  6. you misunderstand me.. when I say that their beliefs were much better than ours I actually mean it, because our minds are so polluted by all the traditions which occurred since the year ~300 AD until now.

    there are over 38000 denominations in christianity
    the largest one (over a billion followers) offers statues, and worship of saints and statues.
    they don't punish those who sin but tell them we'll pray for you when you're dead so that God will forgive your sins while you were alive
    don't lie to yourself willing_servant. this world is horrible and perishing. there is hardly any mention of God anywhere and if you do it's like you blasphemed. and i'm not talking in real Christian places or churches.

    it is written that only few will find life, will you try to justify what you see based on what your flesh sees? or based on what God sees? which is the spiritual side.

    I can't make things alive in your soul, only God can, ask Him to show you what He sees all over the world.
  7. To be quite honest God needs no justifacation from us. What can the clay say to the Potter?
  8. @dodson, that's why I said idolatry in its most blatant form. Sure, the way you are wording it, this general avoidance of God is very present all over the world. However I consider it a great progress that statues of foreign gods and all these things aren't prominent anymore. I still feel uncomfortable when I see, say, a buddha statue, but at least he was a man not a demon. I really can't stand real idols, they're all abominations for me.

    @Boanerges, thanks for the comment, I would agree with you if the people in question were grown-ups, but we talk about children here, don't we? How can a newborn babe be an idolater?

    I guess I will side with my mother and say that the time wasn't there yet for the true morality in God that we see in Jesus Christ.
  9. Idolatry is idolatry. It's blatant in any, way, shape or form. Doesn't have to be a statue as you are thinking. It's not a sliding scale of idolatry. Just as a little lie is the same as a big lie. It's a lie. All the same to God.
  10. Deut. 6
    6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

    make sure that whosoever teaches you the Word, whether your mom or friend, that what they teach you is exactly what God has taught in the Bible.
  11. Well, you make no difference between idolaters who let children go through fire to magically get knowledge about future things, and, say, a greedy businessman? Sure, they're both sins, but the former seems way worse.

    Don't want to argue though. Keep your zeal :cool:, bro!
  12. Hmm, on second thought, greedy businessmen can go so far in their greed that they exploit children too. Chinese sweatshops come to mind.

    I didn't see this so clearly yet. Thanks Dobson.
  13. my friend
    God is good yes, He is the only Good one but it doesn't mean that everything He does will seem good in our eyes.
    He controls the weather and all earthquakes, tornado, tsunamis, He kills off those who do not produce fruit and hate Him and lands of idolatry.
    He is just and jealous and loving.
    He creates evil and creates good.
    God also can hate, He hates sins and sinners who never repent. He hates those who hate Him and loves those who love Him with a pure heart.
    He manages to whole universe and does what He wishes. How great is it that He even loves us ?
    He is eternal and loving.
    It is a wonder that the LORD our God loves us. Imagine you were in His place, we certainly can't do what He does. at all..

    who is your God? is it a god that you have made up to suit your pleasure?

    I exhort you to pray to find out what is the Truth.
  14. God says don,t kill, to do this you wouldn,t be following God.Jesus rebukes the pharisee,s and says you are teaching mans logic as Gods.
  15. there is a good verse in the ot,about God worrying opposition soldiers to fight themselves.but then they saw they was on the run and attacked them anyway.i think God was showing israel he didn,t need an army to defeat his enemies.but i think israel got carried away.:eek:
  16. Hi again, Ramsey!

    Hmm, I think you don't see the whole picture. You seem to think God created the earthquakes and tsunamis to punish us. However, we can always find natural reasons for these desasters. There have also been desasters hitting christians, tornados in the midwest come to mind, or the earthquake in Lissabon in the medievals.

    I think it's a bit self righteous to presume that God punishes everyone who sins. We're all sinners.

    Yes, Isaiah says that God creates evil, but I don't believe that this means God creates treachery and manipulation. The desasters we spoke of ... well, these, I think, are meant to teach man that he is not omnipotent. Man often thinks he now with technology in control of everything. He isn't.

    Also, such desasters mean that man must help victims of tragedies. It's always a call for love. Sitting there and sneering at those who suffered that they are guilty of sins is hypocritical and nasty.

    I know whom I believe. My God's Son died on the cross not just for my sins but for the sins of the whole world. Since Calvary we know God loves us deeply, really. And I believe in a merciful God who answers those who call on Him.

    I believe you're making things too easy. Reality is a bit more complicated than you seem to think.

    God bless!
  17. If God isn't behind natural disasters, is he truly sovereign?

  18. @dodson, I suppose God is behind some desasters and not behind others.

    I'm not a Calvinist, I don't think anything has been preordained.

    Jesus says God sends rain and sunshine over both the righteous and the unrighteous.

    In Isaiah God tells us christians that if someone or something rises up against us it's not from God.

    Which means, some desasters, like Noah's Flood, came from God while others did not.

    If you catch a flu, is that from God? If you have a car accident, is that from God?

    Of course I don't know for sure. But for now I don't believe that God actively visists all of humanity with punishments all the time, particularly because there are always natural explanations for these happenings.

    I believe everything good comes from God ... but everything evil as well? No. Some evil yes, but not all.
  19. what God does let no man call evil!
    call it Just. His judgment.

    evil is by satan, he does it with an evil heart (if he has a heart :p)
    satan does a lot of evil! Job is full of it. God simply allows :)
  20. This is actually one of the first things I studied and tried reconciling when I first became a Christian. So I will not try to persuade you to how I reconcile it.

    I will leave you with this. I believe God is completely sovereign and I think scripture backs that up undeniably. There are things that God is behind and other things that He allows. I believe Job shows that Satan does not have freedom to anything he pleases. He still must answer to God. I think that God allows some things to shape us into who He wants us to be. Sometimes, bad things happen as punishment for sin. And still other times it's to draw us back to Him when we've strayed.

    Predestination is a whole other story that I will not even try to get into. That is much harder for me to reconcile and I'd need a piece of paper to draw on to explain my thoughts on that.

    Best of luck working this out. :)

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