How Can a Loving God….?

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In 1 Samuel 15, God told King Saul to wipe out the Amalekites, every last one of them, and leave no survivors. The story is about Saul failing to follow God’s directions while claiming to have done so. He kept King Agab alive and allowed his men to save the best of the sheep and other animals. When Samuel, the prophet, asked, “What is this bleating of sheep I hear?” Saul blamed the men for his failure to obey God, but Saul was the one who did not obey God. That is how the story goes….

But, wait a minute! …. God told Saul to kill them… all of them. That sounds incredibly harsh. It sounds worse than harsh. Is God not supposed to be a loving God?

This is a pretty common question (a rhetorical one) posed by people who oppose Christianity and reject the Bible. “A loving God would not kill people,” they say. Since the Old Testament, in particular, depicts God in this way, the Bible cannot be true, the Christian God is fiction and the whole thing is bunk.

The unspoken sentiment behind that line of thinking is that “we” (humankind) have come a long way since primitive times. We have evolved past the Enlightenment into a modern scientific age in which we have superior moral and intellectual stature. We are the gods of our own world. We have thrown off superstitious belief in a tyrant God that stifles human potential in this post-enlightenment age.

But does history add up that way?

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