The Old Testament is full of God inspired slaughter. In some cases, God does the killing himself. But in many cases, he orders his followers to kill for him. In fact, some of his most wicked anger falls on the men who show mercy on a king after God has commanded genocide.
But this begs the question, why does God need us puny humans to kill his enemies? After all, with swords swinging, we are at very real risk of injury from his enemies. But from God’s vantage point, he could simply declare, “Death to the Midianites!” and poof, they would be gone. For that matter, maybe he could have avoided creating them in the first place.
The next thing that is of concern is the question of proving that God actually told the commander (in most of these cases, Moses) to perform the genocide. How would the Israelites have known whether these enemies were enemies of God or of Moses? I know that now we are very suspicious when someone claims that God told them to kill someone. Apparently, back then, people were more trusting.
When this topic comes up and a Christian apologist is explaining God’s justice in genocide, I like to quip, “Good thing God isn’t commanding these genocides now or the followers would face war crimes charges.” It’s good that God commanded these killings when communication was limited.
God was so happy that Abraham was willing to gut his son, he made a promise to him:
The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”
At that time Abraham and the Bible writers had no idea how many stars there were but God knows. With modern technology, we have a better idea of how many there are but we only know what’s in the visible universe and even that is an estimation. However, we know one thing beyond all doubt. There are many many more stars than we could ever hope to have descendants from Adam.
Let’s estimate how long the world has to exist for Abraham to reach that many descendants.
“By measuring the number and luminosity of observable galaxies, astronomers put current estimates of the total stellar population at roughly 70 billion trillion (7 x 1022).”
Earth is only supposed to last another 1.75 billion years. Even though homo sapiens will probably be long gone via extinction or evolutionary change, let’s assume the species will still exist (after all a lot of Christians don’t believe in evolution). Let’s figure out how many children need to be born per to reach 70 billion trillion in 1.75 billion years. So 70 billion trillion babies divided by 1.75 billion years = 40 trillion babies per year need to be born from now until the end of the earth to fulfill God’s promise.
Now I know what you’re thinking. This isn’t a true promise by God. It’s a figure of speech. But I disagree. Many Christians treat the Bible as innerant and historical. The reason these things are interesting and important is that this is a chance for God to prove he’s real and whenever God or Jesus speak in the Bible, they never seem to have any more knowledge than the person writing. I’m imagining the person writing looked up at night and knew there were a lot of stars but that given enough time and human reproduction, there could actually be enough people to match the number of “dots” they saw in the sky.
Satan is definitely one of the most fascinating aspects of the Christian religion. He really seems like a pure alternative to God with about the same power. Whenever I’m explaining to a Christian a contradiction in the Bible or the lack of historical evidence for Jesus, I’m told that Satan has tricked me into believing that there are contradictions in the Bible. Satan seems to be such a busy guy. He’s constantly out there tricking us and hiding God from us so that we will spend eternity in Hell with him.
He’s such a scary character to Christians. Recently, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia mentioned that he believes in Satan and that Satan is a real person (as a sidenote, this kind of terminology always makes me laugh in that I guess Satan is also a primate with 2 arms and legs and 5 fingers and toes) and I assume he believes that Satan is responsible for all the evil in the world. I was watching a scientist on the Creation Today channel talking about the lack of evidence for evolution and the subject came up about who invented parasites. They were giving the credit to Satan as a result of the Fall of Adam.
But where does Satan get all this enormous power? He’s omnipresent (at least on earth – and I assume in space/the moon when humans travel to space/the moon) or else how could he be tempting the whole world at the same time? I’ve even heard that the early church fought off arguments that Jesus was just another dying and rising god like the other mystery religions by claiming that Satan knew Jesus was coming so setup these religions to proclaim dying and rising gods in order to cloud the legitimacy of Jesus dying and rising.
So now Satan is essentially a god himself. He’s got almost all the aspects of God. Except that we are told he’s weaker than God and will be resigned to eternal jail in Hell when the end comes. You have to wonder why God, the creator of everything, decided it was important to create Satan and demons. Is Satan really necessary to have free will? If so, how did Satan fall away from God without his own Satan?