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GOD: new evidence

Contents

Ethnic Cleansing in the Bible?

What's in the series?

(1) Why did you write 'Is God a Moral Monster?'?

For many people today, one of the most serious problems with God and the Bible is the destruction of the Canaanites commanded by God in the Old Testament. Professor Paul Copan is the author of 'Is God a moral monster? Making sense of the Old Testament God.'  In this video we ask professor Copan why he wrote 'Is God a moral monster?'

 

(2) Exaggeration?

Is what the Bible says about the destruction of the Canaanites – commanded by God in the Old Testament – exaggerated for effect? This was a common way of speaking in the Ancient Near East, and everyone would have understood that it was not meant to be taken literally. There are some hints in the Bible's narrative that this is what is happening. 

 

(3) Cities or Citadels?

In this video, professor Paul Copan claims that the places that the Israelites attacked in the Old Testament were not centres of civilian population but rather military fortifications – citadels rather than cities. The people killed would have been soldiers, not women and children.

 

(4) Evil Canaanites?

We find it difficult to accept that a good and wise God could command the killing of the Canaanites, as described in the Bible. But the Canaanites were evil. They practised infant sacrifice, bestiality, incest, and ritual prostitution. So rather than saying that a good and wise God would never command this sort of thing, we need to look at it from the other side, and say that - given the moral corruption of the Canaanites - God had a morally justified reason for commanding what he did.

 

(5) A Chance to Turn?

When God commanded the Israelites to destroy the Canaanites in the Bible, the Bible says that he had given the Canaanites opportunities to escape from his judgment - to turn from their evil ways, and to stop what they were doing, but they would not.

 

(6) Kindness and Severity

How do we understand the goodness of God, in light of the fact that he commands the Israelites to drive out the Canaanites? We need to remember what Paul says in Romans 11:22. He says 'Behold the kindness and the severity of God.' There is kindness. God regularly shows his patience to the people of Israel. God does not delight in bringing judgment. He sends prophets to warn them.

But finally, when there is no remedy, he brings judgment and exile, because the people simply have not listened. So what is God to do when he reaches the last resort, when there is nothing left to do? When you have a people so corrupt that there is no remedy? In the same way we can look at the Canaanites and say, 'These are the depths to which these people have gone. What other resort is there except judgment?'

 

(7) Can we trust the Bible?

If the Bible's accounts of the destruction of the Canaanites are exaggerated for effect, how can we trust other things in the Bible? For example, can we trust what it says about the resurrection of Jesus?

 

(8) Ethnic Cleansing Today?

Does the killing of the Canaanites in the Old Testament of the Bible give any excuse for ethnic cleansing in the name of Christianity today?

 

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