Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. Genesis 6 v11
Are we viewing violence with a humanistic perspective and do we need to readjust that?
If we conduct a concordance search on “violence” we can discern two categories of violence
Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. So God said to Noah, "I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth
righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure.
The LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked and those who love violence his soul hates.
Do not envy wicked men, do not desire their company; for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble.
Do no wrong or violence to the alien, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.
But Egypt will be desolate, Edom a desert waste, because of violence done to the people of Judah, in whose land they shed innocent blood.
Who handed Jacob over to become loot, and Israel to the plunderers? Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned? For they would not follow his ways; they did not obey his law. So he poured out on them his burning anger, the violence of war. It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand; it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart.
Violence has grown into a rod to punish wickedness; none of the people will be left, none of that crowd--no wealth, nothing of value.
Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said:" With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again."
Violence is the expression of physical force against one or more people, compelling action against one's will on pain of being hurt. Worldwide, violence is used as a tool of manipulation and also is an area of concern for law and culture which take attempts to suppress and stop it. The word violence covers a broad spectrum. It can vary from between a physical altercation between two beings to war and genocide where millions may die as a result.
Each year, over 1.6 million people worldwide lose their lives to violence.
We use the Bible as a benchmark to evaluate our lives; right?
So have we become soft and squeamish when it comes to violence?
Have our nations become squeamish about violence?
Are we in denial about the violence in the Bible?
We think we have become more civilized because we do not execute murderers, but is this really a righteous option?
Are we all pursuing the Humanist Utopian fantasy that if we do no violence to violent people they will cease being violent?
The appeasers tried giving Hitler what he wanted but found that it did not stop him unleashing the worst violence the world had seen. As Churchill said,
“the appeaser feeds the crocodile hoping to be the last one eaten.”World War II had to be fought to stop the Nazis and their genocidal aims.
Can we come to terms with the violence in the Bible or do we try and justify or explain it away to please the Humanists?
Gentle Jesus, meek and mild
“Gentle Jesus, meek and mild.” is a travesty, and does not do justice to Jesus who returns to judge the world in Revelation. (hardly meek and mild)
He came first time to suffer and die in order to open the way for salvation for men, but when he returns he will bring retribution for those who rejected his offer and chose to go their own way.
We can not say, as some do, that the Old Testament is violent while the New Testament is not. That is the same as Marcionism – the theology that says the God of the Old Testament is different from the God of the New Testament.
Looking at what the Bible says about violence using a concordance, I noticed that God gets angry about violence done by the evil to the good but often used the good to execute violence on the evil.
People quote the sixth of the ten commandments as saying “thou shalt not kill” and say this forbids the death penalty. Actually it says “Thou shalt not commit murder, ” This is a better translation since the Hebrew word is raw-tsakh; a primitive root; properly to dash in pieces, that is, kill (a human being), especially to murder: - put to death, kill, (man-) slay (-er), murder (-er). (Strong's)
If you search on the word “avenger” you will find many verses, such as (Deuteronomy 19:6)
Lest the avenger of the blood pursue the slayer, while his heart is hot, and overtake him, because the way is long, and slay him; whereas he was not worthy of death, inasmuch as he hated him not in time past.There is clearly a distinction between protecting the man who did not intend to cause death who should be protected and the murderer who should die.
People will tell you that Jesus told us to turn the other cheek. This is true but he was telling us not to take revenge for ourselves. He was making the point that justice (the punishment of the guilty) should not be a matter of personal vengeance but be administered by a just society; ultimately by God.
Even Genocide, regarded as the worst sin, is not easy to separate from Old Testament stories where God instructed His people to utterly destroy cities, nations, peoples. As for violence against the individual , discussed above, there is a difference between genocide perpetrated against the innocent by wicked men and God's judgement for wickedness. God spoke of delaying punishment until the evil reached its full measure. He gives men as long as possible to repent, but the destruction of the wicked is a consistent topic throughout the Bible.
Israel is repeatedly castigated, mostly without justification, as being violent towards the Palestinians (even accused of genocide, which is ridiculous) but the criticism completely ignores the context of terrorist violence springing from genocidal hatred, necessitating defensive action. Most of the critics have never experienced genocidal hatred such as Israel suffers.
The people of Israel have had to come to terms with the violence they have experienced since even before the foundation of the state in 1948. Even though the IDF has to use violence to counter violence, it has a high and documented code of military ethics and is held to account by a free judiciary the like of which is not to be found in the the lands of its enemies.
Looking at the violence of God in 1 Kings and 2 Kings, one is forced to see that there are more important issues than human life.
Consider the experience of King David. In psalm 18 v35 he says, “He trains my hand for war.........” David is described as “A man after Gods own heart” (1 Sam 13:14 & Acts 13:22) Whilst following God and establishing the territory promised to Israel, that they had previously failed to take, David had to spill blood.
David was on God's side; not trying to get God on his side as he committed violence. Even though David shed too much blood in his lifetime to be chosen to build the Temple (1 Chronicles 22:8) God saw David as a man after his own heart. So how can we paint God as a pacifist or one unwilling to execute justice?
Consider also Judges 3
These are the nations the LORD left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan (he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the LORD's commands, which he had given their forefathers through Moses.
What about our attitude to the soldiers who are employed fight to protect us (and others around the world) from tyranny?
Does the ambience and attitude in church exclude soldiers?
Does the church hold a pacifist worldview that has been brought in from the humanist world and not from the Bible?
My experience, living in a county with an army base, suggests that soldiers do feel excluded from the Kingdom.
Jesus didn't place any obstacle in the way of soldiers beyond not extorting from people (Luke 3:14)
CVM (Christian Vision for Men) is on a mission to restore masculinity to Christianity and make it accessible to men - including soldiers, sailors and airmen. They have just produced a resource for churches, Defenders, that should help.
Humanists/Pacifists/Utopianists abhor violence as a sanction against the violent and claim it only reinforces violent behaviour. Does the Bible allow for this view?
Three scriptures cited by Jack Kinsella in an article about the "Social Gospel."
In Genesis 9:5-6 , the initial government after the flood was to be established upon capital punishment in order to suppress evil. This was the extent of the affirmative directive from God.
Romans 13:1-7 reveals the purpose for human government as to bear the sword for the suppression of evil, not the author of good.
The paying of tribute (taxes) commanded in Romans 13:6-7 , is to support the work of restraining or punishing evildoers; not the implementation of charity.
A personal observation
When I was young our nation had the death penalty for Murder, and murders were very rare and were major news stories. Now there are many murders every day and only the worst make the news. Surely this suggests that our society is failing to protect the vulnerable (especially children) in not having an ultimate sanction.
Even in drama, murder does not have the same impact that it used to have when there was a death sentence awaiting the person found to have committed the murder.
I am not advocating a return of the death penalty as I would be uncomfortable about the possibility of people being convicted of murder and executed, but later exonerated.
I am challenging Christians who are embracing humanist positions and assumptions about Violence.
In the movie, “The Ghost” (The Ghost Writer) there is a heated discussion between the ghost writer and his subject, the ex Prime Minister, about violence allegedly used in fighting terrorism. The PM's response offers the scenario of there being a choice of airline flights, one with full security that may have benefited from infringing someone's “human rights” or even involving “torture” and one with only casual security. He posed the challenge; "Which would you choose?" Are we guilty of hypocrisy?
Are we sitting securely in our lands that have not been attacked or overrun in our lifetime and condemning the nation of Israel that has been in a constant situation of war (cold or hot) since its rebirth in 1948?
Israel has some freedom to grieve for his victims of terror and the world sometimes sheds a tear, but does remembrance achieve anything in the long term? tears-dont-protect-against-murder
It is not for us to judge, certainly not by the parameters set out by the Guardian or the BBC, but there is a righteous judge who is coming – Jesus (see Joel etc)
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Really difficult stuff
2 Kings 13 - twelve men from one family were hanged over an oath that was betrayed. What does that say? That faithfulness is more important than life?
The Leftist / Humanist / Utopian position appears to be that man is more enlightened than the God of the Bible.
How do you answer this?
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