Please forgive me if I offended.
I would have addressed the same responses to Origin or Augustine. Did not
did they not reach similar conclusions regarding God's sovereignty?
Augustine's "just war" dealt with the unavoidable suffering and death of
innocents in such situations.
Please see my arguments restated below, augmented and cleansed I hope of
anything you might find pharisaical.
Of course you are correct, God's word speaks at many levels from the plain
and literal to the abstract and symbolic. I simply believe it speaks in all
these ways at once harmoniously.
I was not casting aspersions on your faith, simply and to you unnecessarily
pointing out regarding these "hard sayings" that
1 Corinthians 13:12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then
we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even
as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of
these is love.
God bless you, too.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Robert Schneider" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2002 9:19 AM
Subject: Re: Psalm 137 and God's ethics
> Jay writes:
> > God specifically instructed Israel as they took possession of Canaan to
kill every man woman and child of certain peoples. He did this as a
judgment on those peoples.
> > "Deuteronomy 7
> > 1 When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to
possess and drives out before you many nations-the Hittites, Girgashites,
Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations
larger and stronger than you- 2 and when the Lord your God has delivered
them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them
> > "Deuteronomy 9
> > 3 But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes
across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will
subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them
quickly, as the Lord has promised you.
> > 4 After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to
yourself, "The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land
because of my righteousness." No, it is on account of the wickedness of
these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you."
1 Samuel 15
1 Samuel said to Saul, "I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over
his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord . 2 This is
what the Lord Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did
to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go,
attack the Amalekites and totally destroy  everything that belongs to
them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants,
cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.' "
Certainly the Babylon of Psalm 137 qualified as a wicked nation.
How can God, who is love, decree such things? This is the "why does God let
bad things happen to good people" issue restated.
We too often impress our delicate human sensitivities upon a Holy God.
Where we see the surface only, he sees the heart. He also sees all time
like a table, a created thing lying before him complete from its creation to
the passing away of time itself.
The images of people under the full wrath of God set forth in Revelation
also do not draw a distinction between babes in arms and adults.
God recognizes that the very young are not acting with evil intent.
And the little ones that you said would be taken captive, your children who
do not yet know good from bad-they will enter the land. I will give it to
them and they will take possession of it.
Nevertheless, he visits the wages of their fathers' sins upon them.
You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am
a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the
third and fourth generation of those who hate me.
"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good-except God
At some point we fall into the endless circuitous meanderings of reason that
tore the Christian world apart in the first Millenium. Disunity and open
warfare over subjects like whether Jesus owned his clothes, opened the door
for the followers of Mohammad to very nearly conquor all Christendom.
> > Jay
For reference my original post and Bob's reply are re-produced below:
> God specifically instructed Israel as they took possession of Canaan to =
> kill every man woman and child of certain peoples. He did this as a =
> judgment on those peoples. =20
> "Deuteronomy 7
> 1 When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to =
> possess and drives out before you many nations-the Hittites, =
> Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, =
> seven nations larger and stronger than you- 2 and when the Lord your God
> has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must
> destroy them totally.=20
> "Deuteronomy 9
> 3 But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across
> ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue
> them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them =
> quickly, as the Lord has promised you.=20
> 4 After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to =
> yourself, "The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land =
> because of my righteousness." No, it is on account of the wickedness of =
> these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you."
> Certainly Babylon of Psalm 137 qualified as a wicked nation.
> How can God, who is love, decree such things? Perhaps the question is =
> more properly who are we to question his sovereign will.
> We too often impress our delicate human sensitivities upon a Holy God. =
> Where we see the surface only, he sees the heart. He also sees all time
> like a table, a created thing lying before him complete from its =
> creation to the passing away of time itself. The images of people under
> the full wrath of God set forth in Revelation does not draw a =
> distinction between babes in arms and adults. =20
> We either trust his judgment or we cannot trust him at all. =20
> When we give man's reason latitude in deciding what portions of the =
> Bible are legitimately "God breathed" and which are not, the Bible =
> becomes just another book.=20
> Thomas Jefferson's ideas on the subject I found less than persuasive. =
> Such editorial latitude creates a mercurial rather than a stable moral =
> We are always trying to add to or detract from Jesus' finished work on =
> the cross and show how smart we are or how righteous we can become =
> through our own efforts.
> Respectfully submitted,
I object to the sentiments expressed here and often by many others that
those who wrestle with some of the difficult moral questions raised by
biblical accounts are picking and choosing what parts of the Bible they will
accept, or are not trusting God's sovereign will, or that they are making
the Bible just another book, or are showing how smart they are or how
righteous they can become through their own efforts. Among those who have
wrestled with such passages as Burgy listed are Origen of Alexandria and St.
Augustine of Hippo. The Bible provides many such passages that raise
serious moral problems for the believer, and to respond to sincere attempts
to address them with simple either/or positions and aspersions on their
faith is really unfair. Reading our Sacred Scripture calls, IMHO, for more
nuanced efforts at understanding and interpretation than a simple plain
It is man's reason, guided by prayer and faith, that is the major tool
by which theologians take the matter of Scripture and create doctrine.
Theology is rational reflection upon religious experience, both that which
is preservered for us in the Bible and that which forms the history, ancient
and contemporary, of believers. When believers raise the kinds of questions
that Burgy and others have raised, I think this is an act of faith, not of
Let me be clear, here. My objection is not to differences of
interpretation, which I respect whether agreeing or disagreeing, but rather
to a judgemental aspersions upon those who take approaches and
interpretations of Scripture to which one disagrees.
Grace and peace,
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