Everyone always looks at the Bible as a loving book. It is considered God’s Word. It helps us live a better life and serves as a guidebook showing us how to live on the right path. The characters in it are ones to be looked up to. Moses, Noah, Abraham, etc. were all righteous followers of God and set good examples for us even today. However, those who read deeper into the Bible will find more than just the stereotype that I have already explained. The God of the Bible has many moods. The Bible has stories of murder, warfare, etc. n which the ones doing the acts are treated as good people that have done heroic deeds.
What are we supposed to make of these situations? Can they still have good values and be applied to our daily lives to hopefully improve them? Let us take some examples from the Bible and examine them, while keeping the previous questions in mind. First, I would like to examine a story almost everyone is familiar with. This is the story of the Great Flood. When I think of this story, the first response I have is the thought of “divine destruction”, or destruction caused by God.
As we know, the amount of destruction in the Great Flood was overwhelming. The entire earth was flooded, killing everyone except Noah, his family, and a male and female of every animal. Is this story, God is the character doing the “killing”. Of course, it is portrayed as a good deed, which is should be. In the long run, it was good for the world. He was getting rid of the evil that had arisen in the world he had created. We can make great use of this in our own lives. Since God destroyed the world for its evil, don’t you think it could happen again?
If God did not allow this kind of evil back then, why should he allow it now? If you take a good look at the overall condition of the world today, it is definitely not a good one. There is sin everywhere. The world is corrupt, which may mean we are headed to another from of destruction of catastrophic measures. Perhaps, this is what the Bible is talking about when it speaks of Armageddon. Throughout all of time, we have always learned from history. I think we should take the Great Flood and think of it as a history lesson that serves as a warning to what might be in the near future.
Another biblical story that is filled with a non-peaceful element could be Joshua and the Battle of Jericho. This talks about how Joshua and the Israelites marched around the city of Jericho for 7 days. On the 7th day, they marched around 7 times, shouted, and the walls around the city fell flat. This allowed for Joshua and his army to charge in the city, killing everyone. This included the citizens and even the animals. It was basically a massacre. Of course, Joshua is portrayed as a hero who did a great deed in the eyes of the Lord. He did as God told him. He took back the land that should have belonged to Israel.
So, what are we supposed to make of this? How do we respond to the fact that God would want this kind of thing to happen? I think this could lead to several possibilities, but the one that jumps out in my mind is the fact that war must happen. The Bible supports this more times than just in the Battle of Jericho. I think the Bible is telling us that war must happen in a sinful world like ours. In a perfect world, war would not exist. However, we do not have that, and war and death is going to have to be part of our imperfect world. This story of Joshua easily corresponds to our own.
From ancient wars, to the Revolutionary War, to the Vietnam War, to the War on Terrorism that is presently taking place, war has always existed. It will continue to exists until the end of time, and I believe that Joshua and the Battle of Jericho should be thought of no differently. The last example I would like to examine is from the New Testament. This is the story of King Herod. This took place in the time that Jesus was born. Herod heard that this Jesus was supposed to be the King of the Jews. This made Herod feel threatened, and he wanted Jesus dead. However, the wise men tricked Herod, and Jesus was safe.
This made Herod extremely mad, so to try to make sure Jesus was killed, he ordered EVERY child two years of age or under in and around Bethlehem to be killed. Even though Herod isn’t portrayed as a good character, this is still a biblical story filled with brutal murder. This is also a story that can correspond to our own. It tells us that there are always going to be people like Herod that are a threat to the world. A great example of one of these people is Hitler. He killed many more people than even Herod did. He killed people of all ages. Most of these were Jews, which makes him have even more in common with Herod, since Jesus was a Jew.
There are many other examples going on even today. These could include all the rulers in the Middle East who hate us, along with our Christian beliefs. Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden, and others have contributed disorder and murder to our world just like King Herod did. As you can see, all these brutal, nasty stories of the Bible still have lessons to be learned from them. We just cannot dismiss the Bible as only a loving book, because the world it corresponds to is not always loving. The main question is ultimately, what does it mean for the Bible to contain so much of this material?
I believe the answer is simple: sin. There has to be some kind of punishment for our sin, and I think the bad things that happen today, including the ones in the Bible, is punishment for sin. It all started with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Punishment for sin as existed since then, and it will not stop. Things like the attack on the World Trade Center could be used as examples of this. Why would God allow this to happen? Of course, the answer is sin. Hopefully, we can take these kinds of stories from the Bible, learn from them, and understand what they are trying to tell us.