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By Paul Copan

Prime apologetics writer is helping readers know how the violent instructions of the previous testomony God will be reconciled with the recent Testament's ethic of affection as taught via Jesus.

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Extra info for Did God Really Command Genocide?: Coming to Terms with the Justice of God

Sample text

He speaks in a parable of an evil slave, and the returning master (representing God) who will “cut him in pieces” (Matt. 24:51 NASB; Luke 12:46). Jesus also embraces the general theological outlook of the Old Testament—that the heavenly Father “causes His sun to rise” and “sends rain” on the good and wicked alike (Matt. 5:45 NASB). He also affirms that military strength and strategy don’t guarantee victory since authority has been bestowed by God (John 19:10–11). We should not neglect the message of the rest of the New Testament—including Paul and others affirming severe divine temporal punishments on Israel (1 Cor.

Likewise, they are commanded not to attack Moab because “I will not give you any part of their land. I have given Ar to the descendants of Lot as a possession” (v. 9). Similarly, God says this of Ammon: “for I will not give you possession of any land belonging to the Ammonites. I have given it as a possession to the descendants of Lot” (v. 19). , Exod. 23:28; Deut. 11:23). Israel’s title—and hence legal right—to the land the Canaanites possess forms a central theme of the narrative. The account of the entrance into Canaan in the book of Joshua comes after a long narrative that begins in the book of Genesis.

11 What’s more, violence has nothing to do with God’s character. Seibert’s solution, as we noted above, is to distinguish between the textual God (the author’s literary representation) and the actual God (the living reality)—especially in the Old Testament, where the gap between them is often very wide. ”12 For example, God doesn’t cause a nation to win (or lose) battles; rather, this depends on troop size, sophistication of weapons, and the like. To guide us in interpreting Old Testament texts, we should look to the nonviolent, enemy-loving Jesus, whose example and teachings reveal the character of God perfectly.

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