Granted, there are no quick and easy answers to this question. There is a lot of violence in the Bible, however, every instance should not be viewed in the same way. Much of the violence mentioned in the Old Testament is there to give us a vivid description of fallen humanity. There are also occasions where God’s people pray for violence upon their enemies. Rather than a wholesale condoning of this request, what the Scriptures give us is a raw expression of the deep emotions we often experience in life.
It’s important to note that these prayers are usually poems and songs that make creative use of intense language, just like we do today, and should be interpreted similarly.
And then, there are narratives of God acting violently both in the present and in future predictions. In each of these scenarios, God’s stance is always in response to evil that must be judged. Ultimately, the reason there is such an abundance of violence in the Bible is because there is so much violence in our hearts and in our depraved world.
Not mistakenly, the most deplorable act of violence in history was done to God, on behalf of fallen humanity, to save us and to give us a vivid, radical description of the far-reaching love of God.
Originally published by Detroit Church.
- Romans 1.18-32
- Ephesians 2.1-3