Posted by: Nito | December 3, 2011

Is God Bloodthirsty?

When you read the Bible, the Old Testament may come across as brutish and full of violence. Some of the events described in there would be termed as genocide from today’s perspective. In the Law that God gave to Israelis, capital punishment was used for things which are not even deemed a criminal offense these days (i.e. in the western democracies) . A good example is an act of adultery (see Leviticus 20:10).

Nevertheless, God is not bloodthirsty. From the example of Jesus Christ, who perfectly reflected Father’s character and nature (see John 17:25-26 and John 14:9), we understand that God loves us and cares for us His children. Also, the events from the Old Testament must be placed into the perspective that God wanted to remove all polytheistic religions from the Earth. For this purpose He needed to create a holy nation that will influence others to accept faith and show them how to live good and blessed lives (for more details refer to the series of posts named The Role of the Chosen People).

For such a project to succeed God needed to place Hebrews in the middle of the polytheistic landscape, so that they would be able to exact the required influence on the surrounding nations. The Promised Land was obviously already populated, but the people in it lived immoral and corrupt lives. Therefore, God had decided to remove them from the land (to make room for the Hebrews) but He also sternly warned Hebrews not to adopt the same lifestyle with the following words: “Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants” (Leviticus 18:24-25).

By giving Hebrews the Ten Commandments and the Law, which excluded and forbid the practices that defiled the people before them, God had designed a set of strict rules for the Hebrews to live by. By adhering to this divine moral code and ethics they would set a good example for everybody else to copy and follow.

But let us now look at this question (i.e. is God bloodthirsty?) from a different perspective. Why does God want us to be holy (i.e. we are supposed to copy and follow the life He has designed for the chosen people)? Why would God devise such strict rules for living as He commanded Hebrews to live by?

Bible tells us that we are made in the image of God (see Genesis 1:26-28) and it also tells us that God is love (see 1 John 4:8). This doesn’t just means that God loves us, but that He is the ‘force’ of love; He is the love itself. From this perspective, what Jesus did 2000 years ago makes perfect sense—he (who perfectly reflected Father’s character and nature) made the ultimate sacrifice and gave his own life for the forgiveness of the sins of all (see Isaiah 53:4-6). He paid the ultimate price (see 1 Corinthians 6:20) so that we could figure out that God is not bloodthirsty, but cares for us and wants us to live happy and free.

But how does happy and free life connect with strict rules for living? To understand this you will have to become aware of what sin does to love—it overshadows it and makes it hidden. Sin disconnects us from God and blocks the flow of His power and grace; it blocks the flow of love. As God is love itself, sin removes us from the source of love, so that we cannot feel It anymore.  People that are disconnected from God (i.e. love) become miserable, whither away and eventually die.

So, it’s not that God is bloodthirsty and has raised the bar too high for us. Not at all! On the contrary, God being the loving Father, doesn’t want us to live in sin because such life sucks. He gave us Jesus so that our sin could be quickly removed (when we accept this offer and start believing that Jesus died for us too) so that we could stand before God washed and clean and enjoy connectedness with love, power, joy and all goodness.

Think also about the following: God is love and we are His children—does this make us little ‘beings of love’? Or, if we make an analogy with a magnetic field and magnetic field lines, are we little ‘love field lines’ that show the direction of the the ‘field of love’, the God Himself? Because God doesn’t want anything to distort His field of love, block its passage or “hurt” little rays of love (i.e. us), He wants to get rid of all evil and He hates all sin. It’s for our own good.

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Responses

  1. So, you are saying that, in the Old Testament, God drove the people already living in the Promised Land out because they didn’t follow the Law given only to His People, the Isealites? Further, because God is love and his people were created in His image, those trespassing on the Promised Land had their cities sacked and became enslaved by these “little waves of love,” the Isrealites, for their own good?

    Sounds a bit bloodthirsty to me.

    • God said that He removed Canaanites from the Promised Land because they sacrificed their children to gods and threw them into the fire, they practiced divination, sorcery and witchcraft, casted spells, invoked spirits and consulted the dead (see Deuteronomy 18:10-12). He simply can’t stand such evil.

      What I didn’t understand at the time I wrote this article (3 years ago) was that before Jesus died on the cross, there was no remedy for evil consciousness. There was no healing and deliverance in the name of Jesus. Holy Spirit was not available to come in and dwell inside the believers to be their protection against the devil. In the Old Testament times when somebody chose to be evil the only remedy was death. That’s why the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and by receiving Jesus we get the eternal life, which is the opposite of death.

      Having said that, I’ve been there myself; I was harbouring the same feelings as you do now, but with this article I admitted that I was wrong. Besides, who will tell the Creator that He is wrong or not doing His job properly? Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ (Isaiah 45:9).

  2. […] The reason is simple. God is love (1 John 4:8) and Bible tells us that “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NLT version). Father is patient and kind and doesn’t want to kill His own children, “He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (2 Peter 3:9, NLT version). God is a good God and the Old Testament harshness and carnage must be viewed from the right perspective. […]


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