God wiped out the peoples of Canaan, He imposes eternal punishment in hell for unbelievers, and He will destroy the world in the end times for its disobedience. Would a good, loving God judge like this?

Canaan: Justice or Genocide?

Was God committing genocide by commanding Israel to destroy Canaanite peoples? No, for the Canaanites were wicked: They sacrificed their children to idols (Psalm 106:34-39). This and other evils permeated their society to the deepest levels. God wouldn’t be good if He didn’t lay down justice on them. God even restrained His judgment upon one group, the Amorites, for hundreds of years until their evil became too great – He gave time to repent (Genesis 15:16).

Revelation: World Atrocity or Wicked World?

What about the world destruction prophesied in Revelation, where many will die in the end time judgment? Yet God didn’t initiate this carnage – it’s started by evil men, particularly one man, the Antichrist. His evil forces kill a fourth of the world (Revelation 6). These martyrs are God’s people (Revelation 6:9-10), who cry:

  • “‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’”

Thus, God is not yet judging if His people are calling for justice. The Antichrist and his followers are the ones killing a fourth of the earth. The Antichrist is worse than Hitler, yet skeptics claim God is unjust for not punishing Hitler and his SS. Yet Revelation reveals God’s justice, for God finally crushes the worst Hitler.

On one hand, when God is merciful to men, waiting for them to repent, skeptics claim God is unjust for not punishing evil. Then when God enacts justice, skeptics claim He is too harsh. Yet God alone knows when to be merciful and when to be just.

Hell: Deserved or Undeserved?

Why would God send so many people to Hell if He loved them? Actually, He didn’t have to love anyone – we don’t deserve it. Just think: In our short life of both good and bad deeds, do we truly deserve Heaven’s eternal happiness? Our good deeds are not enough for an infinite reward. Yet do we deserve Hell? Consider this: God is our Creator, Sustainer, and Blesser. We owe Him everything, because everything came from Him; while He owes us nothing. Yet we forget Him and hardly give Him thanks, but have rebelled against Him by disrespecting Him and our fellowmen created in the image of God (Genesis 9:6). Because He created all value, He has all value and is infinitely worthy. What is the punishment for willful and continual rebellion against a One of infinite value? It is eternal punishment – so we all deserve hell.

But Isn’t Man Good at Heart?

Every newspaper and news channel in the world reveals that man is not good but evil at heart. Robbery, extortion, cheating, lying, murder. From the smallest to the greatest. Even good deeds are tainted with selfishness – are we really donating that $10 because we’re kind or because we want to look better than others?

Look at dictators. They are windows to the soul, because their absolute control gives them every freedom to do either good or bad. If the human heart is good, then they should be the best people of all! Yet their reputations are the worst of humanity: Stalin, Mao, Hitler. Without social or legal restraints, they show their true hearts. We all have the potential to be as bad as they, but we are constrained from fully revealing our evil nature. If we lie, we get caught. If we steal, we go to jail. We often treat people good only to get our desires. Our heart is “desperately wicked” (Jeremiah 17:9). That’s why we never tell our fantasies to grandma – we don’t titillate over charity to the poor.

This truth is hard to accept. A criminal always thinks the verdict is unjust and the judge, unfair. We are the same. Rather than objective truth seekers, we are guilty and want to hide it. So we claim that our Judge is unjust or doesn’t even exist. Our motive is pride. That’s why the proud don’t find God, only the humble who admit their need for God’s mercy (1 Peter 5:5).

Forgive and Forget?

God can’t just forget and ignore our wrongs. That would compromise justice – He would be a crooked Judge. We always criticize crooked judges – but in the end, we ourselves want to be the exception. It’s human nature to want justice until it shines its light on us. God can’t forget justice: That’s why God judges. But that’s also why He died on the cross. He paid the price for our infinite punishment with the blood of His infinite worth, so justice has been fulfilled. Thus, He joins together infinite justice and infinite mercy – we are saved from our evil by the goodness of God.

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