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Is God a baby killer?
Why doesn't the Holy Spirit know God's plans?

Is God a baby killer?

Rod's Comments
I'm glad you have a web page dealing with
doubts. Our church had a program for exploring doubts and questions, and it was the first church I've been to that recognized the need to honestly face this reality.

Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Job, David, other Psalmists, Habakkuk, Jeremiah, all expressed serious doubts! Your web-site suggests Bible study as a solution to doubt. But some of my key doubts are rooted in the Bible -- passages where it is claimed that
the Lord commanded His people to kill innocent children (the Torah and Joshua, I Samuel 15 as well), or where He kills the innocent with the guilty (Numbers 16).
Often, the Reformed Jewish position -- that much of this was of human origin, rather than Divine origin -- makes a lot more sense to me! It doesn't call on me to believe that God is a mass murderer.

Under current International Law, Moses and Joshua would be tried (and probably convicted) as war criminals.

I have faith and keep finding answers to my prayers. But like people in the Bible I have doubts also.
Biblebell's Reply
In the panel alongside I have quoted two Bible passages of the type that cause our visitor to be concerned. There are many other such passages in the Bible.

Both of the quoted passages report instances where God destroyed large groups of people. There is no doubt that those large groups included children, as well as "innocent" adults.
  God destroyed [by a flood] all living things which were on the face of the ground: both man and cattle, creeping thing and bird of the air. They were destroyed from the earth. Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained alive. Gen 7.23

The LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.
Gen 19.24-25
Of course, in the viewpoint of our Holy God, there is NO one who is altogether innocent or sinless.

I will have more to say about this later on in this essay.
  There is none righteous, no, not one. There is none who understands. There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable. There is none who does good, no, not one. Rom 3.10-12

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
Rom 3.23
Rod's comment: Some of my key doubts are
rooted in Bible passages where it is claimed that the Lord commanded His people to kill innocent children.

My reply: In order to deal with Rod's concern, we need to discuss the nature of *death* from a Biblical standpoint.

The Bible identifies two categories of death, each of which involves separation of a person's spirit to a new location...
  • Physical death is separation of the spirit from the body.
  They ridiculed Jesus, knowing that the child was dead. But He put them all outside, took her by the hand and called, saying, "Little girl, arise." Then her spirit returned, and she arose immediately.
Lk 8.53-55a

The body without the spirit is dead
Jam 2.26a
  • Spiritual death is separation of the spirit from God.
  Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you
Isa 59.2a

[Those people who reject God...] shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power 2 Thes 1.9

As explained above, physical death is simply a *re-location* of a person's spirit. Children who die do NOT cease to exist. [Neither does anyone else who dies. God never annihilates anyone.]

Children who die go instantly to Heaven, where they lead full and joyful lives for all eternity. These facts are discussed at...

We cling to physical life-on-earth for somewhat the same reasons that a maggot relishes its home within a decaying corpse...

  • A fish doesn't know it's wet.
  • A skunk doesn't know it stinks.
  • A dung beetle doesn't know it's eating poop.
  • We humans don't realize the utterly vile sinfulness of this world to which we cling so desperately.

Biblebell's detailed study of these matters can be found HERE.

Rod's comment: Often, the Reformed Jewish position -- that much of this was of human origin, rather than Divine origin -- makes a lot more sense to me! It doesn't call on me to believe that God is a mass murderer.    

My reply: The Reformed Jewish position also denies that Jesus is the Messiah.

  • They further deny that God inspired the writers of the New Testament.
  • They sometimes even call to question God's inspiration of the Old Testament.
  For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Rom 11.25
God does NOT need anyone to apologize for His actions. The Bible describes exactly the truth.

There is no need to water down God's truths in order to satisfy our belief that physical death is the greatest horror.
God says that sin and spiritual death are much, much greater horrors.
  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God
2 Tim 3.16a

[Jesus said...] My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!
Lk 12.4-5
It is very dangerous if we start re-interpreting the Bible to suit our own finite, sinful, humanistic set of ethics. This is especially true if we re-interpret God's Word so as to pass judgment on the actions of a wise, holy, gracious, and loving God.

If we choose to selectively accept the parts of the Bible that we like, and spiritualize or re-interpret the parts we don't like, then we are putting ourselves into the role of the serpent in Genesis 3.1.

That cunning snake deceived people by the tactic of questioning the truth of God's truth. You and I must not fall into the same trap.
  Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.

And the serpent said to the woman, "
Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" Gen 3.1
ALL Scripture is inspired by God [2 Tim 3.16]. ALL of it -- not just the parts that we understand or agree with. ALL of it!!!   You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. Deu 4.2

Do not add to God's words, lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
Prov 30.6

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Rev 22.18-19
Rod's comment: [The Jewish Reformed position...] doesn't call on me to believe that God is a mass murderer.

My reply: Believe what the Bible tells you!

Yes, children died at the command of God. Moreover, it was *precious* in God's eyes that those kids and babies were taken into the joys of Heaven, and thereby were SAVED from a sinful, deceitful, violent, perverted, decaying world.
  God shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence; and their blood shall be precious in His sight. Ps 72.14

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints. Ps 116.15
At the rapture, moreover, the spirits of those children -- and of ALL God's people -- will be clothed with glorified physical bodies that are incorruptible and immortal.   For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 1 Thes 4.16

For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." 1 Cor 15.52b-54

The Bible recounts several instances where God redeemed children from Satan's hell-hole of sexual slavery and perversion.

God snatched those children out of the devil's grasp. The devil did NOT like that. He therefore seeks to convince us that God is a murderer. However...

  • A surgeon is not a murderer when he takes a vile cancer out of a baby.
  • Neither is God a murderer when He takes a baby out of a vile and cancerous environment.
  • God is analogous to the surgeon.
  • Satan IS the cancer!
  The devil was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. John 8.44b

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. ...For I am hard pressed between the two
[life and death], having a desire to depart [die] and be with Christ, which is far better. Phil 1.21 & 1.23
For me to question anything God does, just because it is beyond my human ability to understand it, would be like a fly arguing with Einstein about the theory of relativity.

I do NOT understand lots of what God does and doesn't do. But I know HIM -- He's my Father. He loves me. I trust Him totally, even the stuff I don't understand.

That's what *faith* is -- trusting God even when He doesn't seem to make any sense.

  "My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isa 55.8-9

God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom 5.8

Whoever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith.
1 John 5.4

Why doesn't the Holy Spirit know God's plans?

Caryn writes -- Dear Bible Bell: Here is my "Bible difficulty" question. In Mark 13.31 it says that only the Father knows the "day and hour." Now I understand that Jesus was speaking from His humanity. That explains His exclusion of His own knowledge, but the Holy Spirit would still know. Why did Jesus exclude the Holy Spirit from knowing the day and hour?

I deal with a lot of anti-Trinitarians and an explanation would be very helpful.

Thank you

Dear Caryn,

Thank you for your question concerning Mk 13.31-32. I hope the following comments are helpful. (NOTE: All Bible quotes are from the NKJ except where otherwise indicated.)

A) The fact that the Holy Spirit is not specifically mentioned in Mk 13.32 as being among those who "do not know" is of no significance...
  • The parallel verse in Mt 24.36 mentions neither the Son nor the Holy Spirit.
  • The decisive words in both verses are that NO ONE knows except the Father...
(Jesus said...) "But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Mk 13.32)

(Jesus said...) "But of that day and hour
no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only." (Mt 24.36)
B) Mark 13.26 makes it clear that the information which Jesus "did not know" was the precise date and time of His Second Coming...
(Jesus said...) "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory." (Mk 13.26 -- see also Mt 24.37)

C) For reasons not explicitly revealed in the Bible, the three persons of the Godhead have established among themselves a hierarchy or "ranking." Under this hierarchy of Father-Son-Spirit...

The Godhead has, in effect, divided up (among Themselves) the various responsibilities that are required in bringing salvation to the human race. For example...

  • The Father gave the Son to be a sacrifice and atonement for sin (John 3.16)
  • The Son submitted to the Father's will in being born as a human (Heb 10.5-7), and in suffering and dying on the cross (Mt 26.39)
  • The Holy Spirit empowered the Son during the Son's sojourn on earth (Mt 3.16)

D) In line with the hierarchy of Father-Son-Spirit, the Son subordinated Himself to the Father. That is, the Son surrendered His equality with God the Father and became the Father's servant...
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. (Philipp 2.5-7, NIV)

(Jesus said...) "...My Father is greater than I. (John 14.28c)
E) In line with the hierarchy of Father-Son-Spirit, the Holy Spirit subordinated Himself to both the Father and the Son. Thus, the Holy Spirit is "given" by the Father and "sent" by the Son...
(Jesus said...) "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." (John 14.16-17)

(Jesus said...) "But when the Helper comes, whom
I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me." (John 15.26)

F) The hierarchy of Father-Son-Spirit is clearly illustrated by the process that God has ordained for hearing and answering the prayers of His children. Namely...

  • Jesus commanded that all prayers should be addressed to the Father
  • Prayers to the Father are to be made in Jesus' name
  • As we pray, Jesus serves as Advocate and Mediator of our prayers to the Father
  • As we pray, the Holy Spirit prays along with us, so that even our "bad" prayers are righteous before God

Pray to the Father

(Jesus said...) "In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name." (Mt 6.9)

Pray in Jesus' name

(Jesus said...) "...Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you." (John 16.23b)

Jesus Advocates & Mediates our prayers

My little children, these things I write to you, that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2.1)

For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us (Heb 9.24)

Holy Spirit prays with us

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Rom 8.26)

G) In line with the hierarchy of Father-Son-Spirit, there are certain authorities and decisions that are reserved to the Father

  • The Son has authority only to the extent that it is bestowed upon Him by the Father
  • Those who receive the Son as Lord and Savior are "given" by the Father to the Son...
(Jesus said to the Father...) "You (the Father) have given Him (Jesus) authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. (John 17.2)
H) Within the hierarchy of Father-Son-Spirit, there is certain information that is reserved unto the Father, and known to Him only...
And He (Jesus) said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority." (Acts 1.7)

(Concerning the date of His Second Coming, Jesus said...) "But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only." (Mt 24.36)

I) Acts 1.7 (quoted above) is a pivotal and decisive verse.

  • Acts 1.7 shows that the three Persons of the Godhead have decided that certain information will be reserved to the Father's authority only.
  • Clearly then, the Son and Holy Spirit have determined "not to know" the information that the Father has reserved unto Himself.
  • What does this mean? How God is able to accomplish it? Those are questions that only God can answer.
  • Come to think of it, we might also wonder what Paul meant when, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he said the following...
For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Cor 2.2)


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