Cruelty In The Bible?
Why would God kill king David's baby?
THE CLAIMED CRUELTY: He [God] killed King Davids baby because of Davids adultery with Bathsheba (II Samuel 12:13-18);
If the question is, "Why did God kill David's baby?" Then this is a good question. It's a question many Christians have, and the answer in not given in scripture. But, we have some clues.
BUT FIRST... as I've mentioned in previous responses, the American Humanists have no legitimacy to claim that killing babies is immoral... they are in favor of killing babies through abortion, and state so on their web site. However, we Christians are definitely against killing babies, wherever they are located -- inside or outside of the womb. So let's look at this accusation. Of course, as we've had to do previously, we'll have to make some assumptions about what the humanists think is wrong.
Here is what II Samuel says:
Then David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said to David, The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die. So Nathan went to his house. Then the Lord struck the child that Uriahs widow bore to David, so that he was very sick. - 2 Samuel 12:13-15
Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. - 2 Samuel 12:18
There is no question that we are hurt when a child dies, and appalled when a baby is killed. It is tragic. So why did God do this? The death of a child never feels right.
There seems to be an explanation given "because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme," but there are variety of opinions as to what this means. The reality is that the focus of the narrative is on David, not his child. So we simply are not given enough information to know why God took the child's life.
We do know that the reason for the child's death is more than what the humanists state, "because of David's adultery." The complete verse says that it was because it would give "occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme."
Also, Ezekiel 18:20 makes it clear that "The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity." So the baby was not punished for David's sin. There is something more going on. It may have to do with David not just being king, but being the king from whose line the Messiah will come. Possibly, if there was a living illegitimate child by Bathsheba, whom David loved more than any of his other children, a new line would have been started that would have caused a problem of some sort.
The bottom line is, we don't know. In this case God has not given us enough information..
We Live In A Fallen World
One thing to always keep in mind is that we live in a damaged, broken world in which things are not as they are supposed to be... it is a world that is far from perfect. Sin is horrible, and sometimes in our fallen world there are no good options in response to sin. At times we must make a choice between the lesser of two evils, because that's the best we can do. God never has to make that type of choice, but the problem is, from our limited perspective, even if we had sufficient information, we may not fully understand what God is doing.
Is Physical Death Evil?
There is an assumption built into many of the humanist's claims, including this one... that physical death is always evil. But is that true? No, it is not. For example, Paul writes:
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know [t]which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better. - Philippians 1:21-23
So why doesn't Paul commit suicide and go to be with Christ? Because, that is not our decision to make. We are owned by God, and God decides when we will leave this earth.
The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart;
And devout men are taken away, while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from evil,
He enters into peace. - Isaiah 57:1-2
Death is not evil. It brings peace for the righteous. What is evil is our taking life. When a life will end is not our decision to make. That belongs to God alone.
What is evil is murder, whether it is taking your own life, or taking the life of another... including taking the life of a baby in the womb. We are owned by God, and only He has the right to determine when someone is to physically die.
The Apologetics Press has a good summary:
In summary, it is the case that God treated David in perfect accord with the Law of Moses, showing no partiality. Furthermore, it has been shown that since death is not inherently evil, God was not guilty of immorality by causing the childs death. God also ushered Davids son into an eternity of bliss. Therefore, the skeptics charge against God fails once again to discredit His infinitely flawless character. As Abraham asked the rhetorical question in the long ago, Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? (Genesis 18:25). The answer has been the same throughout the millenniaa resounding Yes.
Conclusion: God is not cruel nor immoral. God is the source of life, and He fully and completely owns us... and He has the right to take our life. Physical death is not inherently evil. Even if God does not give us enough information, it is obvious there was nothing evil or immoral that happened.
Next example: [God is cruel because] he required the torture and murder of his own son (e.g., Romans 3:24-25)
Click here to learn why Jesus had to die...