IF GOD IS SO GOOD, why’d he kill everybody—people and animals?
Killing everybody is overkill.
If someone at the dinner table offends you, it’s not kosher to kill them. And it certainly makes no sense to kill everyone else, too, along with Buddy the Dog, Mimi the Cat, and Peter the Parakeet. That’s In Cold Blood cruel.
Yet that’s how God comes across to many people today as they read the story of the Flood.
First of all, it’s hard for many folks to swallow what the Genesis writer is serving: “Everyone on earth was corrupt…. consistently and totally evil” (Genesis 6:12, 5).
How evil can a baby be, once you’ve changed its diaper?
And who but the bad guys are going to kill Bambi’s daddy, Big Bird, and every other critter that sucks air? What did they do to deserve God’s water torture death?
Bible experts offer a buffet of ideas. Here are two.
- Theory: God didn’t send the Flood
There was a huge flood that wiped out riverside communities in the sprawling river valley where civilization began. The rivers were the Tigris and Euphrates, in what is now Iraq.
That’s backed up by other ancient stories from the Middle East, and by archaeological discoveries among riverside towns such as Ur, the hometown of Abraham, father of the Jews.
Many Jews in ancient times taught that God controlled everything—and that he rewarded good folks and punished bad folks.
So one scholarly guess is that the ancients presumed that God sent the Flood. The story got passed along from generation to generation, over herder campfires. And in time, it got woven into the story of the Jews.
This theory doesn’t sit well with Christians who say God inspired the Bible.
- Theory: God cleaned up the sin pollution
There’s a point at which God stops patiently waiting for people to change their nasty ways. Here, as in many other Bible stories, God goes into action once sin reaches what some Bible experts call the “critical mass.” Spiritually speaking, that’s the moment at which you decide to either let sinful people run everything into the ground, or you put them in the ground.
God waited 10 generations before cleansing civilization of the people who were polluting his creation. Later, when the Jewish people drifted back into sinful ways, God waited for several centuries before he allowed invaders to erase the Jewish nation from the political map.
The point of this theory is that God puts up with sin, but for only so long. If people don’t eventually turn the tide, God will turn it for them. And in Noah’s day, God did it literally.