Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Scandalous Christmas and its CHRIST

Who would have even thought that a story like this would ever get off the ground? But it did. And some people actually believe it.

Once upon a time, 2000 years ago, the invisible, eternal, Creator God entered into time and space and became a fetus inside of an unmarried poor Jewish peasant girl named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a blue collared carpenter named Joseph. Mary claimed the child in her womb was from God and that she had not been sleeping around but was still a virgin. No doubt in that highly conservative and religious community she was instantly rejected as a dirty sinner who had gotten pregnant outside of wedlock and really deserved death or desertion. Her reputation in that community would forever be that of an adulteress and fornicator. And Joseph, who could’ve easily found another wife decided to marry this pregnant Mary and become father to a child that was not his own. His reputation likewise would forever be tarnished having taken such a disgraceful woman to be his wife and an illegitimate child to be his son. And this was just the beginning of the perfect reputation of the earthly parents of the “divine” baby Jesus, who would eventually be born in front of an audience of animals; goats, donkeys, sheep, and oxen and all the wonderful smells that accompany such a sanitized environment as his mommy goes into labor. An illegitimate birth in an illegitimate place to a couple of poor Jews. But I thought Jesus was a King! This kid is at a huge disadvantage before He’s even born! Right? Shouldn't He be born in a palace, in a popular town somewhere, to some wealthy noble couple of great religious and political reputation? And yet, here you have a couple Jewish nobodies, who claim their Son is literally from God, but they give birth to this “Special Child” in an animal cave, a barn practically, in the middle of backwoods Bethlehem. Then they run from Bethlehem because Herod the King has commanded mandatory post-birth abortions on all boys 2 years old and younger hoping to kill Jesus before He grows up and threatens his career.  Joseph and Mary raise Jesus in hated Egypt for a few years which is not kosher, and then they take him up north to grow up in a neighborhood in nowhere Nazareth where they have other sons and daughters. 

Well, Jesus grows up in silence for nearly 30 years alongside brothers and sisters who don’t believe He’s anything super-special. He works as a blue collared carpenter alongside his dad Joseph as a young adult. Sometime when He’s around 30 years old he pops up on the scene near Jerusalem, following the crazy open air preaching ministry of His cousin John the Baptist, who dresses like an animal, eats bugs and yells at people to stop sinning. Jesus then does what every parent hopes their child will do, He leaves the hammer and nails career of a carpenter to be a homeless Gospel preacher. Except this Gospel preacher actually claimed to be the Son of God and Savior of the world. Kinda bold don’t you think? 

Well, He carefully gathered an elite group of 12 followers that many actually considered to be losers; a motley-crue mix of fishermen, tax collectors, religious and political zealots, brothers, cousins; two handfuls of nobodies. And for the final 3 years of His short life He travels with these knuckle-heads, preaching in the streets, teaching in the Jewish synagogues, and on the countryside, healing sick people of diseases, casting demons out of people, and teaching His followers to love God, love people and follow Him sincerely. 

Eventually this circuit preacher became a real threat to the “establishment” of the day. He ends up angering the religious and political leaders so much that they decide to have Him executed for being a blasphemous cult leader, who claimed to be God, but they were certain He was really demon possessed, practicing sorcery and leading a heretical rebellion against the nation and the true religion of Israel. This guy was causing problems for the status quo! He wasn't politically or religiously correct as far as they were concerned. He needed to be censored, even if it meant killing Him. He offended both sides of the isle. He wouldn't fit into their box and refused to play their games. Jesus offended both the religious and the rebellious. With His words He afflicted the comfortable and comforted the afflicted. Jesus always acted as if He was in total control, even when they were killing Him. He said He came from heaven to earth to die for sins, to save from hell, to rise again. He predicted His death, who would kill Him, how He’d die, and how He’d rise again on the third day. But even His disciples who lived with him for nearly 3 years didn't understand or believe it. He wasn't fitting into their box either. What is it with this guy? Why is He so different from every person that has ever lived? He washed the feet of His disciples as a slave would wash the feet of their master. When He hung on the cross naked He prayed for those who were killing Him. And then He died…

If the story ended there we would be fools to believe it. But on the third day, early in the morning, the tomb of Jesus was empty. Did someone steal the body? Did He even really die? Maybe they went to the wrong tomb? I mean, the documents say He rose from the dead and revealed Himself first to three women. And of course we know how valued a woman’s testimony was in that culture, right? Obviously I speak sarcastically. Why would He rise from the dead and show Himself to women first in a community that didn’t even regard a woman’s testimony as valid as a man’s. This story is backwards in every area! Who would have the hero first die for the villains, the sinners, and then rise from the dead to be seen by a few women in a man’s culture?  Did a bunch of women conspire to make this thing up? But wait, then He appears to His own disciples and they don’t even recognize Him at first. And when they see Him, they think it’s a ghost, and Jesus has to ask them to touch Him. He even eats a meal with them to show them He’s not a ghost. So you mean to tell me that even the “believers” didn't believe Him at first? Who’s writing this? Someone needs to doctor this thing up so that the disciples don’t appear to be so skeptical and unbelieving. Right? I mean who’s actually going to believe this stuff if the disciples come off sounding like your average, everyday ordinary people? But that’s what it says. The documents also say that after He rose from the dead He walked the earth 40 days, revealing Himself to people, telling them to go and tell others He is risen from the dead. It says He appeared to over 500 people at one time. Jesus’ own brothers, James and Jude, who were skeptics His whole life and thought He was crazy, became believers immediately after they saw Him risen from the dead. Doubting Thomas thought the other disciples were lying to him when they told him Jesus was alive from the dead. And finally even some of His own enemies saw Him alive after He had died and became followers. These nobodies, these losers, these skeptics, critics, cynics, these doubters became believers and eventually wrote down their eye-witness accounts of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We have bound together their stories in what is now called, the Bible. And within its pages you can read the original Christmas Story, which is even more wonderfully scandalous because it’s historically true! That God became a baby to die for you!  

Christmas is about CHRIST!      Do you know Him? 

This Christmas season, as you receive all kinds of gifts from people that probably won't change your life in any major way, why don't you receive the gift of eternal life from God by putting your faith in Jesus Christ. This will change your life and eternity!

Jesus told a man, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses." -Luke 12:15

Jesus also said, "What shall it profit a person to gain the whole world and lose their soul?" -Mark 8:36

Merry Christmas.

Some other blogs I've written that may be of interest:
The Gospel
The Dishonest Skeptic
Do you take the Bible literally?
F.A.C.E.S.M.A.P. "Evidence the Bible is Trustworthy"

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How could a Loving God send someone to Hell?

How would you respond to those who say,
"A loving God would never send someone to hell"?

I would start with a question,
"How do you know that God is a loving God?"
A lot of people believe that God is loving but how do they know that's true?
People often assume that God is loving without really thinking about how they know that.
How do you really know that God is loving?
Creation and nature do not tell you this. You cannot learn that God is loving by looking at the planets and stars, animals or people.
So how can we really know that God is loving?
Well, to know that God is actually a loving God rather than evil or indifferent you would need special, specific revelation about Him.
You would need information about God from God or from someone who truely knows Him.

The Scriptures claim to be God's special and specific revelation to mankind. These Scriptures written by God through men and women who knew God are a special revelation that God is in fact a very loving.
The world around us does not reveal specifically that God is loving but the Word of God does.
The Bible from beginning to end reveals that God is infinitely loving and good.

We also have another special and specific revelation that assures us that God is loving.
Jesus Christ of Nazareth, was a unique Messenger from God in that He claimed to be God Himself.
You cannot ask for a better witness of the character and love of God than God Himself.
Jesus not only claimed to be God, but He also believed and taught that the Scriptures were an accurate revelation from God, the actual Word of God.

And so we know that God is a loving God though the pages of Scripture, The Bible, and through the Person of Jesus Christ, God Himself.

In light of our innitial question the Scriptures and Jesus both tell us 2 very important things about God:
1-God is loving
2-God does send people to hell.

God's love for righteousness and His hatred for evil has led Him to both save people from hell and send people to hell.

As I mentioned before, Jesus actually claimed to be the loving God revealed in the Scriptures, and believe it or not we get the mass majority of our teaching about hell from the mouth of Jesus Himself.
If you want to learn about hell just go straight to the teachings of Jesus, the God of Love, and read for yourself.
Actually, contrary to popular belief, Jesus taught more about hell than He taught about heaven.
You can read the New Testment and see for yourself.

After teaching the world about the reality of heaven and hell, Jesus Christ then gave up His own life, dying on a cross for our sins in order to save us from the very hell He warned us about.
This was the ultimate demonstration of God's love for people.
If you want to learn all about the love of God just go straight to Jesus in the Bible and read for yourself.
"But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." -Romans 5:8

Only in the Bible does the Hero die for the villains!

It is the climax of God's LOVE that saves us from the depths of God's HELL.

And so, in Jesus Christ, you actually have the God of Love in human form dying on a cross for sinners in order to save them from the hell He warned us about.
Jesus rose from the grave and offers a "get out of hell free card" to anyone that turns from sin and trust in Him for salvation.
I can't think of anything more loving that God could do.
"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." -John 15:13

Let's summarize:
"How could a loving God send someone to hell?
1-We only know that God is loving through the Bible and the person of Jesus.
2-The Bible and Jesus both clearly teach that God sends people to hell.
3-God became a Man in Jesus Christ and died on the cross to save sinners from hell.
4-The death of Jesus Christ is the greatest demonstration of God's love.
5-A loving God sends people to hell who reject His love and salvation offered in Jesus Christ.

"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." -John 3:36

God's forgiveness is not automatic. Come to Jesus!

Other related blogs I've written that may be of interest:
The Dishonest Skeptic
Why did God order the killing of the Canaanites?
Do you take the Bible literally?
The Gospel

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Family Pics October 2013

Well, we're overdue again in sending out 
an update and pictures of the family.
A lot has gone on this year and we hope to give 
greater details in the future. 
But in the meantime here's a few pictures.

We finally had to say good bye to Angela's trusty Acura this year.

And we got to say hello to a new (used) family minivan.
This has been a huge blessing for us!

Someone gave us the yellow Jeep, but it was broken. 
I was able to fix it so James can drive it,
 and now Jonathan can have the smaller one.
New rides for everyone!!!

Jonathan isn't old enough to drive, but he sure can ride!
James is becoming a good driver.

I guess Jonathan called "shotgun!"

We thought we needed our official "rock-band" picture.

Jonathan's the drummer, he loves them!

James learned how to drive the boat around the lake this summer.


James riding the rides at the carnival near the beach.

Jonathan in his man-cave.

Beach boys.
Jonathan was old enough to enjoy the beach this year.
James loves playing at the beach.

Say What!
He's growin' up quick.

No baby "Super-heros" were hurt in the taking of this picture.


Pray for our the Lord's Army!

We love you guys! Thanks for all your prayer and encouragement!
The Stephens Family 2013

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Pics of Kids 2013

I thought we'd post a few pictures of the kids 
for those of you would like to see.
These are from this past Winter and Spring.

James started soccer this Spring and loved it.

This is James and his good friend Aiden who also lives in our neighborhood.

Jonathan was chillin watching his big brother play soccer.

James Robot.

Hey! Raise the roof I just turned 1!

Got a slide for my birthday.

James at the zoo just hangin out.

Bath time.

Got a little snow this past winter.

First winter and snow experience.

James is good at building castles.

He's built this one all by himself.

Super Saturday church event where he could ride a horse.

The boys.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Do you guys have an "ipray" ?
Wow, this thing is awesome, and the Apps are incredible!

I've never seen so many Applications to one communication device.

I guess the "ipray" has been around for a long time, it just doesn't get that much publicity.
I hear it's actually been banned in certain schools, businesses, families and courtrooms. I think its a political thing and people just really have a problem with the service Provider.
Regardless, everyone should look into getting an "ipray" for themselves.
Just the applications alone make it the most powerful personal communication device know to man.
One App actually allows you to affect and change the eternal destinies of men and women all over the world. Can you believe it? By using it you can even change your own destiny.
Some Apps even allow you to participate in changing world history. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true! Either through your own individual use of the “ipray” or by joining a network of other “ipray” users, you can actually steer the course of time and history in a fresh and exciting direction.
There's an App that delivers you from the bondage of sin, and gives you power to live a holy life. For best results you have to use this one often.
There's an App that actually takes your worries and replaces them with a peace that is beyond understanding. This App actually helps you to have a more productive and stress-free day. I wish more people would download and use this one. I need to use it more too.
There are Apps for everything from marriage, family, finances, relationships, business, education, ethics and entertainment, and even planning for retirement and the afterlife.
The service Provider has included a disclaimer about using the Apps, though. It states that the Designer has reserved the right to track your use of various applications and interject His instruction at any time. For example, when using one App, the Designer might suggest using a different App that applies more to your particular need. While initially this threw people off, it has become a welcomed feature to those who use their “ipray” the most.
Now before changing any of your situations, most of the Apps are designed to change you first into a more humble, loving, godly and wise person. This takes some time getting used to.
Oh, yea.
Did I mention, the “ipray” is Free! And all the Apps are free! They can take time to download and enjoy, but they're worth it. They’re all free, all the time and available for anyone, anywhere! There are no other service providers who offer any deals close to this!
A great feature of the “ipray” is that its superior technology gets great reception anywhere on the planet.
There are no monthly fees or taxes. Everything has already been prepaid by the Manufacturer.
There are no dead zones, dropped calls or glitches in the system. It’s literally out of this world!
And there are free replacements should you feel your “ipray” was lost or stolen.
There is only one catch that seems to really irritate a whole lot of people, and that's the fact that even though the “ipray” is totally free all the time, it’s only available through One service Provider, and that's JC&C.
Jesus Christ & the Cross is the only Provider that offers free delivery, activation, wireless global and situational access, endless applications, earth-wide unlimited high speed data, talk and info transmission, around the clock customer service, and finally a 100% guarantee of ultimate and eternal satisfaction.
No need to worry about sudden changes or alterations in your “ipray” service plan because this special offer is the same yesterday, today and forever. Feel free to shop all other “so called” service providers to see if you find anything comparable to the JC&C ipray.
Your lifetime personal “ipray” plan includes all minutes, messages and data and will begin whenever you agree to the Terms and Conditions set forth by the service Provider as stated in the Bible and activated by Jesus Christ Himself.
check it out!

Other blogs of interest:
Do you take the Bible literally?
The Gospel
I'm a Tree Hugger!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Dishonest Skeptic

"Professing to be wise, they became fools..." -Romans 1:22

"Skepticism" seems to be pretty trendy these days.
Currently in our culture its cool to be an atheist or a sarcastic agnostic.
As I talk with people about God, the Bible and spiritual things I must confess that lately I've found myself skeptical about the "dishonest skeptic." 
Here are some of my thoughts about the "DISHONEST SKEPTIC."

A dishonest skeptic is skeptical about everything except his own skepticism.

A dishonest skeptic claims that you can't "know" if God is real, and if Jesus and the Bible are true, but in the same breath they're claiming that they "know" for certain you can't know if God, Jesus or the Bible is true.

A dishonest skeptic will read anything and everything about the Bible and against the Bible but they won't read the Bible itself.

Whenever a dishonest skeptic does read the Bible it’s only to find fault with it. They won't read the Bible like any other piece of literature, from beginning to end, chapter by chapter. No, they read the Bible totally different, hopping around, and jumping from book to book, one verse here, one verse there, taking verses completely out of context, refusing to understand the culture or actual meaning. They pick through and hunt for things in the Bible they totally disagree with just to have ammunition to throw at people who actually read and study the Bible. In reality the dishonest skeptic uses the Bible he hates out of context to attack those who love the Bible. He misuses the Bible to disprove the Bible.

A dishonest skeptic will often just parrot and repeat what he hears from others rather than really studying the issues themselves or doing honest fact finding.

Whenever you challenge a dishonest skeptic about their claims, they retreat back into their "I don't want to talk about this right now" or "the Bible's been translated so many times we can never really know what actually happened" or "what about all the other religions out there" or "what about those who never heard about Jesus or the Bible" or the famous "science and evolution have proven the Bible's wrong."
It’s easier for them to bring up new questions than process your answers.

A dishonest skeptic will ask a question and as you answer will interrupt with another question and then another until they've led you completely off topic. They're more interested in blasting you with questions than actually listening to your answers.

A dishonest skeptic claims to be reasonable, rational, logical and intelligent, and yet when you really challenge their "reasons" for not believing in Jesus or the Bible you find their excuses are almost always "emotional." Either some Christian or church let them down, or they're upset with certain things in their life and consciously or subconsciously blame God.
For the dishonest skeptic the words "skeptical", "reasonable" and "rational" are really a cloak to hide their EMOTIONAL insecurities with the Bible and what it stands for.

A dishonest skeptic accuses you of having "faith" while they claim to have "reason." Yet they fail to acknowledge that most, if not all of what they believe about the history of the world is based solely on "faith" in the writings of historians and scientists. As a matter of fact, everything that a skeptic believes that they did not personally experience or personally test by the scientific method they believe by faith. They "trust" what historians and scientists claim, and they put "faith" in their writings because they want to "trust" them.
A dishonest skeptic does not "trust" the historical claims of the Bible because they do not "want" to trust them. It is a matter of the "will." They "will" not believe, not they "cannot" believe.
Ultimately a dishonest skeptic doesn't believe the Bible is true because they don’t want it to be true. They will side-step the vast amounts of evidence for the Bible and stand firmly on their emotional dislike of the Bible.

A dishonest skeptic refuses to admit that his problem with the Bible is that the Bible has a problem with his behavior. His unbelief is often not due to "science" but rather "sin." The Bible clearly challenges their behavior, and the dishonest skeptic doesn't want anyone telling them what to do or not to do. The dishonest skeptic wants only his so called "skepticism" to be the ultimate authority in his life.
They reject the Bible out of "fear", not FACTS.

A dishonest skeptic never really wants to be "taught" the Bible. They autonomously want to determine what the Bible says and means. They want to tell the Bible what it means, not listen to what it means. Any attempt to correct or clarify their misunderstanding about the Bible is quickly rejected with the thought or words, "Don't preach at me." Trying to educate a dishonest skeptic on what the Bible actually means in context according to the author's original intent is like trying to get a stubborn 3 year old to eat their peas. Even if you feed it to them they'll spit it right out despite you.
They'd rather starve to death than eat those disgusting peas.

A dishonest skeptic would rather die in his disbelief, priding himself in his skepticism than to be humbled and challenged to change his perspective.

And even when a dishonest skeptic miraculously changes their view on something they refuse to acknowledge those who challenged them or helped them change their view, but instead claim they figured it out all on their own as a result of their own intellectual "skepticism."

A dishonest skeptic can't find God and truth for the same reason a criminal can't find a policeman. It’s a matter of convenience, not availability. They're not really looking.

A dishonest skeptic wants to determine their own truth, not discover real truth.

A dishonest skeptic will believe just about anything as long as it’s not Christianity.

A dishonest skeptic will use totally bogus examples to not believe Christianity, like Crusades and people who blow-up abortion clinics, or money hungry TV evangelists, or catholic ministers who molest kids, or even hypocritical Christians. All of these examples are totally against the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Bible and are therefore UN-Christian. You cannot use unchristian behavior as an example of Christianity. You cannot hold TRUE Christianity responsible for the terrible acts of its hypocrites and heretics.

And a dishonest skeptic will seldom or never go directly to the teachings of Jesus Christ to learn about what true Christianity is. They'd rather spend their time arguing and fighting against the wrong thing. They set up a "false Christianity" and spend all their time disproving it while they accuse you of believing it.
If you were to ask a dishonest skeptic "What is Christianity?" You would most likely hear about a religion you wouldn't even believe in yourself. Because a dishonest skeptic refuses to do their homework about the very things they're trying disprove.

A dishonest skeptic has their favorite "anti-christian," "anti-bible" websites, blogs, books and speakers that they constantly consult to try to overthrow any challenges they might be presented with from a thoughtful Christian. And the dishonest skeptic is clueless to the fact that even those websites and resources present a false or distorted view of Christianity. It’s easier for a dishonest skeptic to be bitterly against their own opinion about what Christianity is than to give you an opportunity to explain what genuine biblical Christianity really is.

A dishonest skeptic assumes Christians agree on everything and refuses to let individual Christians speak for themselves about why they believe in Jesus or the Bible. A dishonest skeptic doesn't understand that Christians can disagree on non-essentials while agreeing on the essentials. And they can't comprehend that Christianity can have unity and diversity, even in harmony.

Dishonest skeptics look at all the different denominations in Christianity as proof that it’s not true because there are so many differences. They overlook the fact that the Christian faith was Divinely designed to allow flexibility, differences and distinctions among believers to accommodate a variety of cultures and preferences in worship style and ministry methods, but nevertheless, the Christian Church is united on the essentials, The Person and Work of Jesus Christ.

A dishonest skeptic always remembers the "bad things" caused by religion but conveniently forgets all the good things inspired by true religion. For example: Peace, love, forgiveness, good works, mercy and compassion, helping the poor, handicapped, widows and orphans, starting schools, universities, hospitals, rescue missions, freeing slaves, human rights, disaster relief, counseling, strong marriage and family values, just and moral laws and leaders, and on and on.

A dishonest skeptic says they don't believe in "organized religion" but they do want "organized" everything else, like organized government, politics, laws, schools, hospitals, restaurants, work places, sports, etc. Isn't it interesting that the only thing they won't allow to be "organized" is religion, as though "disorganized religion" would be far better. A dishonest skeptic refuses to see that organized thoughts, ideas and beliefs within religion give it substance, clarity and direction as opposed to just believing a bunch of random chaotic ideas about God. Disorganized religion is what the dishonest skeptic really wants so that they can believe whatever they want whether it’s true or not, and so that they can avoid any accountability for their own beliefs or behaviors. Disorganized religion dismantles religion, and that’s what the dishonest skeptic is really pushing for.

A dishonest skeptic assumes all "institutionalized religion" is corrupt to the core as though the word "institutionalized" brings some kind of corrupting curse with it. A dishonest skeptic will allow anything and everything to become "organized" and "institutionalized" except for religion. Religion cannot have that freedom. It can't start institutionalized and organized schools or universities or hospitals or anything. A dishonest skeptic will only allow religion to be an unorganized blob of non-institutionalized people who don't really agree about anything except the existence God and doing nice things.

If you ask a dishonest skeptic, "If Christianity were true, would you become a Christian?" they would most likely say, "NO!"

And finally, a dishonest skeptic is willfully ignorant to the fact that Christianity has already powerfully answered all of the major objections, criticisms and concerns of skeptics for centuries. Multitudes of Christian philosophers, scholars, pastor, teachers and apologists throughout the world and history have been thoughtfully tackling the hard questions about God and the Christian faith. The honest skeptic has no shortage of answers to any objection. Should they follow the evidence where it leads I am fully convinced they will discover the Christian faith provides superior answers to life’s hardest questions and best explains the reality we all share.

Dear Dishonest Skeptic. Come to Jesus.......and bring all your questions!

And a word to the Christian: 

Certainly we have all had our own experience with the "dishonest skeptic," and perhaps we have even been one ourselves. As followers of Jesus we should strive to be as honest and understanding as possible lest the critics call us "dishonest saints."

And dear Christian, don't let anyone convince you the Christian faith is "blind." Jesus said one of the greatest commandments is to love God with all of your mind! If I don't use my mind to love God then I am sinning against one of the greatest commandments of God. God created our minds to be used in knowing and loving Him.

As the hostility against the Christian faith begins to rise in our culture, let us rise to the challenge by not neglecting to use our minds. Let us cultivate the life of the Christian mind that God might be glorified in saints that are actually equipped to handle the challenges of the current critics. Jesus was never afraid of a question. Neither should we be.

Please consider the following verses as strong biblical support for us to be equipping our minds.

“The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.” –Proverbs 15:28

“So Solomon answered all her questions; there was nothing so difficult for Solomon that he could not explain it to her.” -2 Chronicles 9:2

“Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God will all your heart, with all your soul and with ALL YOUR MIND.” –Matthew 22:37

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." -2 Timothy 2:15

“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” -Colossians 4:6

“But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” -2 Timothy 2:23-26

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” -1 Peter 3:15

“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”

Friday, April 12, 2013

Why did God order the killing of the Canaanites?

There are things in the Bible that if left unstudied can cause someone to be suspicious about the character and nature of God. These things can become stumbling blocks to faith or fuel for skepticism and unbelief. It’s important to thoughtfully tackle these things lest they become a seed for confusion. A major concern today (and throughout history) in the hearts and minds of skeptics and believers regarding the Bible is the question, "Why would God command the destruction of all those different people in the Old Testament?" Or, "If God is so good and loving, then how could He have ordered the total slaughter of certain groups of people in history?" These are great questions, and if someone is honestly open to hearing great answers to those questions, I believe this blog can help. There are plenty of better resources available on the web but I’ll add mine.
After engaging skeptics and unbelievers regarding these questions I was convinced I needed to study and share what I learned. The following is a summary of my notes from listening to a discussion between Greg Koukl and Clay Jones concerning this very topic, as well as reading through the Scriptures and reading articles on this issue. If you'd like to listen for yourself or follow up on this topic I would encourage you to visit the links at the bottom of the page. There you will find more details to fill in the gaps. Well, let’s get started.

Why did God order the killing of the Canaanites?

Isn’t it wonderful that God answers this very question Himself! We don’t have to wonder, assume or speculate. Without even having to look outside the Scriptures in order to address this situation, God Himself answers this question directly in the Bible.
Let’s first set the stage.
In the Book of Leviticus chapter 18, God commands His own people, the children or nation of  Israel not to commit certain sins:
1-Adultery 2-Incest 3-Rape 4-Homosexuality 5-Bestiality 6-Etc.
It is because of these behaviors God says He judges nations. And without showing partiality God said He would also judge His own people, Israel if they did these things. Now God judges nations in a variety of ways, however His ultimate or final judgment against sin in this world is through death, both physical and spiritual. Following death each soul will stand before God in judgment and give account. In this blog we will deal primarily with judgment in this life, not the next. And so, you can read for yourself and see in Leviticus 18 that God warns His people not to commit the terrible acts of the pagan nations that He is finally going to judge. Here God is bringing judgment upon behavior, not nationality, race, or even belief systems. God promises to judge any nation that continues to commit these kinds of sinful behaviors, even if that nation is Israel, God's chosen people. God does not show partiality however He is very patient.
In Genesis chapter 18 God tells Abraham that He would not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah if there are 30 righteous people living in it. Through God's conversation with Abraham we learn that God would not even judge (or destroy) Sodom and Gomorrah if 10 righteous people lived there. And through this we see that God in His love and mercy would withhold judgment against a nation because of a few righteous people living there. In the story of Genesis 18 about Sodom and Gomorrah we read that the older men and younger boys did not want to repent of their sin but instead wanted to homosexually rape the 2 visiting angels that came as representatives of God. Homosexual behavior had become such a stronghold in Sodom and Gomorrah that the men of that community were now seeking to rape innocent visitors. God knows sin is a slippery slope.
Now here’s the key, don’t miss this. In Genesis 15:13-16 God tells us that He put His people in Egypt for 400 years until the sins of the Amorites had finally reached their full. Then and only then did God decide to bring judgment against them. We see God here as being 400 years patient and longsuffering with the sins of the pagan people before He finally brings judgment. And so the question might be asked, "Why did God order the killing of the Canaanites 400 years after they had committed these terrible sins?" God is very patient with the sins of all people.

And remember, we read in Leviticus 18 that God warns His own people that if they commit the abominations of the heathens, then the land itself will vomit them out too. This is figurative language for saying that if the land "vomits them out" then even nature is disgusted with their behavior. You know it can’t be good when you make the dirt sick enough to throw up. And in case you forget and think that God was just after those heathens remember that God showed no partiality with His own people, Israel, and promised that they too would be judged and removed from the land if they practiced the same abominable sins as the heathens. It is sin that brings judgment, not race, gender or age.
And so to summarize what we’ve learned so far:
1-God tells us Himself in the Bible why He slaughtered certain nations
2-We see that God is very patient, even 400 years patient, giving individuals and nations time to repent and turn away from sin
3- God brings judgment on sin and evil behavior, not race, gender, age or nationality.
4- God shows no partiality and promises to judge His own people should they commit the same sins and abominations.

This might give you some relief just having a little more understanding, but there are still questions that arise as we think about the literal “slaughter of thousands of people” and can’t help but wonder if that’s a bit extreme.
You might be saying to yourself, "But what was so wrong with those nations, I mean they had their own culture and traditions and ways of worshiping? What's wrong with that? Why is that an abomination when it's just their way of life?"
Well, let’s consider for a moment that a people's beliefs always affect their behavior, and you ultimately become like whatever you worship.
In ancient times the people of Canaan worshiped a god called "Molech." You can read about this on your own, but there is an ancient poem about this god Molech. It talks about a bull-headed god named Molech, who had a sister who was in the form of a cow, and he raped her 77 times, even 88 times, it says. This is very weird and graphic I know, but it makes a point. This is a poem about a “god” that they worshipped and revered! You see, just in this poem we have: 1-a pagan god (Molech) 2- rape (the god rapes) 3- incest (the god rapes his sister) 4- bestiality (the god and sister are half animal) 5- unrepentant continual rape, 77, even 88 times. This poem actually glorifies the abominations that God was strictly against and spoke about in Leviticus 18. Through further studies of the ancient god, Molech we can discover that the worshipers of Molech would actually offer their babies and children up to Molech by laying their kids upon a burning hot altar and watching them burn to death. Archaeology has revealed that they would burn alive kids up to four years old. What seems to be an unimaginable act of violence towards children was a so called "act of worship" for the people of Molech. The Bible refers to this abomination in Leviticus 18:21 as "allowing your sons and daughters to pass through the fires of Molech." And so we see that this was not some innocent pagan religion and custom, but a destructive pagan religion that idolized sin and behaviors that hurt people, destroyed families, and broke down communities. And God, having great love for all people is passionately against those beliefs and behaviors that end up destroying lives. He did not tolerate these sins among the pagan nations, and He did not tolerate them among His own people. We later read in the Bible that He eventually judged Israel when they backslid into these terrible sins and themselves burned their children on the altars of Molech. God loves kids.

Most of the Old Testament prophets are actually preaching against Israel and calling them to repent of their sins. Often we read of Israel backsliding into either dead religiosity or flat out pagan rebellion and idolatry.We read in Jeremiah 5:1 that God tells Jeremiah to walk throughout the streets of Jerusalem to see if he could find even 1 upright man who seeks the truth, a righteous person, and God said that if he (Jeremiah) could find one man that He wouldn't judge Jerusalem. Well, we know the outcome from the Bible and history; God brought destruction on Jerusalem and Israel because they had given themselves over to idolatry, hypocrisy, and the abominations of the pagan nations. But even in this situation God was patient and gave Israel a lot of time to turn and repent and they did not.

For God not to inflict pain against bad behavior would be like God removing our nervous system and allowing us to touch the hot burner on the stove over and over without ever feeling the pain. The pain is there to awaken us to having made a bad decision and to protect us from destroying ourselves. As difficult as it is to understand this, God's judgment against nations is His loving discipline in steering them away from behavior that is destructive, as well as His way of stopping that behavior from spreading to other nations. God loves people, He is patient, He sends warnings, He inflicts pain if the warnings go unheeded, and then He finally puts an end to it lest that sin influence and infect others.

Let's remember that God is not against "Pagan Races," He is against "Pagan Religions and Rebellion." We read throughout the Bible that God has a great love for all nations, that He is the Creator of all mankind, the God of over all nations, the King of kings, and if a pagan nation or pagan person turns from sin and trusts in Him then God honors them and preserves them. We see that played out especially in the story of Jonah. The story of Jonah is not primarily about a man being swallowed by a giant fish, but about a God who longs to show mercy and grace towards pagan nations who repent and put faith in Him. The Book of Jonah is really about the nation of Ninevah not being swallowed up by a Giant God. God was very longsuffering with the evil and sin of Ninevah. They repented at the warnings of Jonah and God withheld His judgment because of it.
We also see various examples of individuals like Rahab and Ruth who were natives of pagan nations and yet chose to put faith in the true God and join the people of God, and God honored them for it.

So, when it comes to God ordering the slaughter of these pagan nations it is directly connected to: 1-their sin had thoroughly affected their entire nation and was destroying lives from within 2-their sin had thoroughly offended God who had given them plenty of time to repent 3- rather than allowing them to grow and spread and contaminate other surrounding nations, God ordered their destruction 4-if they turned away from their sin then God extended mercy and did not judge them.

This is not about "genocide" or "ethnic cleansing," but rather a thorough judgment of God against unrepentant sinful behavior and a protection of the nation of Israel who would ultimately inherit that specific land. When God ordered the killing of any people it was always, without fail, directly connected to their sinful behavior, idolatry, and immorality. It was never connected to their particular race or ethnicity or even non-moral cultural practices or differences. And God never sent judgment against people simply for "not believing in Him" but for the accumulation of what their behavior had become. God is holy, and He judges sin and immorality. God is not a racist and therefore never judges a person based upon skin color or ethnicity. However, I will say, without apology, that if you do not believe in the one true Holy God of the Universe, you will inevitably engage in behavior that is offensive to God and destructive to yourself and others. Only by being in right relationship with the right God are we able to walk in ways that please God, bless others and are in our own best interest.

Yet, even with all that said there are still some loose ends and questions we can’t help but ask.

Why would God order the destruction of animals?

We all love animals. For most of us animals have an innocent and special place in our hearts. But for others, and thankfully the minority today, animals represent a twisted and perverted abuse of sexuality. As much as I'm not interested in talking about bestiality, it is important to the subject at hand. It's hard to believe that there have been cases in the past and present of humans having sexual relations with animals. Those who practice bestiality today are still "in the closet," but nevertheless, they are still there. Obviously this kind of behavior can be physically and emotionally damaging to people but, studies have also been done on the behaviors of animals who have had sex with people, and it is a terrible and scary thing. This kind perverted behavior does affect the behavior of animals involved. It should go without saying that the result of humans and animals having sex is never good. And the studies show that you do not want to be around an animal that is used to having sex with a person. They are aggressive and potentially violent. Why does this even matter? Well, perhaps this is a good reason why God commanded the animals of these grossly sinful nations to be destroyed as well. We know from reading all of Scripture that God loves animals. But just like people, when animals become twisted, perverted and a threat to others, it’s just a matter of time before God feels the need to do something about it. This is what took place in the ancient Old Testament times and land of Canaan. You see bestiality (sex with animals) had become a virtue in pagan cultures. Archaeology confirms this. Remember the poem about the bull-headed god, Molech we read about earlier? The merging of humans and animals physically and sexually is an ancient abomination. And God commanded the destruction of the animals as a judgment on pagan “un-civilizations” and a protection for Israel. You would not want your children, friends or pets to be around animals that had been used for sex or sexual acts of worship to false gods. Because these animals had been manipulated and used for human abominations they were no longer fit for normal use. And while it would have been impossible to interview each individual animal to see which ones had been molested by humans, God at times ordered their entire destruction.
Let’s not forget that God created the animals just like He created humans and plant life. We read in Genesis chapter 1 that God created animals even before He created man. God does care about animals, and we read about that specifically at the end of the Book of Jonah. In the very last verse of Jonah God tells us that it is His heart to extend mercy, not judgment to people and animals. We also read throughout God's Law that His people were not to abuse their animals but care for them responsibly. This is a major contrast from how pagan nations would handle their animals. God not only created animals but gives specific instruction in the Bible that we are to be good stewards of them, not abuse them and especially never have sex with them. It’s strange that God would even have to tell us not to do that, but He does. Perhaps He knows better than us how twisted people can become when they stray from God.

Ok, so I see how God could command destroying animals so that they don’t hurt others, kind of like shooting a rabid dog so that it doesn’t bite some children, but what about God commanding the destruction of children and women? Now that just doesn’t seem right. Let’s try to tackle that one.

Why would God order the destruction of women and children?

Let's begin with the women. First of all, God is no sexist. He shows no partiality and so the women of pagan nations were just as guilty as the men for the sins and abominations they practiced. We’ve already stated that God takes sin seriously. Just because someone is a women does not mean they automatically become less guilty or even innocent of sin. God holds both men and women responsible for their behavior. These women had participated in the abominations and sinful acts of pagan worship within these nations. They were not victims, but criminals as far as God was concerned, just like the men. God held the women responsible for their sin. These nations had become so sexualized that these women were lead participant in burning their children on the altars of Molech. Sexual sin among these women had become commonplace. And the result of sexual sin is unwanted children. And the place for unwanted children was the fiery burning altars of Molech. These women were guilty of burning their children on the altars of Molech as acts of worship along with other sinful behaviors. God was not going to take it easy on these women nor did He want them to live and have them influence His people, Israel in their evil practices.

In God's Law He warns His people, Israel not to take pagan wives from these communities because they will eventually lead their hearts astray. It’s a sad testimony when we actually read that this happened in the life of King Solomon. In 1 Kings 11:1-14 we read that Solomon had taken to himself many pagan wives of the Moabites,  Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites, and these women were his downfall. And because he was king, it was a downfall for the entire nation. These women led Solomon away from being loyal to God and he began to worship the false gods of the pagans, the god Ashtoreth and even the god Molech. Solomon was completely responsible for his own sin, and these women were also responsible for their sin. As a result God brought judgment against Solomon and the nation Israel. We see played out in the life of Solomon how a man can go from loving God to becoming addicted to pagan women and eventually worshipping their false gods, even the child burning god Molech. It’s worse than backsliding, and you can only imagine how upset God was about this. But let's not forget that there are examples in the Bible of pagan women, turning away from sin, leaving their pagan religions, putting faith in the true God, and being spared judgment. Rahab and Ruth are just two examples of this.

And so, why would God order the destruction of these pagan women alongside the men? Because the women were just as guilty as the men and deserving of God’s judgment. Should these women be left alive and incorporated into the nation of Israel they would have brought in all their sinful practices and idolatries. Let’s not forget how patient God was with them before He brought judgment, He was 400 years patient with both men and women. However, with all that said, God always left room for repentance and salvation to those who reached out to Him in truth.

So, we see how God can be firm with both men and women of pagan nations who abuse God’s patience and continue to commit terrible sins against God and one another, but what about children. The Bible actually says that God commanded the destruction of men, women, animals and children! Now this is hard to stomach.

Let's consider why God would order the destruction of children.
Having children myself I must say this is the one that on the surface poses the greatest emotional difficulty for me. A person’s love for their children or children in general naturally leads us to hate the thought of any child dying. To think that God could be both good and command the destruction of children seems instinctively contradictory. This is a difficult Bible dilemma. But it is in these very difficult Bible questions and dilemmas that we should, rather than ignoring them or assuming the worst about God, choose to seek out quality answers that are Biblically supported and consistent with the character and nature of God. There are hard questions that require us to dig a little deeper, control our knee-jerk emotions, and prayerfully and thoughtfully swim into the deep end of God’s revelation and the hard truths about history. Now, we do not want to make up an answer in an attempt to simply "defend" God, but rather investigate the Bible, history and culture to see if an honest study of the issues will shed greater light on the subject. Often times, our emotional distaste for something will paralyze us from moving forward and seeking good answers to hard questions. While I do not think that the answers I have acquired so far will completely eliminate the emotional struggle we all have with considering God's command to kill even the children, I do feel that these answers can bring us closer to understanding the big picture, rather than jumping to assumptions about the specifics. There are other ways of interpreting the information about this difficult subject. Some have considered the language to be hyperbole and not literal and others question the actual inspiration of the particular passages at hand. But I am committed to taking God at His word, especially if He takes the time to explain in His word why He would command such a difficult judgment. And we can also evaluate these “war time” situations practically to see if we can’t understand why God might choose to work a certain way.
So, why would God order the destruction of kids?

Well, let me ask you a question, “At what age would you choose to spare a kid? 18 years old? 12 years old? 10, 5, 3 years old?” At what age do we feel God should say, "Spare kids this age, but destroy kids this age?" That's not an easy question. And we know some kids grow up quicker than others and look more adult, act more adult and fight like adults. And some adults still look like kids. In the heat of a bloody battle at what age do you think you should spare the enemy’s children? These are tough things to think about. We might be inclined to say, "If you have to kill all the men, women and animals then at least spare ALL the kids." But in times of war things can't always be so cut and dry. Think about it, practically speaking, are the soldiers supposed to go around and ask each child their age to see if they're too young to be killed? In war-time, that is not going to happen no matter how much we would want it to. Not to mention that often times the kids were employed in battle and fought like men. The kids were soldiers too. The soldiers of Israel were to go in and fight, not interview kids. Remember, God used these wars to judge nations for their sin, and His judgment was often swift, bloody and thorough. After patiently giving these nations time to repent He then sent in judgment to clear out the people, animals and even burn up the idols leaving little or no hint of their abominable pagan practices to influence others.
Something else we need to remember is that when it comes to judging a nation for its sin, we must remember that even the kids were caught up in a pagan culture that practiced all kinds of abominations from adultery, to rape, to incest, to homosexuality, to bestiality, and the worship of false gods. These kids were officially programmed by their culture even in their adolescence to believe and behave in ways that are totally offensive to God. Remember the story from Genesis, how even the young boys alongside the older men wanted to rape the angelic visitors? Those kids had been immorally indoctrinated by an evil culture and as a result both young and old were guilty before God and deserving judgment. I know from personal experience that I have committed many of my worst sins in my youth and teens. From 13 years old up into my twenties there was nothing "innocent" about my beliefs or behaviors. As a matter of fact, my behavior then was extremely destructive to myself as well as others. As a 15 year old I was already capable of practicing great evil, and if left unrestrained who knows how much harm I would've caused. Youth are not innocent when it comes to being guilty of sin. Youth are often the first to indulge in it and promote it.
God was not only judging these pagans but wanting to protect His people from being infiltrated, influenced and infected with idolatry and immorality.
I've heard from those who have adopted children that even at the age of 4, 5, and 6 years old, an adopted or foster child brings their culture with them into their new family. And so, the pagan kids of the Canaanites, even by the age of 4 and 5 years old may have already been molested or abused sexually, and therefore have been highly sexualized by their pagan culture and communities. As a result they are most likely to repeat the same behaviors to their children, siblings or others in the community. It is often those who have been molested or sexually violated that molest and violate others. This is how a community and culture dissolves over time. Sinful practices are passed down from generation to generation as children just repeat what was done to them. So why not have the Jews adopt those pagan kids rather than destroy them? Well, if some traditional God fearing Jewish family were to bring into their home a pagan child, or children who had been sexualized, molested and exposed to bestiality and idolatry, what kind of influence do you think that child might bring into the community of Israel. Or, what would that child’s “teenage rebellious phase” look like after they find out that their adopted parents killed their national people, their natural parents and even their pets? These pagan kids, if left spared and incorporated into Israel would have resented Israel completely and eventually rebelled. It is natural for kids to want to return to the "roots and traditions" of their natural parents. Its possible that the children would eventually rise up and avenge the death of their parents just perpetuating a cycle of violence. As uncaring as it may sound, the inclusion of kids who have been warped by the worship of pagan gods, sexual abominations and rebellion, into the community of Israel would put the nation of Israel in jeopardy of being infected from within. This would not only damage God's plan for the people of Israel at the time, but could potentially destroy His long term plans for maintaining the prophetic lineage of the Messiah who would ultimately offer forgiveness and redemption to the entire world, every nation, and every tribe and tongue. God always has His big picture plan in mind in every decision He makes. This is speculation, but perhaps from God's perspective, killing every man, woman, child and animal was God's means of thoroughly eradicating a grotesquely sinful culture, while at the same time protecting other men, women, children and animals. Perhaps God was keeping the children and animals of Israel from eventually being molested by ordering the destruction of the pagan kids along with the pagan adults and animals. Here God’s judgment is also His mercy.

Now, I know what you're thinking, "Wait, it’s not God's heart to kill kids who have been abused, but rather to adopt them and assist them in overcoming their abuse through love and truth, through Christ!" This is absolutely true. God does have a special heart for orphans. And perhaps this is why in every single case God did not order the complete annihilation of all the people conquered, but in certain cases made provisions for them to be cared for or even taken as servants rather than killed. God is omniscient (all knowing) and perfectly understood each situation, nation and every individual involved and therefore His judgment was not exactly the same every time. We can read about God's loving heart for pagan children in the Book of Jonah when the final verse of the book says that God is looking to extend His pity, not His wrath, toward more than 120,000 kids who don't know their right hand from their left, and even spare the animals. I hope you catch this. You see God desired to save the pagan children of Nineveh through the preaching of Jonah, but He did not change His conditions, standards, or requirements for their salvation. The people of Nineveh needed to repent and turn from their evil in order to be spared, which they did. However, had they refused to repent, God would have destroyed all adults, children and animals. 

In regard to the killing of pagan children it is important to remember that this blog is addressing the issue of God commanding the Israelites to kill the men, women, children and animals of the unrepentant pagan nations that inhabited the land of Canaan at that time. What God commanded Israel to do to the Canaanites thousands of years ago is not what God has commanded Christians today to do. God had a purpose for Israel and establishing them in the land of Canaan. The development and establishment of the nation of Israel played a vital part in bringing Jesus into the world at the appointed time. Now that Christ has come God has commanded His followers to go out into the world to reflect God’s heart towards all people, to bring the message of salvation to them and not judgment upon them. Christianity therefore brings the message of Christ not a military conquest.

Another important detail to remember is that God’s command for Israel to bring destruction to the Hittites, Ammonites, and Canaanites was a localized mission and not a global mission. The pagan communities that lived within the region of Canaan that God was giving to Israel were to be wiped out because of their sin, but Israel was not commanded to go to war against pagan nations outside of those boundaries and out into other parts of the world. This was not a “holy-war” being declared upon the whole world, but rather a localized judgment against unrepentant nations who were occupying land that God had promised to the descendants of Abraham for a specific purpose. God was strategically placing the nation of Israel centrally in the world and specifically at the junction of intersecting trade routes in order for Israel to be a light and witness to all nations that the God of Israel is the One true God and Creator of heaven and earth. Through their witness and character the world would be able to see what God was like in contrast to the multitudes of pagan gods and idols.

As we conclude, let us remember that God Himself is the Author, Creator, and Sustainer of life and therefore He has every right to bring life into this world, or remove life from it. This grinds upon us because we internally feel as though we have some "right" to live, even after having sinned against God as many times as we have. The Bible says in Romans 6:23 that the wages of sin is death, and so for us to live another day or continue to live years is not our entitlement, but God's mercy.
The great Flood recorded in the Book of Genesis came upon the earth because the wickedness of mankind had become so great that God destroyed every single person on the planet except for 8 people; Noah, his wife, his 3 sons and their wives. And even then God cared about the animals enough to preserve at least 2 of each kind. God brought judgment and salvation simultaneously; judgment upon sin men and salvation to a man of faith and his family.
In Genesis chapter 3 through the sin of Adam and Eve, God sentences the entire human race to death, young and old. We are born into a world of death. This is our reality.
In Luke chapter 13 Jesus was confronted about the way some people had died and He responds to the problem of sin and death. He basically said, everyone is going to die, and He didn't argue that some were worse sinners than others, but that all will die regardless. You see, we think everyone has the "right" to live out a long life and die in their sleep at the age of 80 years old. But in Genesis 3 God sends a curse upon the world, upon people, animals and the land, and so now we have cancer, bacteria and diseases, volcanoes, violence, etc. Adam was the head of the human race when he sinned, and all of us, being yet unborn within the DNA of Adam, sinned with him and receive the same consequence as though it was us who had sinned in the Garden. And if it offends you that Adam was your spokesman before God through his act of disobedience, and you don't like being declared a sinner because of something you didn't do, then you should also be offended at the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You see, the Bible declares in Romans 5 that through the righteous act of one Man, Jesus Christ, God can now declare those who identify with Him as saved, forgiven and righteous in His sight. We were declared sinners through no act of our own, and we are declared righteous through no act of our own, but by faith in Jesus Christ. This is offensive to those who do not believe and a wonderful truth and hope to those who do believe. We were born in sin through our identification with Adam and therefore we choose to sin personally. And we are reborn through our identification with Jesus and therefore we choose to walk in righteousness personally.
It could be that we do not understand nor hate sin enough to see how God's order to destroy the Canaanites, or even us for our own sin, is completely and totally consistent with the character of a holy, loving and good God.

For the person who is not a follower of Jesus Christ, who is not saved, and does not have eternal life I say this to you, "It is easy to understand why you insist on preserving your life here in this world, because you have a fear of death. This life in this world is all you have and apart from receiving Jesus Christ and being born again you have no hope for the next world or the next life. Right now this is the only heaven you know and the clock is ticking before God's judgment is going to come upon your sin, and the destruction is eternal. Please sincerely turn from your sin and trust in Jesus and God will spare you. Even though you will eventually die in this world, should the Lord delay His second coming, you will still live for eternity."
But for the believer, the Christian, the follower of Christ, we should realize that most of our problems stem from not understanding 2 things: 1-the sinfulness of humanity and ourselves 2- the glories that await the children of God. We commit a double sin when we deny our own sinfulness and forget God's goodness. God is preparing us to rule and reign with Him for eternity. This world is not our final destination or our only hope. And God in His wisdom uses a world of suffering to prepare His kids to reign forever in eternity.

Let’s close with a quick summary of the territory we’ve covered in trying to answer the question, “Why did God order the killing of the Canaanites?”
1-God answers this question Himself in the Scriptures. Genesis 15:13-16 & Leviticus 18
2-God brings judgment against sin, not race, gender, age or nationality
3-God shows no partiality and promises the same judgment against His own people Israel should they commit the same sins
4-God never brought judgment without offering the opportunity for repentance and salvation
5-God is extremely patient and even waited 400 years before bringing His judgment against the Canaanites.
6-God brings His judgment against the entire nation, men, women, children and animals in order to eradicate the sinful behavior and protect others from being infected with gross idolatry.
7-God’s word gives us examples of individuals and nations repenting and turning from sin at the warnings of God and as a result God withholds His judgment and instead extend mercy.
8-God has demonstrated His love for all people by providing a Savior for the entire world in Jesus Christ.
9-God is the Author of life and can give and take life at His will without having to explain Himself.
10-God is serious about sin and we should be too.

For a more scholarly and detailed discussion/articles about these topics go to: