Q. I was having a conversation recently with a believer who is struggling with his faith. He claims that every time God punished the enemies of the Jews, thousands of innocent people died, even women and children. As examples, he named the people who died in the flood, all the first born in Egypt, David’s baby (from Bathsheba) and the innocents in Caanan who died when God instructed the Israelites to conquer the land. He concluded that God was never ‘good’, just ‘one sided’ towards the Jews. He said those people who died were still created by Him, so why did he watch them be slaughtered?
A. The first problem with your friend’s view is that the people God destroyed were not innocent. They were all sinners who had rebelled against their Creator.
In Noah’s time God gave people 120 years advance notice that a judgment was coming (Genesis 6:3). Then He waited seven days after the ark was finished so that anyone who wanted to could get aboard (Genesis 7:4,10). Although there was plenty of room, no one did.
The Egyptians had rebelled against God and had been worshiping a whole batch of demonic creatures for centuries. Then they made slaves of God’s people and refused to let them go, in spite of clear warnings in the form of various plagues (Exodus 7:14-11:10).
David’s baby went straight to heaven to be with God (2 Sam. 12:23), as have all the children who have died since the beginning of time.
The so-called innocents of Caanan had rebelled like their Egyptian neighbors and were given 400 years to repent before the judgment (Genesis 15:13-16). None did, even after they witnessed the effects of Egypt’s rebellion.
As for being one sided, of all the people on Earth, no people has faced more severe punishment for rejecting God than the Jews have.
At the end of the age, everyone who who has deliberately rejected God will similarly be destroyed, because God has made His presence so clear that no one in his right mind can deny His existence (Romans 1:18-20). Those who reject Him, like all who have done so throughout the ages, will have declared themselves to be His enemies and will be dealt with accordingly (2 Thes. 2:9-10).