Is God a murderer? Does God's killing people make Him a murderer?
Because God judged many people with death in the Bible, some claim that this makes Him a murderer. Does it?
The misunderstanding with this accusation is in how one defines murder. Murder is to unjustly plan to kill someone. In other words, to kill in self-defense or time of war is not generally defined as murder. Murder involves killing someone who is innocent or does not deserve or is not worthy of death.
Defined this way, God is clearly not a murderer. First, He alone is fully qualified to determine who is worthy of death and in what way and at what time. He allows people to die at all different stages of life and in a variety of ways, and only He knows perfectly the best way in which each person's life is to be lived and completed.
In addition, when God judges through direct death, Scripture defines why He chooses to do so. For example, in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, God promised to spare the entire city if only ten righteous people could be found (Genesis 18:32). It appears fewer than ten were found, as God destroyed the city, saving only Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19).
In the New Testament, a powerful example of God's judgment through death is found in Acts 5. A married couple named Ananias and Sapphira had sold a field and brought money from its sale to the apostles. They deceitfully kept part of the money and acted as if they had given all of it. When confronted, both spouses lied; and God judged them with immediate death. This was not considered murder, but rather God's judgment upon them (Acts 5:11).
Further, the Bible is clear that when it comes to sin, no one is innocent. All have sinned and fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). Without His grace, no one would live. God's judgment upon some reveals His holiness and is used to instruct others to live in fear of Him.
God calls all people to faith in Christ, offering eternal life to escape the consequences of death apart from Him. This is given through believing in Jesus (John 3:16), by grace alone through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). God has made a way to escape judgment, sin, and death through Jesus: "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
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