God isn’t in the business of killing, especially children, he’s in the business of restoring and healing. Also, he is a gentleman, not a violator, so he most definitely won’t violate one’s free will. If one’s free will could be violated, there would be no original sin in the garden of Eden – it was a matter of free choice.
With that said, there were times in ancient Israel’s history when certain military operations were carried out, and as with every war there was violence.
Again, in general terms, I would give this example (and selfish, unconcerned politicians ruin my analogy, but just work with me here) – Western countries prize peace over conflict, happiness over pain, human rights and especially freedom over deprivation of such, etc. However, in a situation of a military response to aggression pain and loss of life may be inflicted in the interest of self-preservation. In criminal cases, deprivation of freedom can occur to contain a criminal. It’s not ideal, we don’t want wars or people going to prison, we want to prevent it, but sometimes things like this happen, and as a society we have to react.
Also, notice that there’s a world of difference between these, and purposely inflicting pain for the sake of it, taking away people’s freedom as a power trip, and trampling over human rights for self-assertion. In the Scriptures, I don’t see God ever doing things from that 2nd category.
Also, the only person in the Scriptures who ever claimed to be an exact image of God was Jesus. Jesus healed people, fed people, even provided wine for a wedding when they ran out (that alone would get him excommunicated from some of today’s churches). It must have felt very safe to be around him for regular people, and for people with problems like tax collectors (a combo of an IRS agent and a traitor, in today’s terms), prostitutes, etc. They were drawn to Jesus, and their lives were transformed in his presence, without any violence, or even as much as Jesus moralizing or Scripture-bashing them. However, Jesus didn’t mince words when dressing down the religious people of his day who used control, manipulation, shame, guilt, etc. to rule over common folk. So we can take that as a starting point in trying to understand the character of God, and other things will fall into place a lot easier.
By the way, this question is a good and perfectly reasonable question. I don’t understand why it make some Christians uncomfortable. Maybe some people are too afraid that these questions will bring out their deepest fears and doubts about God? If so, maybe these things need to be brought out into the light and properly addressed.
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