3. What is the proper way to approach a Biblical question?
a. Should we begin by speculation or reasoning? Should we allow our own ideas of what is right or wrong to determine whether or not we accept what the Bible says?
b. We should search the Scriptures and allow them to be the factor which determines what we believe.
c. The Bible suggests that we should search ALL the Scriptures, and not just take the four gospels only, when we are seeking to determine what is truth.
d. Philosophical or ideological questions must not be answered independently of, or in opposition to Scripture. This is an approach which is fundamentally wrong. Scripture must bear its testimony, exert its authority in the formulation of all our conclusions. This has been the approach of all the people of God in all ages, the only exception being during the time before the Scriptures were written when the prophetic voice and the personal voice of God were the guides which were followed.
4. What approach is taken in establishing the doctrine that God does not kill?
a. The nature of the issue is such that one cannot appeal to Scripture in order to settle the matter. In fact, before the doctrine can be accepted, confidence in the dependability of the Scriptures must first be overthrown. A serious warning sign!
b. It is significant that the vast majority of persons who have accepted the doctrine did not discover it initially in reading the Bible or the spirit of prophecy writings. Their first introduction to it was in a book or a study written by some author other than an inspired person. Yet, if this is a biblical truth, then surely many persons should have come upon it simply by reading the Bible with an open mind. This does not happen and the simple reason for this is that the Bible clearly contradicts this doctrine instead of teaching it. In order to accept it, faith in the dependability of the Bible must first be eroded.
5. What are the reasons against believing in the doctrine?
a. It destroys the validity of the Scriptures.
b. To say that God does not kill requires the manipulation of hundreds of texts which say that He does.
c. It calls into question the inspiration of men like Moses, Samuel, David etc. who plainly declared that God told them to kill.
d. This doctrine causes us to stand as judges of Scripture. We decide what it means, based on our biases - our preconceptions. No longer do we read and accept the words of the Bible. No longer does this book serve as our definer of truth. We now have a greater rule: Our opinion!
e. It distorts God's character:
f . It presents God in a light which is false.
g . It gives a false picture of love.
h. It presents the contradiction of a God, too loving to kill, but who instead leaves persons to be tortured at will by the cruelest being in existence.
i. It questions the integrity of a God who does not personally kill, but instructs His servants to do so.
j. It perverts the requirements of justice. It declares as illegal and unrighteous every act of just execution which has ever taken place from the universe began until now.
k. It removes God's sovereignty. It suggests that God is helpless to act when beings pervert themselves and rebel against Him. All He can do is leave them to Satan and hope that Satan will put them out of their misery quickly.
6. What dangers are there in believing in the doctrine?
a. There is the danger of taking the position of attributing God's work to the devil. (P.P. 404-5)
b, There is the danger of losing respect for Scripture and thus losing the blessing which is there for us.
c. There is the danger of misunderstanding the plan of salvation and the issues involved in the controversy, thus failing to grasp lessons vital for our recovery from the power and influence of sin.
7. Are there irreconcilable contradictions with the doctrine?
a. Yes, insomuch that in order to establish the doctrine, some say that Satan gave some of the Old Testament commands disguised as God, others say that God gave the prophets certain powers but they used it to do Satanic works in the name of God, while others say that there is a consistent fault in the Scriptures which are caused by the failure of the Bible writers to understand the character of God.
8. What are the basic reasons for believing in the doctrine?
a. A false conception of love.
b. A distorted understanding of the issues in the controversy.
c. Inadequate knowledge of Scripture
d. Inadequate respect for Scripture
e. Inadequate knowledge of the SOP
f. Unhealthy dependence upon the opinions of men.
9. What are some of the conclusions reached after believing in this doctrine?
a. Michael Clute concluded that Satan met Moses halfway up on mount Sinai and gave him all the laws concerning killing of animals, and killing lawbreakers etc. He concluded that God Himself could not have given these laws.
b. Fred Wright concluded that God did cooperate with the Israelites in carrying out their desires to kill, but it was never God's desire or wish that they should do so. This does not agree with Scripture where God many times instructed people to kill who had no intention of doing so. It also presents God as a Being who sometimes submits to a moral evil to which He is opposed.
c. Dr. Lorraine Day and others concluded after believing this doctrine for some time, that all the wicked will eventually be saved.
d. Others have been forced to conclude that the Bible has a consistent fault in it which runs all the way through the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation, with the exception of the teachings of Jesus.
OTHER QUESTIONS TO BE CONSIDERED
A. Is it inconsistent with love to cause hurt, or to remove life from a loved one?
1. We should not assume that life is always the best option and the one to be always chosen by love? Is life the best option for a man consigned to an eternity of suffering and torture? A doctor may remove a lung which is diseased with cancer. The doctor removes the lung, but who is the destroyer? Is it not the cancer?
2. Is it cruelty or mercy to remove life from a suffering person who has passed beyond hope?
3. Does love mean impotence? Can true love not act in a “negative way” towards its object? (eg. when the “angel” crippled Jacob's leg). Is it not love's responsibility to safeguard others from the evil influences of another, even when that other is also loved?
4. If there is hope of rehabilitating a person, then it is evil to destroy that person, but when there is no more hope, then the best thing to do is to remove that life, to end its misery and its influence to destroy others.
B. Who decrees that the sinner shall die? Is it God, or is it unrestrained nature?
1. At the end of the millennium God brings the wicked back to life specifically for the purpose of them being destroyed. Since it is not nature which resurrects them, but God, then it is evident that it is God who decrees that they shall die.
C. Does God act to promote righteousness and to restrain the spread of sin, or is he just a silent, patient observer waiting for sin to run its course?
1. God is Sovereign. He is the Ruler of the universe. He is responsible for the safety and well-being of every creature in it. It is His duty to deal with sin. To act to bring it to an end and in the interim to act in a way that will restrain its spread and its ability to destroy the unwary.
D. Who is responsible for executing justice?
1. Where there is a system of penalties (rather than simply consequences) there must be someone who administers the penalties. God as the one who is Sovereign, the Author of the broken law, the governor of the universe is the only one responsible and qualified to carry out such an action
2. A judge whose son comes up before him, condemned for murder, must give a just sentence. He cannot forgive the son just because he is a loved relative. He must treat him as all murderers are treated or his fairness and justice will be called into question and there will be a public outcry. With tears in his eyes and pain in his heart he must sentence his beloved son to die. This is his responsibility.
E. Is it consistent to declare a sentence as being righteous and just and yet to be too righteous to execute it?
1. In Rom. 1:32 It is stated that God's judgment is that “those who practice these things are worthy of death.” (see also Rom. 2:2). If this is God's judgment it must be fair, reasonable and just. If it is all those things, and God declares it to be so, then how can it be that He is too good to carry out a sentence which is fair, reasonable and just?
F. Who introduced the method of physical conflict to the Israelites, was it them, or was it God?
1. In Exodus 21:14-17 God over and over instructed the Israelites of certain crimes for which the transgressor should be executed. This was God's decision, God's sentence. It was not something the Israelites asked for.
2. In 1 Sam. 15:1-3 God instructed Saul to attack and destroy Amalek. This was something which was not in Saul's plan. It was entirely God's plan and God decision.
3. In Num. 15:32-36 a man was found gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. God told them to stone the man, after they inquired of Him. This was God's instruction, not theirs.
4. Why did God over and over instruct the Israelites to kill, if He was opposed to the act?
G. Does morality have to do with actions, or with motives?
1. Motives - not results - make an action good or bad. eg. When Uzzah touched the ark, the action prevented the ark from falling, (so it seemed) but his motives were wrong and he died for the act.
2.Morality has to do with intent (motives) not with actions. (eg. When a man shoots his well-loved dog who contracts rabies, he feels love, pain, pity. His action seems negative, destructive, but the circumstances and his motives make the action right). If he is not certain of the disease he has no right to shoot. If there is a possible cure he is wrong to shoot. But if he is certain the dog has the disease and there is no cure, then killing the animal is a mercy.
3. There can be no guilt where there is ignorance, likewise genuine guilt or innocence must consider motives. (As Jesus highlighted in the beatitudes.)
H. Were the prophets merely reporters or were they also commentators?
1. If they were commentators, interpreters and illuminators, were not these interpretations and illuminations based upon a superior relationship with, and understanding of God and His ways? How could they have so misunderstood God as to say the exact opposite of what God wanted them to say?
I. Can we honestly say that Ellen White and the prophets of the New Testament believed that God does not kill?
1. It is clear that the New Testament writers and Ellen White believed that God has killed in the past and will do so again when justice requires it and that this is not contrary to the character of love or of God. It is therefore unreasonable to quote Ellen White or the Bible writers in support of the doctrine because they could not have taught it if they did not believe it. It is clear that any statement which seems to support such a doctrine as “God Does Not Kill,” is being misunderstood and must be reexamined.
J. Is it reasonable to look only at the way Jesus lived and ignore what He taught?
1. Jesus was not a hypocrite. He did not operate on a double standard. He did not intend to deceive or to mislead us. His teachings are as authoritative as the life He lived, in fact, they were simply an extension of the life which He lived. Several times in His teaching He declared that He, or His Father would one day destroy the wicked.
K. Is it fair to conclude that the New Testament writers were guilty of misrepresenting God and Jesus?
1. These men received the greatest light of any human beings up to the present time. They lived and walked with the Son of God and were taught by Him for three and a half years. how unreasonable to suggest that they left such a school to go out and teach false ideas about God! How unreasonable to think that Jesus did not enlighten them on such an important truth as the true nature of God's character!
L. Does the Bible contain the truth of God, or is it man's ideas about the truth?
1. This is a critical question. Can I, in reading the Bible say, “here God is speaking to me. This is His word.” Can I have such dependence on it, or must I say, “well, this has some truth in it, but after all, it only represents what some very good men thought about God. There are flaws in what it teaches.”