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Is the Slaughter of the Innocent the Slaughter of God?

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Would God have allowed my son to be slaughtered in Bethlehem?

Would God have allowed my son to be slaughtered in Bethlehem?

 

In the midst of their journey to meet the child of God, the wise folks stopped by to see King Herod. Pretending to be excited about the birth, Herod asks the wise folks to come back by and tell him where the child is so that he might exalt the child. Herod was afraid that the child would rise up and challenge his rule. After meeting Jesus, the wise folks were warned to not go back to Herod. When he realized that he had been tricked, Herod decided to slaughter every child under the age of two in Bethlehem. In the midst of coming danger, God warns Mary and Joseph to take Jesus and flee to Egypt. Upon arrival, the family was safe. Back in Bethlehem, blood ran down the streets.

 

This story raises key questions about who we believe God to be. Was Jesus worth the cost of all the dead children? Maybe we should ask the parents of all the children whose kids were murdered. Why didn’t God stop the slaughter? God warned Joseph and Mary to flee to Egypt. Why didn’t God warn everyone else? These children were innocent and God allowed them to be slaughtered. Is this a God worth believing in? Maybe the slaughter of the innocent is the slaughter of our ideas about God. God does not seem to be capable of stopping the slaughter. Either God was incapable or God is the cruelest being to ever exist. I choose to believe that God was and is incapable. I choose to believe that God didn’t know what was going to happen. I am comfortable with a God that doesn’t know. I am not comfortable with a God who knew and did nothing. The problem with thinking that God was incapable is that God seems to know enough to warn everyone that God wants to warn. Maybe there were other warnings too. Maybe others simply chose not to leave. When Herod gave the command, there were plenty of children to kill. It seems that Mary, Joseph and Jesus are the only ones to leave. In the midst of an age of terror, maybe God was the original terrorist. Would God allow our children to be slaughtered? Many children are. Despite the fact that the Biblical evidence seems to point to a dastardlier conclusion, I choose to believe that God is always doing the best God can. Perhaps, I choose wrongly.

 

Amen.

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