Hello, First I must say that your blog is really interesting and gives really interesting thesises. But I once surfed through youtube to listen to a Jesus Culture song and I saw a comment from a seeking attention atheist who, as always, was bashing at Christians and stating that God doesn’t exist as always. But his argument really intrigued me because I could’nt think of any answer or perhaps I was missing something. So his statement was this: “WOW, so you agree with the BIble that babies should be ‘dashed against rocks’ if God says so…. THIS is why you people are DANGEROUS and must be exposed — YOU MANIAC.” He took the verse from Psalms 137:9.
What are your thoughts? Is it a part of God’s character to bring justice even by killing, like other verses of the Old Testament?
This particular objection is often used to show that the God of the Bible is cruel or unjust. However, to properly approach the subject, we must ask a few preliminary questions. First, is it right for God to judge the wicked at the end of the world? The answer to this question, from the basis of Christian Theism is, of course, yes. God has revealed to us that at the end of time he will judge all humanity for their sin and only those who have been united to the Lord Jesus through faith and repentance will be graciously saved. Secondly, we must ask: Is it right for God to judge the wicked now? Again, I think you’ll agree that yes, it is God’s right as the supreme ruler of the universe to exact judgment upon his subjects. In fact, if God were to allow the wicked to continue in their sin without consequence we would be asked by the same atheists to defend the injustice of our God.
The problem arises when the atheist, seeking to reject the Christian worldview, must rely upon it to make his objections. You see, the atheist knows that there are moral standards which ought not to be broken. For instance, the murder of innocent life. But, the atheist also rejects the Christian God and his moral standards. So, by raising the objection that God is acting immorally he affirms the moral standards which God has placed over man.
In the specific case of Psalm 137:9 it is important to know the context in which this statement is made. The Psalmist, who is living in exile in the land of Babylon, is yearning for his home, the land of Israel. He writes of his sadness of being in exile and his fear of forgetting his homeland while in exile. He then prophesies concerning the nation which had brought Israel, God’s people, into captivity. Indeed, the Psalmist is repeating what the prophet Isaiah had already said of Babylon. In Isaiah 13:9-18 we see a prophesy against Babylon which says:
Behold, the day of the LORD comes,
cruel, with wrath and fierce anger,
to make the land a desolation
and to destroy its sinners from it.
For the stars of the heavens and their constellations
will not give their light;
the sun will be dark at its rising,
and the moon will not shed its light.
I will punish the world for its evil,
and the wicked for their iniquity;
I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant,
and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless.
I will make people more rare than fine gold,
and mankind than the gold of Ophir.
Therefore I will make the heavens tremble,
and the earth will be shaken out of its place,
at the wrath of the LORD of hosts
in the day of his fierce anger.
And like a hunted gazelle,
or like sheep with none to gather them,
each will turn to his own people,
and each will flee to his own land.
Whoever is found will be thrust through,
and whoever is caught will fall by the sword.
Their infants will be dashed in pieces
before their eyes;
their houses will be plundered
and their wives ravished.
Behold, I am stirring up the Medes against them,
who have no regard for silver
and do not delight in gold.
Their bows will slaughter the young men;
they will have no mercy on the fruit of the womb;
their eyes will not pity children.
And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms,
the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans,
will be like Sodom and Gomorrah
when God overthrew them.
(Isaiah 13:9-19 ESV)
The Psalmist quotes from this prophesy, bringing it into the minds of the hearers, giving them hope that one day God would judge Babylon for their wickedness and that he would vindicate Israel as his people.
Hard words indeed. But these are the words of the Lord, and they stand as a testament to the evil of sin and the righteousness of God. If we are going to claim that the murder of the innocent is unjust we must be consistent and claim also that the judgment of the unrighteous is just.
I hope this helps.