Can God Murder?


~ by Mark Woodson [Download PDF]

Many have had legitimate questions about why it was not counted as murder when Israel killed those God commanded them to kill…especially because it often included people we see as innocent such as women and children.

In a video series by Focus on the Family called, The Truth Project, Del Tackett accurately deals with this subject in that he clearly defines murder as “taking” a life. It is in fact a form of stealing – taking something which does not belong to you.

Ultimately, because God is the One Who told Israel to “kill them all” – the question before us is – can God kill or murder?

Understanding that in effect, murder is stealing, in that it is to take from someone else, the life which God gave them as though it were your right to do so… is it still murder if the Giver and Owner of that life authorizes you and in fact charges you with the responsibility to kill? I think the obvious answer is No!

This being true, it introduces yet another question – when God breathes life into a persons’ body – is He giving them life or giving them stewardship over His breath which animates them?

Clearly, the later MUST be the truth, because the breath of God… is God’s. His animating, life-producing breath belongs to Him, it’s ownership cannot be transferred…does not belong to us!

Nothing in this creation belongs to us in terms of ultimate ownership. The scriptures reveal that, The earth is the Lords and the fullness thereof, the earth and those who dwell therein.” So we have not been given our lives, we have been offered a stewardship over what belongs to God.

This gives clarity to the statement God made in Romans 12:19 (Deut. 32:35),

“Friends, do not avenge yourselves; instead, leave room for His wrath. For it is written: Vengeance belongs to Me; I will repay, says the Lord.”

One might say, “But the sin was done to ME, so vengeance belongs to the one who was sinned against!

No, it was God that was sinned against. The scriptures make it clear that vengeance does NOT belong to the one who suffers wrongfully, but to the One Who Owns all things.

David, after killing Uriah and taking Bathsheba by force to be his wife said in his repentance, “Against you and you only have I sinned and done this wickedness in your sight.”Ps. 51:4.

God accepted David’s statement of repentance and did not correct him. Did David wrong Uriah and Bathsheba – ABSOLUTELY! But sin is to violate God’s law and act contrary to His nature, so in all reality, ALL SIN, regardless of who it effects is against God NOT man, though without question we all suffer collateral damage!

Consider the parable of the talents. The talents were always the possession of the King – the servants were only given a stewardship over them. This is why there is a judgment. The wicked servant saw the king as one who reaped where he had not bothered to sow – as if the talents which this servant buried did not in reality belong to the king. The end of this parable reveals that not only the talents belonged to the King – but so did the servant himself. The servant was cast out BECAUSE he had failed in his duties as a steward over the talents entrusted to him by the king.

So it is with every life. In the case of animals, God gave us the delegated authority to “kill and eat” following the flood. He has never given carte blanche authority to any human to take another human life. Any time God delegates that type of authority He does so within the framework of rules, laws and restrictions which are in keeping with His character and justice and which are clearly defined within the scriptures.

As to God commanding Israel to take the lives of everyone including women and children, it is difficult for us to understand how this is considered “ok”. However, that is because we are limited by a very worldly mindset. The life of a woman or child is not intrinsically more valuable and therefore worthy of protection than that of a full grown man.  Life…ALL life is of equal value, so to place one life as more deserving of protection than another is discriminatory and prejudice. Since all human life comes from God and bears His image and likeness – all human life holds the exact same value.

It is a curious thing indeed that in modern society, those who yell the loudest and tout themselves as the strongest advocates in the protection of women and children are the very ones who applaud the murder of the unborn. In reality they are not motivated by some sense of higher immorality but a base human desire to cater to selfishness and personal convenience.

God can take nothing from us that belongs to us – no ownership has been afforded anyone of us – only stewardship.

Elihu said,

“Now then, you wise, take note; you men of knowledge, give ear to me. Let it be far from God to do evil, and from the Ruler of all to do wrong. For He gives to every man the reward of his work, and sees that he gets the fruit of his ways. Truly, God does not do evil, and the Ruler of all is not a false judge. Who put the earth into His care, or made Him responsible for the world? If He made His spirit come back to Him, taking His breath into Himself again, ALL FLESH would come to an end together, and man would go back to the dust. If you are wise, take note of this; give ear to the voice of my words.” Job 34:10-16

Whose spirit?…Whose breath? God’s…not mans!

So the answer to our question, “Can God Murder?” is…God cannot take a life, because it already belongs to Him, and what He does with it is His choice. If man steps in and subverts justice by taking a life, he will be held accountable to the Owner of that life, namely God Himself!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!