Atheist's Attacks

Answering Humanist's Accusations Against the Bible

Christian Resources

Cruelty In The Bible?

Why would God kill king David's baby?

THE CLAIMED CRUELTY: He [God] killed King David’s baby because of David’s adultery with Bathsheba (II Samuel 12:13-18);

As I have mentioned in previous chapters, the American Humanists are condemning themselves as evil when they claim that kill-ing babies is immoral. They are in favor of killing babies through abortion, and clearly state this on their web site. However, the Bible teaches that our killing babies is murder, wherever they are located—inside or outside of the womb.

Let's look at this accusation in the light of scripture. Of course, we do have to make some assumptions about what the humanists think is wrong. Once again, they have not provided an explanation.

The following is the scripture the humanist author references, 2nd Samuel chapter 12:

Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has taken away your sin; you shall not die. However, because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born to you shall surely die.” So Nathan went to his house. Then the Lord struck the child that Uriah’s widow bore to David, so that he was very sick. - 2 Samuel 12:13-15

Then it happened on the seventh day that the child died. - 2 Samuel 12:18

Free Atheist's Answers Book

There is no question that we are hurt when a child dies, and appalled when a baby is killed. It is tragic. So why did God do this?

There is an explanation given "because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme," but there are variety of opinions as to what this means. The reality is that the focus of the narrative is on David, not his child. We do not have enough information about the child to know specifically why God took the child's life.

However, Ezekiel 18:20 makes it clear that "The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity." The baby was not punished for David's sin. We all only receive punishment for our own disobedience (breaking God's law).

Whom did the death of David’s son punish? The Got Questions web site states:

“A second point of contention is that, when God sent the illness that killed the child, He was unjustly punishing the child. However, from God’s perspective, He was not punishing the child; He was punishing David. The king’s grief was so severe that his servants thought he might die himself: “David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground. The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them. On the seventh day the child died. David’s at-tendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, ‘While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate’” (2 Samuel 12:16–18).

“God’s intention in taking the infant in death was to punish David. After a brief illness, the child was gathered up into the arms of God—as all innocents are. This is not a bad thing.”

Still, the bottom line is, we do not know. Scripture is focused on David, not the baby. God has said the baby died "because by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blas-pheme," but He has not explained what this means.

We Live In A Fallen World

We need to keep in mind that we live in a damaged, broken world in which things are not as they are supposed to be. It is a world that is far from perfect. Sin is horrible, and sometimes in our fallen world, there are no good options in response to sin. At times, we must make a choice between the lesser of two evils, because that is the best we can do. God never has to make that type of choice, but the problem is, from our fallen and limited perspective, even if we had sufficient information, we may not fully understand what God is doing.

Is Physical Death Evil?

There is an assumption built into many of the humanist's claims, including this one... that physical death is always evil. Is this true? No. For example, Paul writes:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know [t]which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better. - Philippians 1:21-23

SSo why doesn't Paul immediately commit suicide and go to be with Christ? Because, that is not our decision to make. God owns us, and God decides when we will leave this earth.

The righteous man perishes, and no man takes it to heart;
And devout men are taken away, while no one understands.
For the righteous man is taken away from evil,
He enters into peace.
- Isaiah 57:1-2

Death is not evil. It brings peace for the righteous. What is evil is our taking life. When a life will end is not our decision to make. That decision belongs to God alone.

Murder is evil, whether it is taking your own life, or taking the life of another... including taking the life of a baby in the womb. God owns us, and only He has the right to determine when someone is to die. The Apologetics Press web site has a good summary:

The Apologetics Press has a good summary:

In summary, it is the case that God treated David in perfect accord with the Law of Moses, showing no partiality. Furthermore, it has been shown that since death is not inherently evil, God was not guilty of immorality by causing the child’s death. God also ushered David’s son into an eternity of bliss. Therefore, the skeptic’s charge against God fails once again to discredit His infinitely flawless character. As Abraham asked the rhetorical question in the long ago, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25). The answer has been the same throughout the millennia—a resounding “Yes.”

Conclusion: God is not cruel nor immoral. God is the creator and source of life. That means He fully and completely owns us. He gives us life and has the right to take life. Even when God does not fully explain why He does something, as in this example, it is obvious there was noth-ing evil or immoral about what He did.

Physical death is not inherently evil. What is immoral is one human taking the life of another human (murder), outside of the context of government fighting evil.

Next example: [God is cruel because] he required the torture and murder of his own son (e.g., Romans 3:24-25)

Click here to learn why Jesus had to die...