My friend was asking why God lets murders and rapes happen in the Bible. He quoted scriptures like Judges 21:10-24; Numbers 31:7-18; Deuteronomy 20:10-14, 22:28-29, 21:10-14; Judges 5:30; Exodus 21:7-11; and Zechariah 14:1-2. How should I answer him? -- Sachin Joshi (India)

First, I would ask him, what should God do? Does your friend think God should stop all evil as it happens? Should God remove all evil from the universe? If so, you, your friend, and I would all be annihilated instantly! The fact is, God allows humans to use their free will abusively. The only alternative, apparently, is to have created a "humanity" without free will--but would we still be human? Not at all.

The next thing I would point out is that the Bible is a realistic book, frequently describing what happens with or without passing judgment on its morality.

Third, I would remind him that the Lord severely condemns murder and rape. There were a few instances in the O.T. (only) where God approved violence on the part of his people against his enemies, but these were special commissions and not applicable today. For more on this, please hear/read the introductory lesson in Foundations for Faith: Old Testament Survey.

Finally, tell your friend that the Bible speaks of a judgment day, a time when all wrongs will be requited and all rights rewarded. What goes on here in this life is often not fair. But God will take everything into account. God is fair. Reassure your friend that the God you serve is not unjust or capricious. He is just, and nothing will escape his attention at the last day. We can have confidence in his goodness!

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