A friend of mine said, "It is unfair of God to have killed the firstborn of Egypt and saved the children of Israel. After all, all children are innocent." I suppose that for those who hold to Original Sin, there is no huge problem here. But I'm really curious how you would reply to someone who says, "It's not right for God to put people to death who are innocent of sin." It looks to me like the horns of a dilemma for you. -- Jason Reichert (Atlanta)
Well, let me ask a question: Who was responsible here?
I would say it was Pharaoh. He could have prevented the whole thing. But he, and the officials who were in collusion with him, grievously failed their nation. Very often one person's sins affect a number of other persons. And very often when we are stubborn and refuse to listen, the Lord can only bring greater and greater pressure to bear on our lives. Had he not done this (the series of plagues, of which the slaying of the firstborn was the last), Israel would never have become a nation.
As for the children, the text does not say that only infants and youngsters were affected. How many firstborn do you think there were in Egypt? Surely an enormous number. Most of us don't believe younger children will be damned, so their dying cannot have been the worst thing that could have happened.
No, I do not think this is a true dilemma. God's justice and love do not rule out his discipline, wrath, and sovereignty. "Behold then the kindness and severity of God" (Romans 11:22a).
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