Why Does God Punish The ‘Children’s Children’?
We’ve been following a chronological bible study plan together since the new year, and we’re really struggling to get through portions of the Old Testament, namely places where God’s wrath is in the foreground. After reading about the Rebellion of Korah, we were hit with a very troubling question about God’s ‘rightness’ to not only punish those who rebelled, but their children as well… We know that God is sovereign and His ways are higher than ours, and that’s so far been the only real answer to our struggles. Do you have further biblical understanding of why God would kill or order the death of children, infants, or otherwise ‘innocent’ people on account of the sins of their parents?
Excerpt From The Answer
First, we acknowledge that the Scripture is the very word of God. God has spoken. He is clear. Second, we acknowledge that God’s wrath is real. Many have observed that God’s love and wrath are two sides of the same coin and that is a simple but helpful illustration. For God to be loving, He must exercise wrath. Third, we acknowledge that all men everywhere from all time deserve hell and only hell. God is more than within His rights as the Holy Sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all life, of all that we see and hear, to send us to hell because of our sin. Yet He is the God who loves. God so loved the world that He sent His only Son… His love motivated His Son, who will endure His wrath, to not only satisfy the penalty of our sins but provide a way for us to be saved, to know His love. God poured out His wrath on His perfectly loving Son in order to love us, to offer a way, to solve our sin condition.
When God chooses to bring about judgment now, swift, and comprehensive, it can seem harsh, unfair, cruel, even unjust. But He is holy and righteous and just. In Numbers 16 we have an open rebellion against God’s chosen servant, Moses. Rebellion against God’s servant is rebellion against God. God judgment was comprehensive – horrible as it seems – that in the OT tribes of Israel, the entire family was considered one. In Exodus 20; 34 and Joshua 7 we see the same principle that the family would suffer a collective guilt and accountability for sin and rebellion. At one level we can conclude they were culpable and perhaps collaborated in the rebellion.
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