Does God “Murder” People?


how can we love a god that murdered the whole earth exept for a few people. I can’t believe that everyone else was evil. What about the young children and even the animals, did they deserve to die?

—Dee, England


Dear Dee,

Are you referring to the Biblical passages of the “Flood”? Do you know or believe in reincarnation? Have you considered the concept that we are NOT these bodies, but are souls temporarily having a human (or even animal) experience?

Consider: death is a certainty; only its timing and method is typically unknown to us. Quite apart from stories of the flood (which by the way exist in various forms in many traditions, at least as a flood!), babies die all the time; animals and children, too. There are plagues, wars, catastrophes and on and on. Why not a flood? What about the dinosaurs? Why not blame all of us these on God? Birth, life and death alternate like day and night, the forming of stars and galaxies, and their implosion. Let’s take a long, big look at stories like the “big flood.”

Two salient concepts are taught in other traditions, though not so overtly in the Bible: 1) that the world and the cosmos is alternately created and destroyed, in whole or in part, from time to time. Some scientists believe that after the “Big Bang” the universe has been expanding, but perhaps at a slower and slower rate. Will it reach an outer point and begin to reverse its direction back towards another Big Bang that annihilates everything? Do we not see in geologic time the destruction of continents, species of animals, even species of humans like Neanderthal man? 2) that the world and civilization evolves upward and downward through stages of consciousness, from relative barbarity and ignorance to a high level of morality and consciousness.

So we read this story about the flood and God sees that humankind, in general, has become sinful, out of tune, or materialistic. So He destroys all of them. So, ok, it seems unfair. But lots of things are unfair: plane crashes, terrorist attacks in public places. Whether “God” does this or karma or fate: should this really surprise us? How many times have we, and those children, those animals, those innocent “victims,” been born, lived and died, only to return?

“My ways are not your ways,” sayeth the Lord (Isaiah, 55:). A woman saint in India was once asked about wars and troubled times on earth during one of the “world wars.” Her response was, “Don’t you think God who made this world knows how to deal with it?” Let’s give peace, and God, a chance, here. Why should you, we, anyone presume to know the mind of God; the karma of people and nations, and yes, animals. There is already much in nature that causes mass destruction; man causes mass murders and wars; why can’t God if it suits the needs and dictates of karma and the plan of salvation?

So, try to see a bigger picture; to question, yes, but then pray for understanding because you have faith in the goodness of life; the goodness, justice, and mercy of God. Those old stories in ancient scriptures are perhaps beyond our understanding for they no longer speak a language we can relate to. Who knows, further, what was “lost in translation?”

Ancient cultures suggest some kind of catastrophe, a flood, took place on this planet long ago.Maybe the explanations given us were speculative; maybe they contained a deeper truth that we simply don’t see because we do not even have the true facts before us; maybe there was a silver lining in the swirling waves of that flood?

So be at peace. As Mahatma Gandhi put it, the fact that life persists amidst evil, suffering, death and destruction shows us that there is a deeper and stronger power at work here. Pray for guidance and for faith.

Blessings to you,
Swami Hrimananda