Christian apologist Bill Pratt tries to answer a very bad question with an equally bad answer. The question is, looking at God ordering slaughters in the Bible, “Isn’t God breaking his own commandment to not kill?” But Pratt seems to want to answer a different question, which is whether God is justified in killing at all. His answer is hardly a compelling one.
Third, since God possesses divine attributes that we do not possess, it is a gross error to compare God’s taking human life with our taking human life. As the guarantor of life after death, philosopher Paul Copan reminds us that “any harm caused [by God] due to specific purposes in a specific context would be overshadowed by divine benefits in the afterlife.”
This is a crucial point: God promises an afterlife for everyone. Only he can do that, as no human has that power. As the all-wise, all-knowing guarantor of the afterlife, he is uniquely justified in taking human life.
But wait. The usual excuse for the God-demanded slaughtering of the Midianites, Amelikites, and others is that those were very bad people so God was justified in killing them. So God is “promising” them that they’ll burn in hell for eternity, so that somehow becomes a justification for killing them now? Was he just too impatient to wait to send them to the lake of fire?
All of these are post hoc rationalizations, of course. And none of them make any sense. Anyone who claims that God tells them to commit genocide is a barbaric madman. And any God that might exist that would order genocide is also a barbaric madman.