Stephen D. Morrison
Author & Theologian
Thank you for the thoughtful and well-presented commentary. This reminded me of a question I’ve had for some time. There is a doctrine of belief that we humans cannot comprehend the workings of God, and that by definition, any action God takes is good. Hence calls for genocidal actions in the book of Joshua, for example, that appear to a modern reader to be counter to the idea of a good God, is because of our limited human understanding, and we must simply have faith that despite how we modern readers view these texts, that God is indeed always good.
I am curious about the origins of this doctrine, theory or whatever one wishes to call it.
Do you know of something I can read about the origins and perhaps differing views of the idea, or perhaps what is going on in the text?
Hi Bernie, thanks for watching! The question you bring up is an important one. I cannot say where it comes from, but for me, the first person to introduce me to that reading of the Bible was Peter Enns. I think, in general, the historical-critical reading of the Bible offers a helpful perspective of problematic texts such as the ones in Joshua. Historical evidence indicates that the Canaanite genocide probably never took place, and that the text was more interested in the purity of Israel than about describing the details of a historical event. Ancient texts do not think about history in the same way we do today. Thanks again for watching and for your comment!