I am continuing to answer the atheist flyer I received in San Diego. They say 2 Kings 8:12 supports the practice of abortion. I will begin with an overview of 2 Kings 8:7-11 to provide the context for the passage in question.
The prophet Elisha has arrived at Damascus. Ben-hadad king of Aram is sick and is told Elisha has come to see him. He tells Hazael to take Elisha a gift and to ask if he will recover from the sickness. Ben-hadad knows the prophet of God can foretell the future. Elisha says to Hazael to tell the king he will recover but God has shown him he will not. Then the prophet begins to cry. Verse 12 “Hazael said, ‘Why does my lord weep?’ Then he answered, ‘Because I know the evil that you will do to the sons of Israel: their strongholds you will set on fire, and their young men you will kill with the sword, and their little ones you will dash in pieces, and their women with child you will rip up.’” Just as Elisha said, Ben-hadad king of Aram would have recovered from the sickness but Hazael is going prevent it. He will murder him to become king. This is why Elisha brought a message of recovery and death. Following the death of the king of Aram, Hazael will become the new ruler and will do incredibly evil things, as foretold by Elisha.
The atheists’ claim is that since God knew all these things were going to happen He should have acted to prevent them. He knew pregnant women were going to be ripped open to kill both the woman and the child. Their conclusion is God obviously approves of abortion. If God knew about it He could have stopped it. Is that the logical conclusion? Or is there something else going on here? I will provide four reasons to justify God’s actions.
1. God provided humans with a free will. Where does God draw the line on allowing the free will actions of men? How can God cause people to freely choose good? He can’t because it is impossible. Free will encompasses the free choice to either do good or evil. It was God’s choice to allow humans to have free will. These free will actions of men are responsible for the vast majority of evil and suffering in the world. Hazael is 100% responsible for killing men, women, children, and unborn human persons. God cannot be held responsible to the evil people do, even if He knows it will happen. God is omniscient, which means He knows all things actual and possible. Part 5 of my series on evil called “God’s Plan for Evil and Suffering” gives a more in depth look at the issue. The post is called God did not Create Evil and Suffering.
2. An example of a judgment of God. The allowing of these evil deeds was a judgment by God upon the nation of Israel. God at times used pagan nations as an instrument of punishment for the nation of Israel. Israel had turned their back on God and sinned against Him. 2 Kings 13:1-3 “In the twenty-third year of Joash the son of Ahaziah, king of Judah, Jehoahaz the son of Jehu became king over Israel at Samaria, and he reigned seventeen years. 2 He did evil in the sight of the LORD, and followed the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, with which he made Israel sin; he did not turn from them. 3 So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and He gave them continually into the hand of Hazael king of Aram, and into the hand of Ben-hadad the son of Hazael.” The nation of Israel was under the Mosaic Covenant which provided God’s blessings for obedience and His curses for disobedience.
3. God has the prerogative to take a human life. The creator of life can take life. We want to judge God by the same standards we are under. I posted an article that tackles this topic called Is it Moral for God to Kill an Innocent Human Being?
4. A loving God can allow evil. If we say a loving God should not allow evil, we a judging Him and are saying He cannot have a good reason for allowing bad things to happen. We can only judge the motives of God if we know the mind of God and completely understand His plan for humanity. No one knows the mind of God and therefore, no one can judge God for allowing evil. Therefore, since God by nature is a good and loving God He has good reasons for allowing evil actions of men. For a more in depth discussion read my article called, God allowing evil isn’t an argument against His power or His love.
God does not approve of abortion. The anger of the Lord is kindled against all who kill precious unborn human beings. The Bible clearly speaks out against murder. Abortion is the unjustified killing or murder of an innocent unborn human being. I wrote an entire series on this issue called, “Defending the Life of the Unborn.” The Biblical case can be found in parts 12-14. In 2 Kings 8:12 the predicted evil was done by the free will choices of an evil king Hazael and God was not responsible. The allowing of these evil acts (2 kings 8:12) was a judgment by God for the sins of the nation of Israel.