Samuel or God? Who Bears Responsibility for the Amalekite Genocide?

It is common practice in building biblical doctrine to emphasize scriptural passages that buttress our positions, and minimize or ignore those that contradict them. This maneuvering is so well established, and the practice so pervasive, that merely pointing it out is frowned on in some religious circles.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

An excellent question! I don’t believe God gave the command…jus’ sayn’!!


So what about the flood? I mean I get what your saying here. And to a certain extent I agree. However to ignore that God clearly does and will bring destruction to the wicked is to deny God’s role in everything. Will you write an article in heaven questioning the deaths of the millions who will die the second death? Or are we not going to leave the judgement in the scriptures after we decide to hack parts out? Also who gets to decide what parts aren’t real scripture and what parts are?

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I believe that in the OT when they refer to god they usually are projecting into their beliefs their own concepts of right and wrong, their culture. Christ came to reveal the truth about the father. Nothing hard to explain, I see we are still doing the same today. Kind of sad really when the truth is so much better. Universal love freedom and acceptance freely offered freely given. Can we accept such a concept?


Q[quote=“jay0143, post:3, topic:19785”]
So what about the flood? I mean I get what your saying here. And to a certain extent I agree. However to ignore that God clearly does and will bring destruction to the wicked is to deny God’s role in everything

The Old Testament writers implicate God in the slaughter of many non-Jewish children and babies. God’s judgement? Babies and kids were presumably drowned in the flood. God’s judgement? Was each Mom, Dad, and child presumed wicked by the Old Testament God?

The New Testament God of whom a follower wrote: “ Nothing can separate us from His love” is enough for some to believe that God will save all of humanity. Is it possible to reason that God will destroy a propensity to wickedness in all, acknowledge the good, and decide not to condemn?

I’ve noticed that, like children, there are some adults who are overly concerned with “fairness.” They feel wronged if they are not given the consideration that others receive. Is it possible that a preoccupation with judgement, ultimately making things “fair,” that is evident in SDA theology is a also an indication of immaturity, stunted development?


In the OT all things were under the control or caused by God, just as the all the other peoples believed of their own Gods. That, SDA’s have never come to understand or even contemplate. To do so, means looking at the Bible in a whole different way. Christ said God never changes, did He or not? The Bible is a story of development, much like a child growing up. The story of humans understanding of God from beginning to end, some day.


Yes, I think we miss the whole picture by trying combine the OT with the NT, as a natural flow of the story. Jesus came with the OT history behind him since he was a Jew. He walked and talked to Jews. What other faith references would he have had to refer to if not those in their scriptures.

What exactly would we miss if we used the OT strictly as Jewish history, and limited our spiritual focus on Christ… Oh wait - we’d miss all that stuff in Daniel, and that would make us no longer the special remnant - “the apple of God’s eye”. Human nature has change little since the Hebrews declared themselves God’s special people. It’s really quite arrogant.


I think this is speaking of God’s character never changes. Obviously, there are passages in scripture that God, in essence, changed his mind when circumstances changed, like in sparing Ninevah because they repented.

It is beyond our finite comprehension to know completely the “ways” and “whys” of an infinite God. But I believe we can understand the basics of God’s character from what we see in the various accounts written in the Bible. The sentence on the Amelekites, I believe must be seen in the totality of the message of the biblical narrative.

I believe God’s wrath is not him wanting to up and “wipe out” an entire people just because he can. The Bible clearly states that God does not delight in the destruction of the wicked. He is longsuffering, wishing that none would perish, but that all would come to repentence.

God is a God of mercy, but there is a point where “their cup of iniquity” has filled to overflowing. To “check” evil from further spreading, his mercy is withdraw, and the full measure of justice is metted out. I don’t see God’s instruction to wipe out the Amelikites as genocide as we define it, but rather a consequence of evil going beyond the point of no return.
His destruction of the wicked at His Second Coming is the same thing.

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If one of us drowned a kitten, the humane society would want to prosecute us for cruelty to animals.

Drowning is a ghastly death — I cringe every time when boatloads of migrants crossing from Africa to Europe in flimsy craft, are capsized, drowning all men women and children aboard.

Just this week, two socialite women drowned when their luxury car fell off a ferry in Florida.—- they embraced each other as they drowned !

Water boarding — a torture modality that simulates drowning — has been banned as a sadistic cruelty.

God may have been justified in exterminating the antediluvian wicked by means of drowning. But in so doing, how many millions of innocent animals also suffered this cruel fate ? Not to mention the human babies and toddlers.

ALL animals perished according to Genesis, EXCEPT those in the Ark. Was that how the dinosaurs reached extinction ? Were they too large to fit into the ark?

So we, who drown a kitten, are accused of abysmal cruelty, but God gets away with drowning millions of innocent animals ?


I don’t think that’s the perspective through which we should be looking at these stories in the OT, since the story isn’t a problem for an ancient mindset which would see plentiful “normal events” that today we would observe with horror and disgust.

I lived in a culture where my father would bring home a large sack of sugar, two large sacks of some kind of grain like rice, and a three large sacks of potatoes… and at that moment we knew that something terrible was about to happen in the political realm, because he had connections that spread rumors and that warned people to prepare.

Of course, there were some people who either didn’t believe that anything would happen and didn’t prepare, or they didn’t have these connections to proper communication channels. They didn’t follow people who knew, so to speak. And, at times mocked them as nuts, until these political and economic downturns created severe problems.

Thus, when I read the story of Noah’s flood, it resonates with me at the level of that reality. It’s not about God being angry with people in general, it’s about consequences of not preparing for disaster, and ignoring people who may know and understand something about it.


Off Topic

Hey Tom, you should provide your input here:

It’s Sean Pitman’s @seanpit site EDUCATE TRUTH. They are trying to destroy Bryan @bness after Spectrum publishes his article a few days ago. Instead of focusing on the subject, they are going after him personally, with punches below the belt of course (calling to question his employment). Just a vicious , un-Christian attitude!

I will try to EDUCATE them on the Nature x Nurture issue, though I suspect they already know it but choose to ignore it so that they can continue their little witch hunting. Should they ask for some Russian help? WDYT???


But…If we believe “I don’t see God’s instruction to wipe out the Amelikites as genocide as we define it, but rather a consequence of evil going beyond the point of no return.”, then why do we believe other religions can’t offer up the same explanation for their warfares on ‘unbelievers/infidels’? Because we have the only ‘true interpretation’ of the Bible? So, are to assume there have been no evil people/peoples since the OT who deserved to be wiped out? The world has improved, less evil? God is just not feeling comfortable with doing that anymore, made His point? Is that a God one should believe in? Sounds like a fear based belief system! My view of the Bible is that the OT writers view of God was no different than other nations Gods. They wrote/spoke as if God controlled everything in their world, both good and bad. There were no ‘natural’, none God, consequences for what happened in life or the natural world. God was in total control of their lives/environment. The list of rules they compiled were evidence of such, in my view. When Christ came, did he not say that their view of God was distorted and incorrect? When asked what God the Father was like, He said we are the same, see Me, see Him.


We know the why they only had god to blame. The true character of God is revealed in Christ but we must also remember that even the NT writers did not know what we know and neither did EGW. I would bet when all is known even we don’t know everything. We must break cleanly with past ignorance or we like the Jews will have to be replaced too. Religion has so confused things that I believe it will have to go for the universal God to be revealed.

Amazingly, it seems like we actually agree on this particular topic. You wrote:

I do not condone homosexual practices. Never did, never will… They were born stuck with a very troubling nature. Yes, biblically [they] cannot have homosexual practices, I always agreed to this. So, what they do? They have to stay celibate.

How are you saying anything different here from what I’m saying? It seems to me that we are saying exactly the same thing. I agree with you that sin itself is “hard-wired” into our genes. We are “naturally” sinful from birth. It seems as though we both agree on this. In fact, I’m having trouble seeing where you actually disagree with anything I’ve said on this topic?

The problem, you see, is that this is not what Bryan Ness and other professors at PUC are saying. They are saying that because homosexuality is “naturally inherited”, that it was designed by God Himself and therefore it is perfectly Ok, from God’s perspective, to practice the homosexual lifestyle within the confines of a monogamous marriage-style relationship. That’s where we disagree. From your comments here, it would seem that you also disagree with Bryan’s position on this topic… or am I reading you wrong?

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We now know that there are more to it than just our DNA when it comes to sexuality. Sexuality is influenced by our genetics, environment, culture among many. Whatever the combinations might be, it can only be manifested if the instructions are within an acknowledged set of code as provided by God “in the beginning.” We now know that DNA can be blocked or influenced by what we eat, our experience, the kind of gut microbiome we have. All those combinations were designed and programmed by God “in the beginning.” Who are we to say otherwise?

Correction. You made a mistake in attributing what I said about laterality to our good friend Bryan @bness thus confirming that cataracts is third biggest cause of blindness. Religion and Politics remain first and second.


I’m sorry, but God did not design or ever intend that humanity, to include our own individual genetics as well as the human gene pool as a whole, should undergo degenerative changes - eventually resulting in death. That was never intended by God. God certainly designed the potential for phenotypic variability, but not via random genetic mutations which are degenerative and harmful in nature.

As far as attributing your comment regarding right and left handedness to Bryan Ness, thank you for your correction, but Bryan also made the claim that left handedness evolved as the result of a genetic mutation. In any case, I’ve made the correction to my own article…


This saddens me more than anything. When someone who knows nothing about how or what I teach in my classes assumes they know. It seems that the assumption is that I am indoctrinating students into a belief about LGBTQ+ individuals that runs counter to SDA teachings, when I am doing no such thing. I say very little about same-sex marriage to my students, but rather take the approach recommended by the NAD in it’s very fine booklet “Guiding Families” and approach the LGBTQ+ students I come in contact with in the fashion described here (which is from the booklet):

“While it is tempting to focus on causation, I want to resolve this question up front: the origins of sexual orientation and gender identity are highly complex, multi-factorial, and likely rooted in both nature and nurture. For any one person, it can be impossible to know the exact cause. For this reason, we propose that we shift our focus from causation to compassion .”

I also encourage non-LGBTQ+ students to relate to LGBTQ+ students in this fashion. I also encourage abstinence in the LGBTQ+ students I know just as much as I encourage it among non-LGBTQ+ students. I encourage a compassionate and loving attitude and open acceptance of all individuals regardless their sexual or gender orientation.

I do not go out of my way to encourage same-sex marriage nor do I promote on our campus and so it baffles me that the headline of the article cited here says PUC is “encouraging Homosexual marriage,” whatever homosexual marriage is. Neither do I keep it a secret that I think same-sex marriage should be affirmed, which as far as I am aware is not a punishable offense in any setting. I know numerous pastors who believe the same way, some of whom will not say so openly because they fear the kind of judgmental and hateful backlash that an article like mine engenders in some people.

What seems to get repeatedly lost in these kinds of discussions and attacks is that people’s lives are at stake. Suicide among LGBTQ+ individuals runs several times higher than in the general population, and those that experience religious persecution around their sexual or gender orientation are especially seriously affected. If for no other reason than to show true compassion for such individuals, this kind of judgemental and angry discussion and attack should never happen. I think, as I repeat often, that we must take seriously Jesus’ words from Hosea, “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” I fear that those who speak out so forcefully against our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters are more willing to sacrifice these people than to try and understand and truly love them.


Your assertion about what God intends reminds of the late 1800’s public issue of whether the women should be allowed to ride bicycles as their leg muscles were only meant for the sewing machine. If the resultant end point of death is what separates God’s purpose, why did Paul admonish men to stay single as he did in 1 Corinthians 7:7-8?

However I am in awe of anyone who can declare God’s intentions without reservations.


Sean Pitman,

In my eighty four years I have observed numerous pastors / church administrators / SDA college professors, who when widowed, are remarried within one year of their spouses’ death .

Most are of the “ viagra age “ — so they are not getting remarried for the sex ! They are getting remarried because of their extreme loneliness and lack of companionship, following the demise of their spouse…

I do not wish widowhood on you —- but should you experience widowhood and that extreme loneliness , please recall that you casually dispensed LIFE LONG LONELINESS on those unfortunate five percent of the population , who through ZERO choice / input of their own are gay / lesbian.

Most married couples would agree that although sex is an important element of their marriage, it is far outweighed by the love, devotion, validation, caring, sharing, affirmation, companionship that a good marriage provides.

Marriage also provides economic stability — I know many couples both gay and straight, where one partner losing employment, would have been homeless, if not for the income of the other partner.

Two can live as cheaply as one, not forgetting the multiplicity of tax benefits, estate, and financial that a marriage certificate provides.

That is the main reason that same sex marriage has been now legalized in many countries — because the financial advantages of heterosexual married couples so far eclipsed that of equally tax paying couples “ living in sin “.

Inequality and disparity and discrimination are egregious and unfair.

To casually condemn MILLIONS to life long loneliness is cruel and sadistic and entirely unchristian.

And please provide the date, time and place when YOU made the conscious deliberate decision to be heterosexual — you were fortunate and blessed to be BORN with that predisposition.


You just published a very public article expressing your position on this topic - a position that is in direct conflict with the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Have you not, therefore, as a paid representative of the SDA Church, taken a very public position that is in fact in conflict with the position of your employer? That’s a real problem as I see it. How do you see yourself around the conclusion that you are in fact actively undermining the clearly stated goals and ideals of your employer? How is this not an ethical problem for you? How do you not see it as a form of theft from your employer?

Beyond this, how is it being “loving” to our LGBTQ+ friends and family to say that the Bible says something that it just doesn’t say? I personally think the most loving thing to do, as a Christian, is to be honest about what the Bible has to say on this topic… even if I personally might not entirely understand exactly why the Bible says what it says.

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