Ask Us: Question #2

Is God’s command to Joshua to vanquish Canaan genocide?

Phares Gilchrist Answers: No. It may seem like a hairsplitter, but genocide is ethnic cleansing. This was not racial animosity. It was facing a foe, who viewed God, the concept of holiness, and your entire population, with contempt. There were those in Canaan who were spared. It had to do with the physical territory, the ability to claim it as holy ground, for a holy God, and His chosen people. God created those He vanquished, knew them in the womb, desired their love and was repeatedly rejected by them, and replaced by every idol of evil worship imagined. This is His call based on the facts on the ground. That evil exists is regrettable in every way, including in my own heart. That God deals with it severely is a testament to His regard for its insidious harm. Not only did He vanquish Canaan to deal with evil, He let His sinless Son die the worst of deaths to vanquish evil. He is beyond reproach. He, Himself, volunteered to suffer His own consequences for evil, without blame. His call in Canaan is not arbitrary genocide, rather it’s one of many wars with evil that took many forms. Why doesn’t He address all evil this way? He is addressing all evil through a chosen people through whom He provides salvation through Christ. That is how He dealt and is dealing with evil. Those are His terms.