The Bible’s Viewpoint
How Does God Feel About Violence?
VIOLENCE is widespread and has many faces. Aside from war, there is sports-related, drug-related, gang-related, school-related, and work-related violence as well as violence in entertainment. Even domestic violence seems to be commonplace in many families. For example, one recent study suggested that in Canada 1.2 million men and women were violently attacked by their own mates at least once during a recent five-year period. Another study concluded that about 50 percent of wife batterers also violently abuse their children.
Surely, such acts of violence are as appalling to you as they are to most other people. Still, violence has become an important ingredient in much of today’s entertainment. Audiences are captivated not only by make-believe violence in movies but also by televised acts of real-life physical aggression. Boxing and other violent sports are favorites in many countries. But how does God feel about violence?
A Long History of Violence
Violence has a long history. The first act of physical violence by a human that is recorded in the Bible is described at Genesis 4:2-15. Cain, the first son of Adam and Eve, grew jealous of his brother Abel and murdered him in cold blood. How did God react? The Bible explains that Jehovah God punished Cain severely for taking the life of his brother.
At Genesis 6:11, we read that more than 1,500 years after that incident, the earth was “filled with violence.” Again, what was God’s reaction? He commanded righteous Noah to build an ark that would keep him and his family safe while Jehovah brought a deluge on the earth, thus ‘bringing to ruin’ that violent society. (Genesis 6:12-14, 17) But what had caused the populace to be so bent on violence?
The Influence of Demons
The Genesis account reveals that sons of God, disobedient angels, had materialized as humans, married women, and produced offspring. (Genesis 6:1-4) The offspring, known as Nephilim, were men of extraordinary size and fame. Under the influence of their demon fathers, they became violent bullies. When the floodwaters rose and covered the earth, these wicked bullies perished. But the demons apparently dematerialized and returned to the spirit realm.
The Bible makes clear that since then, these rebel angels have exerted a strong influence on humans. (Ephesians 6:12) Their leader, Satan, is called the original “manslayer.” (John 8:44) Hence, the violence that takes place on earth could properly be referred to as demonic, or satanic.
The Bible warns of the seductive power of violence. At Proverbs 16:29, it states: “A man of violence will seduce his fellow, and certainly causes him to go in a way that is not good.” Many today have been seduced into approving of, promoting, or perpetrating acts of violence. Also, millions of people have been enticed into enjoying entertainment that glorifies violence. The words of Psalm 73:6 can accurately be used to describe today’s generation. The psalmist says: “Haughtiness has served as a necklace to them; violence envelops them as a garment.”
God Hates Violence
How should Christians conduct themselves in a violent world? The Bible account of Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi provides us with sound guidance. Their sister Dinah placed herself in the company of the immoral people of Shechem. This resulted in her being sexually violated by a Shechemite. In retaliation, Simeon and Levi wantonly slaughtered all the men of Shechem. Later, under divine inspiration Jacob cursed his sons’ uncontrolled anger with the words: “Simeon and Levi are brothers. Instruments of violence are their slaughter weapons. Into their intimate group do not come, O my soul. With their congregation do not become united.”—Genesis 49:5, 6.
In harmony with these words, Christians avoid association with those who promote or perpetrate violence. Clearly, God hates those who promote violence. The Bible states: “Jehovah himself examines the righteous one as well as the wicked one, and anyone loving violence His soul certainly hates.” (Psalm 11:5) Christians are admonished to avoid all forms of uncontrolled anger, even verbal violence.—Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 4:31.
Will Violence Ever End?
The ancient prophet Habakkuk asked Jehovah God: “How long shall I call to you for aid from violence?” (Habakkuk 1:2) Perhaps you have asked a similar question. God answered Habakkuk, promising to remove “the wicked one.” (Habakkuk 3:13) The prophetic book of Isaiah also provides hope. There God promises: “No more will violence be heard in your land, despoiling or breakdown within your boundaries.”—Isaiah 60:18.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are confident that very soon God will remove from the earth all forms of violence and those who promote it. At that time, instead of being filled with violence, “the earth will be filled with the knowing of the glory of Jehovah as the waters themselves cover over the sea.”—Habakkuk 2:14.
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Violence had its beginning when Cain killed Abel