***add pic on how pain causes happiness from happier human.

Why does God allow Suffering anyway?

 "For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Many people look around and see a world that is filled with great beauty and pleasure and experiences and it is truly and amazing world, with amazing people. But we like countless others in history have seen or tragically experienced injustices, accidents or crimes that damage/ snuff out lives unfairly, broken relationships, human rights abuses and more. Physical pain can of course be very difficult to deal with. But it's important to recognize that emotional pain can be just as destructive or in some cases more destructive than physical pain because
A) The brain is hurt in similar ways by physical and emotional pain and
B) As psychologists have found, emotional abuse can be longer lasting and more damaging than even physical abuse

Maybe you've been lied about. Maybe you've been robbed, assaulted, raped or victimized in some way. Maybe you have been treated with prejudice or passed over for a promotion because of race, sex, religion or non-religion? Maybe you have you suffered from a painful sickness or lost a loved one to crime or disease or gone through some other painful experience.

If you've suffered physical pain, mental anguish or cried hot tears because of pain, join the crowd, one that includes you, me, everyone on the planet, and even though it may surprise you prophets & God himself. But God has performed an incredible mystery through pain in so many cases. He frequently restores those who have gone through great suffering and uses them as agents to invade Satan's kingdom and greatly reduce the cases of suffering in this world.

This song with experiences of abused women is an inspiring testimony of how those who have suffered terrible abuse have been restored and are now passionate and active in fighting abuses in society that happen when people violate God's wise principles in various ways.
This is an inspiring song/documentary with testimonies from several women who went through struggles and/or abuse. They didn't understand why at first. But God healed them, gave them passion to fight abuse in others and restored them through Christian ministries. They have now become skillful adults who are working to prevent if possible or heal abuse in the lives of others since they know the pain that sin causes firsthand. God has restored millions and transformed their pain into a useful ministry and He can do that for you too if you trust and follow Him.
He Knows My Name by Francesca Battistelli

The prophet Habbakuk wrote:
"How long, O LORD, must I call for help? But you do not listen! “Violence is everywhere!” I cry, but you do not come to save. Must I forever see these evil deeds? Why must I watch all this misery? Wherever I look, I see destruction and violence. I am surrounded by people who love to argue and fight. The law has become paralyzed, and there is no justice in the courts. The wicked far outnumber the righteous, so that justice has become perverted."
Habakkuk 1:2-4

Jeremiah is called the weeping prophet for a reason:
"If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered." Jeremiah 9:1

Jesus himself cried:
"Jesus wept (over the death of Lazarus his friend, before he raised him to life)." John 11:35

Jesus suffered an excruciating death on the cross for hours before He resurrected in glory.
"And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery....at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last." Mark 15:22, 24-34, 37

I actually believe there is a strong case that God has experienced more pain than any other being in the universe because
A) God was betrayed by 1/3 of the angels (which is probably millions), one of the worst forms of emotional trauma.

B) God experienced physical and emotional pain on the cross greater than any human being ever has since Jesus carried all the sins of the world. This was so intense that He bled great drops of blood***.

Sweating drops of blood doesn't happen a lot, but it is not unknown. The medical term for it is "hematohidrosis" and it happens when the blood vessels around the sweat glands constrict due to extreme stress and then dilate to the point of rupture. In this way, the body can "sweat" blood through the sweat glands.

C) Just like parents suffer enormously when their child is hurt, so too does God as the ultimate loving parent suffer when each person is hurt. God knows and experiences the thoughts and feelings of each person who has ever lived. He not only knows the individual harm that sin does, he knows the long term ramifications and all the hurt it will cause throughout history. He knew for example that Abraham's sin of polygmy with Hagar would cause long term conflict between Israel and the Muslims and specifically prophesied that.

God has been emotionally abused by so many wicked angels and people who engage in sin billions of times and not even all the human beings on the planet have have experienced this. If you've experienced emotional suffering a few times...you know about 0.00000001% of the pain that God has gone through and why He wishes to eradicate sin from the universe. He will do that at the right time, after all the crucial issues that caused sin and pain in the first place have been resolved for all to see.

Herodotus said that the greatest pain a person can experience is to have great insight, but no power to influence change. I've experienced this in several situations myself and I agree that it is true. My childhood bicycle accident no longer causes me any pain. But people who refused to follow wise truths, esp. in relationships and education, cause me far more hurt than any childhood accident I have had.***

While God must allow pain for reasons I will explain, we will also see that He uses the necessary pain to bring about many profound benefits, including the transforming people's characters to have far more compassion for others, inspiring the progress of most human rights, motivating us to gain skills that have often been the foundations of incredible life success and others.

I don't have the same experiences you do and I've had numerous blessings and privileges and some major successes in life (incredible parents, ambitious wife, great jobs, traveling experiences, wonderful daughter, etc.), but I and people I know have suffered in various ways:
I had a good friend named Steve. He had a great sense of humor and a love for life. Sadly, he died from lymph cancer in his late 20s, not many years after he was married, to a girl who had been orphaned.

A vivacious teacher from from a university I worked at, Megan Heffernan, and 2 others from the same place, Moon Eun-young and Moon Eun-eong were murdered in the Bali terrorist attack. www.eslteachersboard.com/cgi-bin/forum/index.pl?noframes;read=914

A man named Leroy was married to the woman of his dreams, Ginny. Tragically, she died from cancer in her 30s, leaving 4 boys for him to raise. His anger against God became so great over time that he left church, became an atheist and introduced his boys to a number of destructive habits including smoking, alcohol, drugs, pornography that objectified women, etc. One of the sons in a fit of anger, murdered his wife who was a relative of mine.

A relative of mine was murdered in a very sad and tragic crime, partly because of a man who became angry that his wife died of cancer and the influence he had on his son, the killer.

I've lost 2 jobs and because of working to radically improve people's lives and abilities based on scientific research, while my employers were mostly concerned with following rigid rules and structures that had very little to do with solving real problems in the real world.

Dishonest business partners broke contracts that caused me to lose ~$150,000. The loss of money wasn't a big deal. But this combined with other societal and media propaganda factors and mistakes by myself and my wife caused my marriage to go through emotional pain that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. I'd prefer months in a concentration camp to what I experienced. that had been about as ideal as I could wish for and relationship

If you are going through marriage challenges, I HIGHLY recommend either Mort Fertel (www.marriagemax.com) or Larry Bilotta (http://www.marriage-success-secrets.com/) who have some of the highest success rates at fixing marriages because they follow God's principles instead of those of Freud's which have caused all sorts of damage to relationships.

Of course, others have suffered much more than I have. I only have to look to countries like North Korea to see people who make the life I live look like a bit of heaven. But that doesn't lessen the emotions I feel. I can't count the nights I've stayed awake thinking, reading scientific research and praying for insight into what I could possibly change in my life or what action I could take to correct injustices, to convince people who are causing harm in relationships to change their destructive habits and to persuade those I love follow principles well known to be the foundations of many kinds of success. Many times I've wished that the all-powerful God I worship would just snap His fingers and transform the pain and suffering I see into heaven and peace on earth.

Since as I believe God experiences and hates pain far more than we do, there must be a good reason why God is willing to go through hell and see us, His precious children go through it as well for a while. In this article, I will explain some of the reasons and research I have found on why God allows pain temporarily. But before that, are we really asking the most important questions?

The common question is that if God is really good and all powerful, how can He allow things like this to happen? This is not a new question, nor is it one that only skeptics ask. Plenty of prophets in the Bible wrestled with it too as you have seen. The entire book of Job deals with this question. But how much suffering are we actually going to stop by asking or even answering that question? Think about it. If you know all the reasons why suffering is allowed to exist, will that actually solve even one case of suffering? It's for sure something that would be nice to know. But how many hungry mouths would that actually feed? Would it really cause someone to make radically different choices in life and follow the many solutions we already know about, or would they like the Pharisees of old, just move on to some other hard question as an excuse to avoid taking actions?

I actually think that there are far more important questions and issues to focus on than why pain exists such as.


To solve the suffering we see, we need to figure out the cause of that suffering. But most people are criticizing the wrong target. The Bible tells us that sins like greed and pride are the root of all evil and of course originate with Satan. But the vast majority of suffering and pain throughout history is caused by powerful, influential and/or quite wealthy people who control legal systems, media and education and have chosen to distort and pervert them for their own profit. The top 100 wealthiest people alone could solve world poverty 4 times a year with just their profits (not the money in their banks) as Oxfam has documented. They just need to follow God's principles.

There's a very simple way to solve the world's problems. Just follow the 10 commandents with their full ramifications. If this is promoted by society's institutions and followed faithfully by all, this is all is necessary to create a good world, a world free of tyranny and cruelty. Dr. Prager explains why in short 5 minute summaries of each of the 10 commandments here***:

Vast evidence of an intentional conspiracy to manipulate the masses for the benefit of the few, the plutocrats, has been documented by numerous scholars and researches who often cite evidence from the wealthy and powerful themselves. Freud for example had a nephew, Edward Bernays, who was the father of propaganda in the west. He and other psychoanalysts worked extensively to manipulate the masses for the benefit of politicians and major corporations. In some cases, they cause wars and topple democracies for corporations. In others, they have caused people to think that smoking is cool and even healthy and to believe the propaganda that buying things will make people really happy.

These are myths. Money does help happiness a bit in the area of basic needs (food, shelter, education, healthcare, etc.) from poor to middle class. But the higher order happinesses in life are found in strong relationships with God, family and friends, meaningful work, appreciation and things like that. Materialism actually is a main factor in destroying numerous marriages around the world.

This documentary is very insightful if you want to know the biggest causes of suffering in the world, which almost always can be traced back to some of the wealthy elite and their manipulation of governments and the media.
"Psywar: The Real Battlefield is the Mind"
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EVEIods2crM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
http://www.ratical.org/ratville/Psywar.html (script)

Read also these articles for a more sarcastic overview:

These plutocrats and oligarchs are taking advantage of the free choice that God has granted to all and are using it to abuse and exploit millions around the world. They try to damage Christianity in order to make more profits, and then they have the audacity to try and blame all this suffering on God when it is in fact their fault.

2) EFFECTIVE WORLDVIEW: What worldview has been most effective at reducing and ending suffering. The answer to that is Judeo-Christianity following Bible principles if we are informed about the historical record. Some will claim it is science or secular thinking. But Judeo-Christianity was the birthplace of modern science (www.hebrewhistory.info/factpapers/fp016_science.htm) which can be used to save lives as it does in the medical field. But it can also be used to destroy lives as it does in wars and gun technology and the production of cigarettes, alcohol and junk food (each of which kill far more people than all wars and crimes combined every year). Secular thinking on equality almost always just plagiarizes biblical principles such as principle of equality that natives of a country and foreigners must be treated equally under the law, an idea which Moses gave to Israel ~4,000 years ago in Numbers 15:15.

3) ACT NOW (following GOD'S PRINCIPLES) WHAT CAN WE DO...NOW? There are myriads of solutions to stop suffering now. The more people spend on just talking about pain instead of DOING something about it, the more it will persist. We do need to take time to learn wise principles that work to stop it. But if we know that, we should DO that, and teach others to do so as well. There are many easy solutions to almost all problems in the world. The big problems are greed which causes war and propaganda in a myriad of areas and wastes trillions of dollars every year when the cost of stopping poverty is only ~$66-175 billion per year. Here's just one example, with the money from one war plane being able to buy mansions for every homeless person in America.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/lsaTDCLTu24" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

We have been given all the knowledge we need to stop poverty. God gave it long ago in the Bible and science is confirming that God's principles save millions of lives and trillions of dollars every year when followed as these 2 sites and numerous others demonstrate.
A) Money Masters (a documentary with economists, presidents and Nobel prize winners testifying about how enormous amounts of wealth are wasted every year insanely hoarding more and more wealth in fewer and fewer hands).
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UrJGlXEs8nI" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

B) A site on how Bible economics can solve poverty easily if God's principles are followed, just as He promised.

4) FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE: Former Harvard professor Shawn Achor tells us that if we focus on the positive we are ~20-30% more efficient in our work and in solving problems. http://www.ted.com/talks/shawn_achor_the_happy_secret_to_better_work.html

Emerson agrees, saying
"For every minute you are angry, you lose sixty seconds of happiness."

We should and MUST be concerned about injustice anywhere. But, also be careful to avoid ruining your life and your future by misguided thinking about the past or present. Check out the concept of "mirror neurons" as well. It's a law of the mind that your character becomes changed bit by bit every day by what you focus your attention on.

Who can solve the injustices done to the holocaust victims or the Korean comfort women (sex slaves) or the 1 million who slaved on the Great Wall of China or children in Rome and Greece who were customarily sold or given as sex slaves to pedophiles (something strictly forbidden by the Bible) or the many soldiers who have died as canon fodder?

There is no other power besides a God who would have even the slightest power to resurrect those who were treated unjustly and who judges them fairly who could solve the injustices in history.

To adapt a line from a gangster movie, New Jack City, the only thing that all secular and atheistic philosophies (as well as some others) can say about historical injustices is to put it a bit crudely:
"Tough cookies. Wrong time, wrong place and all that jazz. See ya and I wouldn't wanna be ya."

Of course, many secular people these days feel sorry about historical injustices, (but even the reason anyone now feels sorry is mostly because of biblical concepts that triumphed over ancient ideas like karma, fate, might makes right, etc.), but secularism/atheism is totally impotent to solve historical genocide, mass rape, slavery and other evils where the victims have already died. It offers nothing whatsoever in terms of a solution for the billions of historical injustices. ONLY God can.

IMPORTANT: So, if you care even slightly about justice, human rights, etc. you must avoid all bias and fallacies in this discussion of whether God exists. No double standards (such as requiring extraordinary evidence for extraordinary claims, something that Christianity has actually already provided even though it is a double standard. See http://www.truth-is-life.org/Resurrection.html). No biases. No straw men, etc. Those who care about justice will only find resolution to injustice if God is real.

There is only one worldview with proof of a God who can resurrect those who died in injustice and a God who will restore justice in these cases. That is Judeo-Christianity. The Bible and vast historical research gives proof that the God of the Bible has power to resurrect people (Acts 1:1-4)
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/8AduPVkqbis" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

He promises that He will judge all cases fairly, by their conscience and the knowledge they had available to them and what they did with that knowledge (Romans 2:12-16) which is why I expect to see many truth seekers from many backgrounds, including probably Buddha, some jungle tribes people, and possibly even a few sincere atheists who tried to follow truth the best they knew how in heaven. Those who reject truth they know though are making harmful and dangerous choices.

But why does God allow pain in the first place? Most philosophers have agreed that a good and all powerful God can be reconciled with the existence of evil for at least 2 reasons.

Plantinga wrote extensively about how a God who truly values freedom, must let the beings He created make choices to do things against His will. Everyone is free to make truly free choices, however no one is free from the consequences of those choices. This video gives a short overview of Plantinga's ideas.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ney_JVf015Q" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Another answer that I find more rationally convincing is that after Satan did a coup d'etat in heaven, God had 2 basic choices.
A) He could rule by fiat and just declare that He was right and correct and no one could challenge Him. Satan would not be allowed to try alternatives and so no one would have evidence to judge whether God or Satan was correct. God would basically become a dictator. But God knew that just like happens with earthly dictators who suppress dissent, it doesn't stop the questions. As the suppression continues, more and more will ask the same questions and the sense that they are living without real freedom and without the chance to make an informed and logical and evidence based decision for themselves will increase.

B) He could give the rebels a chance to demonstrate all their alternative hypotheses. This would require an in depth experiment, to see the long term effects of generations and centuries and millennia. Basically, it would be the ultimate scientific systematic review, covering billions of lives. And it would provide vast amounts of evidence for all to study throughout eternity and be fully satisfied that God's system is best. It would fully vindicate God's decision to end sin, the source of all suffering and bring consensus on this issue among all who are wise and love truth. This documentary by Pastor Dough Bachelor, based on the Bible and Ellen White is an insightful summary of the war that was fought in heaven over whose government was actually best for the universe to follow.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/JqLIndMA9Ks" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

For many, an all powerful God who allows so much suffering just doesn't make sense. But neither did he concept of an all powerful, good God humiliating Himself to die on a cross make sense to Jews and Greeks 2,000 years ago as Paul makes clear saying that it was considered foolishness by both Jews and the intellectual Greeks. And yet, a bit like light is both a particle and a wave, powerful evidence points to these contradictory concepts both being true.

Why would God do this? Former atheist and professor at Stanford University, Rene Girard, recognized that the degrading crucifixion of an innocent man had brought forth an new stream in history, one where the victim becomes the hero by exposing injustice in society to the consciousness of the population.

A student of Girard’s called this “the most sweeping historical revolution in the world, namely, the emergence of an empathy for victims.” It was this decision of God to go through excruciating suffering on the cross (as well as much emotional pain before that time from the time sin entered this earth) that was the foundation of much human rights progress in history. This stream from God sometimes takes time to erode hard banks of oppression, and sometimes has to work against pagans, atheists or even theists and Christians who have gotten corrupt or comfortable following the morals of the society of their time instead of God's far higher truths and freedom. But God's stream of liberation flows on and throughout history it has been the source of nearly all human rights progress and freedom and myriads of other blessings. brought the highest levels of freedom some of the highest levels of freedom (which is almost entirely due to Judeo-Christianity pioneering nearly all human rights as has been extensively documented by many scholars)
(Read “What Good is God” by Philip Yancey for much more on Girard and others like him).

Similarly it is often pain and tragedy that are often the main factors in motivating major personal and societal change now, whether it be Louis Pasteur's scientific work to find the cure to diseases which killed 3 daughters or the human rights declarations in 1948 that followed the Nazi genocide of the Jews. There had been abuses happening for 1000s of years that God knew were causing tragedy for people and breaking His heart too. But sometimes it takes major crises to expose these evils to public consciousness and cause people who God has given free will to to be motivated to make major changes. If life is always comfortable, people think. Life is good for me. Why should I change anything (ignoring that life is not good for many others)? There's a reason why wise people say, "Don't waste a crisis."

Another reason that God may allow major disasters is because people are dying all the time from various violations of God's laws...~18 million per year due to poverty and disregard for God's economic laws, ~16 million a year due to disregard for God's health laws ALONE. Most deaths are not reported much in the news for various reasons. Major tragedies are sometimes the catalyst to get people to be aware of ongoing problems and to take actions.

There are 3 main questions about God and morality that are often asked that we'll look at in this article.
  1. How can a good and all-powerful God allow all the suffering that we see?
  2. What is moral? Who decides it?
  3. Did God really condone murder, incest, genocide, slavery, subjugation of women and engage in destructive acts?



2) HUMAN FREEDOM IS A TOP PRIORITY FOR GOD: It is obvious in the Bible that God gives people freedom to disobey Him. Time and time again, he sent prophets to warn both Israel and other nations against the immorality they are indulging because it harms themselves and/or others. Some have said that a good God could not allow evil.  But, a good God who values freedom as a top priority would do exactly that in the interest of free choice. There is no logical way to rail against totalitarianism and dictators and then at the same time to condemn a God who allows people free choice, which they unfortunately misuse and cause evil.  You can only choose one of these:
a) Accept a totalitarian regime as the ideal and best government for the universe.
2) Understand that with freedom comes risk and responsibility and some will misuse that freedom to cause harm.

The mix of good and evil that we see around us is perfectly consistent with the world that we see. Dr. Alvin Plantinga of Notre Dame wrote 2 books on this subject and summarized them this way:
"A world containing creatures who are significantly free (and freely perform more good than evil actions) is more valuable, all else being equal, than a world containing no free creatures at all. Now God can create free creatures, but He can't cause or determine them to do only what is right. For if He does so, then they aren't significantly free after all; they do not do what is right freely.

To create creatures capable of moral good, therefore, He must create creatures capable of moral evil; and He can't give these creatures the freedom to perform evil and at the same time prevent them from doing so. As it turned out, sadly enough, some of the free creatures God created went wrong in the exercise of their freedom; this is the source of moral evil. The fact that free creatures sometimes go wrong, however, counts neither against God's omnipotence nor against His goodness; for He could have forestalled the occurrence of moral evil only by removing the possibility of moral good." Plantinga, Alvin (1974).
The Nature of Necessity. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 166–167 & Plantinga, Alvin (1977). God, Freedom, and Evil. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. p. 30

You can see a well done 3 minute graphical summary of this position here:


Most philosophers accept Plantinga's free will defense and see the thus see the logical problem of evil as having been sufficiently rebutted.
  • Robert Adams says that "it is fair to say that Plantinga has solved this problem. That is, he has argued convincingly for the consistency of God and evil." Howard-Snyder, Daniel; O'Leary-Hawthorne, John (August 1998). "Transworld sanctity and Plantinga's Free Will Defense". International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 44 (1): 1 (see also pgs 1–21).)

  • William Alston has said that "Plantinga [...] has established the possibility that God could not actualize a world containing free creatures that always do the right thing." Alston, William P. (1991). "The Inductive Argument From Evil and the Human Cognitive Condition". Philosophical Perspectives 5: 49 (see also pgs. 29–67.

    William L. Rowe has written "granted incompatibilism, there is a fairly compelling argument for the view that the existence of evil is logically consistent with the existence of the theistic God", referring to Plantinga's argument.
    Rowe, William (October 1979). "The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism". American Philosophical Quarterly 16 (4): 335 (see also pgs 335–41).

Dr. Plantinga's argument is very good. But I think there's one that's quite a bit better, one hinted more strongly at in the Bible itself in many verses and summarized by Ellen White and put into dramatic video form here:


It is impossible to explain the origin of sin so as to give a reason for its existence. Yet enough may be understood concerning both the origin and the final disposition of sin to make fully manifest the justice and benevolence of God in all His dealings with evil...Before the entrance of evil there was peace and joy throughout the universe. But there was one that chose to pervert this freedom. Sin originated with him who, next to Christ, had been most honored of God and who stood highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of heaven.

Before his fall, Lucifer was first of the covering cherubs, holy and undefiled. "Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering. . . .Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee." Ezekiel 28:12-15.

Lucifer might have remained in favor with God, beloved and honored by all the angelic host, exercising his noble powers to bless others and to glorify his Maker. But, says the prophet, "Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness." Verse 17. Little by little, Lucifer came to indulge a desire for self-exaltation. "Thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God." "Thou hast said, . . . I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation....I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High." Verse 6; Isaiah 14:13, 14.

Instead of seeking to make God supreme in the affections and allegiance of His creatures, it was Lucifer's endeavor to win their service and homage to himself. And coveting the honor which the infinite Father had bestowed upon His Son, this prince of angels aspired to power which it was the prerogative of Christ alone to wield...Since their natures were holy, he urged that the angels should obey the dictates of their own will. He sought to create sympathy for himself by representing that God had dealt unjustly with him in bestowing supreme honor upon Christ. He claimed that in aspiring to greater power and honor he was not aiming at self-exaltation, but was seeking to secure liberty for all the inhabitants of heaven, that by this means they might attain to a higher state of existence.God in His great mercy bore long with Lucifer.

He was not immediately degraded from his exalted station when he first indulged the spirit of discontent, nor even when he began to present his false claims before the loyal angels. Long was he retained in heaven. Again and again he was offered pardon on condition of repentance and submission. Such efforts as only infinite love and wisdom could devise were made to convince him of his error. The spirit of discontent had never before been known in heaven. Lucifer himself did not at first see whither he was drifting; he did not understand the real nature of his feelings. But as his dissatisfaction was proved to be without cause, Lucifer was convinced that he was in the wrong, that the divine claims were just, and that he ought to acknowledge them as such before all heaven. Had he done this, he might have saved himself and many angels. He had not at this time fully cast off his allegiance to God. Though he had forsaken his position as covering cherub, yet if he had been willing to return to God, acknowledging the Creator's wisdom, and satisfied to fill the place appointed him in God's great plan, he would have been reinstated in his office. But pride forbade him to submit. He persistently defended his own course, maintained that he had no need of repentance, and fully committed himself, in the great controversy, against his Maker.

All the powers of his master mind were now bent to the work of deception, to secure the sympathy of the angels that had been under his command. Even the fact that Christ had warned and counseled him was perverted to serve his traitorous designs. To those whose loving trust bound them most closely to him, Satan had represented that he was wrongly judged, that his position was not respected, and that his liberty was to be abridged. From misrepresentation of the words of Christ he passed to prevarication and direct falsehood, accusing the Son of God of a design to humiliate him before the inhabitants of heaven. He sought also to make a false issue between himself and the loyal angels. All whom he could not subvert and bring fully to his side he accused of indifference to the interests of heavenly beings. The very work which he himself was doing he charged upon those who remained true to God. And to sustain his charge of God's injustice toward him, he resorted to misrepresentation of the words and acts of the Creator....

God in His wisdom permitted Satan to carry forward his work, until the spirit of disaffection ripened into active revolt. It was necessary for his plans to be fully developed, that their true nature and tendency might be seen by all...Lucifer, as the anointed cherub, had been highly exalted; he was greatly loved by the heavenly beings, and his influence over them was strong. God's government included not only the inhabitants of heaven, but of all the worlds that He had created;...Even the loyal angels could not fully discern his character or see to what his work was leading. Satan had been so highly honored, and all his acts were so clothed with mystery, that it was difficult to disclose to the angels the true nature of his work. Until fully developed, sin would not appear the evil thing it was. Heretofore it had had no place in the universe of God, and holy beings had no conception of its nature and malignity. They could not discern the terrible consequences that would result from setting aside the divine law...

In His dealing with sin, God could employ only righteousness and truth. Satan could use what God could not-- flattery and deceit. He had sought to falsify the word of God and had misrepresented His plan of government before the angels, claiming that God was not just in laying laws and rules upon the inhabitants of heaven; that in requiring submission and obedience from His creatures, He was seeking merely the exaltation of Himself. Therefore it must be demonstrated before the inhabitants of heaven, as well as of all the worlds, that God's government was just, His law perfect. Satan had made it appear that he himself was seeking to promote the good of the universe. The true character of the usurper, and his real object, must be understood by all. He must have time to manifest himself by his wicked works.

Even when it was decided that he could no longer remain in heaven, Infinite Wisdom did not destroy Satan. Since the service of love can alone be acceptable to God, the allegiance of His creatures must rest upon a conviction of His justice and benevolence. The inhabitants of heaven and of other worlds, being unprepared to comprehend the nature or consequences of sin, could not then have seen the justice and mercy of God in the destruction of Satan. Had he been immediately blotted from existence, they would have served God from fear rather than from love. The influence of the deceiver would not have been fully destroyed, nor would the spirit of rebellion have been utterly eradicated.

Evil must be permitted to come to maturity. For the good of the entire universe through ceaseless ages Satan must more fully develop his principles, that his charges against the divine government might be seen in their true light by all created beings, that the justice and mercy of God and the immutability of His law might forever be placed beyond all question.

Satan's rebellion was to be a lesson to the universe through all coming ages, a perpetual testimony to the nature and terrible results of sin. The working out of Satan's rule, its effects upon both men and angels, would show what must be the fruit of setting aside the divine authority. It would testify that with the existence of God's government and His law is bound up the well-being of all the creatures He has made. Thus the history of this terrible experiment of rebellion was to be a perpetual safeguard to all holy intelligences, to prevent them from being deceived as to the nature of transgression, to save them from committing sin and suffering its punishments...

In the contest between Christ and Satan, during the Saviour's earthly ministry, the character of the great deceiver was unmasked. Nothing could so effectually have uprooted Satan from the affections of the heavenly angels and the whole loyal universe as did his cruel warfare upon the world's Redeemer. The daring blasphemy of his demand that Christ should pay him homage, his presumptuous boldness in bearing Him to the mountain summit and the pinnacle of the temple, the malicious intent betrayed in urging Him to cast Himself down from the dizzy height, the unsleeping malice that hunted Him from place to place, inspiring the hearts of priests and people to reject His love, and at the last to cry, "Crucify Him! crucify Him!"--all this excited the amazement and indignation of the universe.

It was Satan that prompted the world's rejection of Christ. The prince of evil exerted all his power and cunning to destroy Jesus; for he saw that the Saviour's mercy and love, His compassion and pitying tenderness, were representing to the world the character of God. Satan contested every claim put forth by the Son of God and employed men as his agents to fill the Saviour's life with suffering and sorrow. The sophistry and falsehood by which he had sought to hinder the work of Jesus, the hatred manifested through the children of disobedience, his cruel accusations against Him whose life was one of unexampled goodness, all sprang from deep-seated revenge. The pent-up fires of envy and malice, hatred and revenge, burst forth on Calvary against the Son of God, while all heaven gazed upon the scene in silent horror.

When the great sacrifice had been consummated, Christ ascended on high, refusing the adoration of angels until He had presented the request: "I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am." John 17:24. Then with inexpressible love and power came forth the answer from the Father's throne: "Let all the angels of God worship Him." Hebrews 1:6. Not a stain rested upon Jesus. His humiliation ended, His sacrifice completed, there was given unto Him a name that is above every name.

Now the guilt of Satan stood forth without excuse. He had revealed his true character as a liar and a murderer. It was seen that the very same spirit with which he ruled the children of men, who were under his power, he would have manifested had he been permitted to control the inhabitants of heaven. He had claimed that the transgression of God's law would bring liberty and exaltation; but it was seen to result in bondage and degradation.

Satan's lying charges against the divine character and government appeared in their true light. He had accused God of seeking merely the exaltation of Himself in requiring submission and obedience from His creatures, and had declared that, while the Creator exacted self-denial from all others, He Himself practiced no self-denial and made no sacrifice. Now it was seen that for the salvation of a fallen and sinful race, the Ruler of the universe had made the greatest sacrifice which love could make; for "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself." 2 Corinthians 5:19. It was seen, also, that while Lucifer had opened the door for the entrance of sin by his desire for honor and supremacy, Christ had, in order to destroy sin, humbled Himself and become obedient unto death.

...But it was not merely to accomplish the redemption of man that Christ came to the earth to suffer and to die. He came to "magnify the law" and to "make it honorable." Not alone that the inhabitants of this world might regard the law as it should be regarded; but it was to demonstrate to all the worlds of the universe that God's law is unchangeable. Could its claims have been set aside, then the Son of God need not have yielded up His life to atone for its transgression. The death of Christ proves it immutable. And the sacrifice to which infinite love impelled the Father and the Son, that sinners might be redeemed, demonstrates to all the universe--what nothing less than this plan of atonement could have sufficed to do--that justice and mercy are the foundation of the law and government of God.

In the final execution of the judgment it will be seen that no cause for sin exists. When the Judge of all the earth shall demand of Satan, "Why hast thou rebelled against Me, and robbed Me of the subjects of My kingdom?" the originator of evil can render no excuse. Every mouth will be stopped, and all the hosts of rebellion will be speechless.

The cross of Calvary, while it declares the law immutable, proclaims to the universe that the wages of sin is death. In the Saviour's expiring cry, "It is finished," the death knell of Satan was rung. The great controversy which had been so long in progress was then decided, and the final eradication of evil was made certain. The Son of God passed through the portals of the tomb, that "through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." Hebrews 2:14.

The whole universe will have become witnesses to the nature and results of sin. And its utter extermination, which in the beginning would have brought fear to angels and dishonor to God, will now vindicate His love and establish His honor before the universe of beings who delight to do His will, and in whose heart is His law. Never will evil again be manifest. Says the word of God: "Affliction shall not rise up the second time." Nahum 1:9. The law of God, which Satan has reproached as the yoke of bondage, will be honored as the law of liberty. A tested and proved creation will never again be turned from allegiance to Him whose character has been fully manifested before them as fathomless love and infinite wisdom.
Great Controversy, excerpts from chapters 29

Read the whole chapter here:

Maybe it's is precisely this experience of going through suffering that makes us much more sensitive to the pain that others feel and helps us to empathize with their difficulties. Is it an accident that only after Lance Armstrong, 7 time winner of the Tour de France, himself got cancer, that he established a foundation to focus on helping others with cancer? I think not, especially since this scenario can be repeated numerous times. It is sometimes in suffering that we gain the greatest compassion and the gift of being far more fully human.

As a child, I was told never EVER to insert anything into electric sockets. But, being the curious somewhat anti-establishment person that I am, I did not heed that advice and when I saw my parents were otherwise occupied, I found a wire and with great glee put it exactly where I had been told not to put it, in the electric socket.  I expected great excitement, and I wasn't disappointed. An incredible BANG ensued...and I was excitedly screaming for mom and dad to come and pay attention to my 10 blackened fingers.

Luckily my ignorance of wisdom and decision to learn by experience didn't result in the end of my life. But, do you think I ever again tried out that experiment? You can bet your bottom dollar that I will not.

And my experience losing $150,000 dollars was far more traumatic than that electric socket experiment and covered years. To make a very long story short, I, my brother and 4 other partners had built a language school, TLC, up from nothing to 600 students in Korea. Many promises were broken and I sold out and prepared to start a 2nd school. I planned to start a little after the money for the 1st school was to be paid in the contract (which I had been told was very strong). Tragically, my former partners (2 whom I had saved from bankruptcy), refused to pay a large part of the contract.  One of the biggest reasons new businesses fail is lack of funds. This broken contract forced me to teach up to 14 classes per day, plus admin, fundraising, recruiting, training, marketing, etc. It was just too much and we had to close.

The money loss was one thing..but much worse is how much time I've had to spend in working to pay off debts instead of being with my family and how much it destroyed my wife's trust in my ability to provide for the family. 

Do you think I'm going to be even slightly tempted to break a contract in the future if that opportunity were ever to come, after going through it myself? NOT ON YOUR LIFE! The very thought is abominable and detestable to me.

In addition to the above reason, THIS is likely one of the biggest reasons why God has allowed the experiment with sin, so that the very thought will be revolting to us.

God will someday destroy all sin and those who cling to it's destructiveness.  But, maybe in the distant future, someone will question God's government again and say...hey, I think I've found a better alternative to God's way of doing things.  The universe can then patiently show a video tape of all the alternatives that Satan tried out on this earth and firmly

We have some interesting evidence of this. Roger Morneau who was a Catholic, but gave up believing in God because of the terrible things he saw as a soldier during World War 2 and became an atheist. But, one day he experienced a seance and saw firsthand a variety of supernatural activities that he were not possible to explain with atheism. He became a spiritualist and also became involved with Satanists. Just before he was to become a Satanist, he prayed for God’s help to escape...something that others had died trying to do. With the help of some Christians and intense Bible studies and prayers, he was rescued from Satanism and became a strong prayer warrior who experienced many amazing answers to prayer and helped people to connect to God’s superior power.

But, while he was with the Satanists, he learned something that may help explain why we do not often supernatural manifestations and why the experiment with evil has gone on so long. Roger writes,
"Perhaps an experience I had when I was a spirit worshiper many years ago will illustrate this fact. A satanist priest bragged to me how Satan had forced the Creator to leave the devil's newly acquired domain. The man said that Satan declared that such a demand was his legal right before the universe, and that the devil had gotten his wish.

"At that time," the priest said, "the master Satan stated that he and his angels would make themselves invisible to human beings also, thus leaving people free to live their lives as they wanted to. He emphatically argued that the only fair way for supernatural forces to influence human conduct should be by flashing thought images into individual minds."

"How much of what the priest said can be believed, I do not know. But much of what the spiritists told me made sense, and actually helped me make a decision for Christ a few months later." A Trip Into The Supernatural p. ***

This gives us evidence that God and Satan are engaged in a long going struggle with many behind the scenes dynamics that we are not aware of. It seems that Satan is trying out a large range of alternatives to God's government and similar to some scientific experiments where scientists try to test out the full range of possibilities, God is letting Satan test out the full range of alternatives to His ideal government so that the universe can be satisfied that there is no better alternative to His government that exists or will ever exist.  God is allowing one long running experiment with sin to answer the question once and for all time about whether there is an alternative to His incomparably wise government based on freedom of choice.

In the book of Job in the Bible, we see similar hints of Roger Morneau's experience with God and Satan acting like lawyers debating a case in front of the jury of the universe over how loyal Job is. Satan alleges that Job only serves God because God has blessed Him. God defends Job as having much higher morals than that and agrees to let Satan test Job’s loyalty by bringing adversity in order that the watching universe, which has free will to choose God’s government or Satan’s, can see that Job really is on God’s side and loyal through anything. Job loses all his earthly possessions and gets painful boils, and has some bitter complaints, but perseveres in trusting God even though he has no clue about the supernatural debate going on behind the scenes. Based on this, I imagine a conversation between God and Satan might go something like this, greatly dumbed down for human language:
  • GOD: Well, it’s about time to wrap this controversy up don’t you think Satan? You’re pretty much in checkmate.

  • SATAN: Says who? I’m far from out of alternatives to your dictatorial government.

  • GOD: Didn’t you to say freedom loving government, which is right now sustaining your right to dissent. And by the way, real freedom isn’t the absense of discipline as you have long claimed. Just look at what people on earth are doing when they submit to the discipline of science. Isn’t it impressive? And if more submitted to my discipline, they would have far more financial funding and time to focus on advancing science instead of having so many problems with crime, terrorism, broken marriages, war, you name it.

  • SATAN: Well, you have a point there. But, anyway, we have to test all major possible alternatives to your government.

  • GOD: Have you forgotten how your experiments in the past have turned out? Don’t you remember the record of history? Remember how you invented the gods of Molech and Baal in Canaan that required child sacrifices, utterly detestable practices? And look at what you inspired the Assyrians to do, skewering people on stakes, lopping hands and feet off, creating blood baths wherever they went? Wherever you go you cause people to be so immoral that I either have to endure watching the cruelest human rights abuses being done to my creations who I love..or step in in justice to end punish and destroy the oppressors or destroy free choice. There is no ideal option.

  • SATAN: But, but, but..that was a long time ago. I’ve thought of better alternatives to your government now.

  • GOD: Really? How did your alternatives with Baal and Molech worship turn out? Those experiments caused many 1000s of children to die before I had to put an end to those detestable practices. And 100s of others have turned out just as badly ranging from the Incans and their human sacrifices to the sun to Emperor Chin enslaving millions to build his Great Wall of China.  How did the French Revolution (strong atheism ) or communist alternatives to Christianity turn out? Do you call 1-200 million dead an improvement over the past? You need to go relearn elementary math.

  • SATAN: There was relativism.

  • GOD: Ah yes, good old relativism...the idea that caused many to ignore ethics and just do whatever they felt with since it’s just all relative. There’s no real harm in stealing, embezzling from companies, framing someone for crimes they didn’t commit, binding girls feet, etc. It’s all relative. That’s right down your alley as well.
  • SATAN: Some of the people who followed me have done well and been successful..but now I’ve got a real test that will show the real difference between us and whose view is best.

  • GOD: Successful? Yeah..like Kurt Cobain and then soon dead. What point is there in trying more of your “alternatives“? They just end up hurting and damaging millions of lives.

  • SATAN: But, as you well know, the universe is looking at what we’re doing and if we don’t try all alternatives now, then in the future, you’ll just have someone else challenging you on this point. So, you might as well go the whole way now and try all possible alternatives.

  • GOD: What is now?

  • SATAN: We’re going to restrict ourselves to influencing people’s through their thoughts alone for the most part. In the past we have manifested ourselves in supernatural ways from time to time. But, now let’s cut way down on that and do a hands off scientific test without intervention and see what happens when people follow “lack belief atheism“, materialism and secularism. We may intervene in a few special cases when we are asked to intervene. But, even these must be very limited.

  • GOD: I have said that sin will not rise the 2nd time. To do that we need to test all the major possible alternatives and so while I dislike it intensely, because this is a universe of free choice and all must see the full consequences of your ideas, I’ll permit it. But, soon, we will come to an end of your “alternatives“ and you. And I have the right to save any who are following what they understand to be truth, no matter what view they are in. That must be understood.

  • SATAN: I don’t like it, but you’re God and I can’t say it’s not fair. So, I agree.

  • GOD: Good, let’s get on with it.


There's a famous challenge to theism called Euthyphro's Dilemma. It goes like this:
"Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God?"

There are numerous well written sophisticated answers to this question, some of which you can see on the wikipedia link above. But it's really very simple.  Look at any manufacturer and ask the same type of question:
"Are the instructions you give on how to use your product given because they are good or are these instructions good because they are made by the your company?

It's the same dilemma and the same answer.  A good and intelligent product maker will always give instructions on how to use the product in the best and most enjoyable way. God does the same. The only difference is that God is concerned about the welfare of the entire universe, not just one product. In addition, "Through the Son, He [God] created the universe." Hebrews 1:2. So, He gave rules on how it functions best and these are what defines morality.

Dr. Jonathan Sarfati points out that this is also a problem for atheists:
"Indeed, the Euthyphro Dilemma can be turned around on atheists: Do you approve of an action because it is good, or is it good because you approve of it? If the latter, then your moral standard seems to be subjective and arbitrary, so you complain about God’s alleged arbitrariness. And if the former, then you are back to explaining where this objective moral standard comes from.

...Similarly for social theories of good—is something good because society makes a rule about it, or does society make a rule about it because it’s good?


Many people these days criticize the Bible for it’s standards and laws regarding slavery, women, the violence that happened and other things. Many atheists and critics of the Bible make statements like this:
“Rape, genocide, human sacrifice, murder, slavery, torturing and killing your own children and incest are all evil, and encouraged by god.” Zero9**

The Bible and the whole world is filled with profound blessings from God and most human rights were pioneered by Jews and Christians precisely because of Bible principles. Most moral values and especially human rights values of modern people would simply not exist today without the influence of Christians following the Bible. See this site for details on that: http://www.truth-is-life.org/GoodLifeEvidence.html). To cherry pick a few cases and represent that as normal is like citing the massacre of Indians in America and citing that as typical of democracy. It's grossly irresponsible.

Some of these allegations are very easy to debunk for the blatant falsehoods. Others take more understanding of gigantic differences in time, culture, linguistics and others (such as that nearly all slavery that God permitted in the Bible was voluntary and actually a welfare system for the benefit of the poor).

But, first of all, why does God give laws to people? He says it clearly:

“But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.” Jeremiah 7: 5-7

“This is what the LORD says: “What did your ancestors find wrong with me that led them to stray so far from me? They worshiped worthless idols, only to become worthless themselves. Jeremiah 2:5

IT is in order to prevent us from HARMING ourselves that God gave us these instructions. It angers him when people suffer and promote things that cause the beings He loves to suffer. He has given free choice to all and so allows it. But, it still angers him in the same way you would be angry at someone telling your child that cutting his arm with a razor was a thrill and something great to try.

But, first of all, why does God give laws to people? He says it clearly:

“But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.” Jeremiah 7: 5-7

“This is what the LORD says: “What did your ancestors find wrong with me that led them to stray so far from me? They worshiped worthless idols, only to become worthless themselves. Jeremiah 2:5

IT is in order to prevent us from HARMING ourselves that God gave us these instructions. It angers him when people suffer and promote things that cause the beings He loves to suffer. He has given free choice to all and so allows it. But, it still angers him in the same way you would be angry at someone telling your child that cutting his arm with a razor was a thrill and something great to try.

Surprisingly, quite a few people these days, esp. atheists like Richard Dawkins and others, try to criticize the Bible as immoral for certain standards and incidents that happened.

Some of these allegations and incidents are very easy to debunk as not only blatant straw man falsehoods, but also things that God abhorred and explicitly condemned. Others take more understanding of gigantic differences in time, culture, linguistics and others (such as that nearly all slavery that God permitted in the Bible was voluntary and actually a welfare system for the benefit of the poor as we will see below). But, before we explain specific cases, we need to keep several points in mind.

1) BIBLE BELIEVERS PIONEERED MOST HUMAN RIGHTS: But first of all, the Bible and the whole world is filled with profound blessings from God and most human rights were pioneered by Jews and Christians precisely because of Bible principles. Whether you are religious or not, the moral and ethical values you currently hold have been profoundly influenced by the Bible and Jews/Christians who pioneered nearly all human rights movements until modern times. Finally some other groups that have existed for 1000s of years (including atheists) have started to realize the important of human rights and gotten some involved as well. But, the modern concept of human rights was almost entirely derived from Bible believers. 

Most moral values and especially human rights values of modern people would simply not exist today without the influence of Christians following the Bible. See this site for details on that: http://www.truth-is-life.org/GoodLifeEvidence.html. To cherry pick a few rare cases in the Old Testament where God was dealing with illiterate people only a few years removed from slavery and was also meting out justice on certain extremely cruel tribes he had been merciful to for centuries, and represent that as normal is like citing America going to war in North Korea and killing North Koreans to keep South Korea free and citing that as injustice and typical of democracy. It's grossly irresponsible.

Many people these days criticize the Bible for it’s standards and laws regarding slavery, women, the violence that happened and other things.Many atheists and critics of the Bible make statements like this:“Rape, genocide, human sacrifice, murder, slavery, torturing and killing your own children and incest are all evil, and encouraged by god.” Zero9**Some of these allegations are very easy to debunk as the blatant straw man falsehoods they are. Others take more understanding of gigantic differences in time, culture, linguistics and others (such as that nearly all slavery that God permitted in the Bible was voluntary and actually a welfare system for the benefit of the poor as we will see below). But, before we expose these allegations above for the lies and fallacies they are, we need to keep several points in mind.


Here are some of the easy answers to common atheist charges.
1) HUMAN/CHILD SACRIFICE: OK, this one is really easy. God was horrified by this. He says in Jeremiah 32:33
“My people have turned their backs on me and have refused to return....they would not receive instruction or obey... 35 They have built pagan shrines to Baal in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing. What an incredible evil, causing Judah to sin so greatly!”

2) RAPE/INCEST: Similarly, rape was a very serious crime in Israel and incest was explicitly condemned in in the Bible.
“Suppose a man meets a young woman, a virgin who is engaged to be married, and he has sexual intercourse with her. If this happens within a town, if the man meets the engaged woman out in the country, and he rapes her, then only the man must die. Do nothing to the young woman; she has committed no crime worthy of death. She is as innocent as a murder victim. Since the man raped her out in the country, it must be assumed that she screamed, but there was no one to rescue her. Deuteronomy 22:23,25-27

In the case of incest, in ancient near east cultures around Israel, it was not unusual for near relatives to marry. Some Egyptian kings for example married their sisters. We can see a couple casese of this among early Bible characters like Abraham marrying his paternal sister, and Amram, Moses’ father marrying his aunt. It may not have been as much of a health problem as it is for us now possibly. But, through Moses, God soon gave specific bans on incest like these and others and Jewish Law had some of the first prohibition in history against marriage of one's "near of kin" (Lev. 18:6-27). It forbids a man to marry these relatives (as well as forbidding sex with animals) and states that the Canaanites did these things and it defiled the land:
• Parents
• Mother-in-law
• Stepmother
• Sister and half sister (but not a stepsister)
• Granddaughter
• Aunt
• Wife of father's brother
• Daughter-in-law
• Brother's wife
• Stepdaughter and step granddaughter
• Wife's sister during the lifetime of the former

A) GOD HAS TO DUMB THINGS DOWN: Nearly everything that critics of the Bible criticize as immoral come from Old Testament sections written to people who were illiterate and had only recently escaped from slavery.  These were people used to the whip and so God had to speak severely to them to get their attention. if he hadn't, they would have just laughed. As it was, they were so stubborn, that many times, even with the severe punishments, they ignored God's wisdom and lost out on longer life, much wealth, prestige, and many opportunities for progress that God had designed for them.

God's desire as Jesus put it in the New Testament, is to deal with us as His friends, not mindless servants (John 15:15). He always has more truth for us to progress in. But the limiting factor is whether we are ready to handle it yet or not:
“There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now." John 16:12

Paul also says,
"I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life. 2 I had to feed you with milk, not with solid food, because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready, for you are still controlled by your sinful nature." 1 Corinthians 3:1-3

But, God's ultimate goal is for us is to be given authority to judge and reign with God & Christ (and not only for the 1000 years..that's just the beginning).
Then I saw thrones, and the people sitting on them had been given the authority to judge...Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years. Revelation 20:4-6 (see also:  Revelation 1:6, 5:10, 22:3-4).

A famous Christian writer puts it eloquently,
"Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God's ideal for His children. Godliness--godlikeness--is the goal to be reached. Before the student there is opened a path of continual progress."

3) MURDER: In Exodus 20, God commanded people not to murder just like all modern governments do. Continually throughout the Bible, God forbids murder as one of the the most horrible crimes. But, like modern governments today, there are cases where national security must be protected and justice must be done and some of these required fighting or capital punishment. We'll look at those cases in a later section. But, God categorically did not approve of murder...and it didn't matter the status of the victim, unlike the laws in other cultures of the time.

There was no genocide done by God in taking over Canaan from the utterly depraved Canaanite tribes. Have you seen the movie “Blood Diamonds” and the terrible abuses and crimes there? The practices of the nations in the Ancient Near East surrounding Israel would have made the RUF army in that movie (which is based on real events) look kind in comparison. Some were involved in sacrificing babies to burning idols, torturing people by skewering them like shishkebabs, skinning them alive and other horrific atrocities. War was a springtime hobby for kings. The practices these people were involved in would have killed at least millions over even a few centuries if not ended. Atheists would be condemning God for not stopping them. This is a classic case of being condemned if you do and condemned if you don’t. If God ended the injustice and horror, atheists condemn God. If He doesn't end the abuse in justice...they also blame Him. The atheist position has nothing to do with reality or any comprehension of fairness.

Add to this the Middle Eastern concept of blood vengeance, the responsibility to attack and kill anyone who hurt your tribe/nation. We can see this in the conflict between Israelis and Arabs that has gone on for millennia. If God had not destroyed the entire enemy nations, the remnants would have grown up to do exactly what the Arabs have done for centuries and our modern world would be FAR more violent and filled with war and terrorism than it already is. God had 2 choices:
1) Destroy the whole population of the evil nations or
2) See blood vengeance happen for millennia between many nations (as we have with Israelis/Arabs)

Some say, "Oh, but God could destroy only the leaders and soldiers, fighting men, etc." No, it was the whole culture that was teaching these things from childhood on up. The only way to end it would be to destroy everyone or to destroy everyone's mind and remove and violate their freedom of choice, which is one of God's highest priorities.

These actions of God were rare and were cases of national justice where He had given these people much warning and they had simply ignored them. If God let evil continue, violence and suffering would fill the earth.

An insightful Christian author writer,
“In sparing the life of Cain the murderer, God gave the world an example of what would be the result of permitting the sinner to live, to continue a course of unbridled iniquity. Through the influence of Cain's teaching and example, multitudes of his descendants were led into sin, until "the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." "The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence." [GEN. 6:5, 11.]

In mercy to the world, God blotted out its wicked inhabitants in Noah's time. In mercy he destroyed the corrupt dwellers in Sodom. Through the deceptive power of Satan, the workers of iniquity obtain sympathy and admiration, and are thus constantly leading others to rebellion. It was so in Cain's and in Noah's day, and in the time of Abraham and Lot; it is so in our time. It is in mercy to the universe that God will finally destroy the rejecters of his grace.” Ellen White, Great Controversy p. 453 (’88 version)

FACTS TO CONSIDER BEFORE GOING FURTHER (into discussions of slavery)
There are many facts to keep in mind when people engage in these cherry picking fallacies and allegations about the Bible.

1) LINGUISTICS: Some of the biggest problems people have is due to forgetting that words have different meanings in different times and cultures. There ARE MASSIVE differences between our culture and theirs and words sometimes have vastly different meanings. The fact is that as we will see below, nearly all slavery permitted by God was a voluntary welfare system where no one else had to be taxed to support those in financial trouble. It was not forced, since kidnapping was a capital crime.

I live in Korea and am involved in a lot of translation work and I see this all the time...you can't just assume that words always mean the same thing in different cultures. You'll make major mistakes if you do that even in modern cultures and far more in ancient cultures. Here are 3 examples of that:
a) The word “gay” has changed vastly in meaning in just a few centuries from centuries to ours.
b) The word “pumpkin” in American can refer to cute kids you love (Hey, pumpkin, what do you want to eat tonight?). But, in Korean, the very same word refers to a person with an ugly face.
c) Even in the same time period, 1 word can have completely different meanings. For example, in America, football is a game with 4 downs, touchdowns and field goals. But, in England, South America and many other countries, it means a game with a net, strikers, goals and a soccer ball (which is actually played with the foot most of the time).

In a similar way, most uses of the word slave in the Bible (esp. in the laws of Israel) have very little to do with our current use or concept regarding slavery as we will see below.

2) FAIR COMPARISONS: Another important thing to remember is that the human rights given to all of the underclasses of society such as, slaves, women, foreigners, poor, etc. in Israel were light years ahead of that in all other cultures of the time. The Greeks and Romans for example thought nothing of infanticide and they would have ridiculed freeing slaves just for a tooth being knocked out as insane. Furthermore, the rights of human beings was of very little concern to ancients unless you were the one with money and power. Whether it was the gladiators of Rome or the countless slaves emperors of China forced to work on their projects, such as the Great Wall of China, the underclass was mostly to be used for the glory of the nation or those who had power. To get some basic understanding of the difference in human rights & other values between Israel & other cultures of the time, of what life was like in those days and the difference between how slaves were treated in Israel and in other countries, read these sites carefully:

God always desires us to advance in human rights and how we treat others and that’s true today still. But, without the Bible, almost nobody would have the concerns and views that they do about human rights much if at all. Many ancient cultures couldn’t have cared less about human rights. Citizens of those countries were considered pawns of the state to be used at will for national glory without regard for the sanctity of life. Whether you look at the Roman gladiator games or the Athenians or the Chinese emperor Chin, modern respect for human life was something mostly if not totally unknown to the ancient world.

It was the Bible that pioneered most rights for minorities, women, slaves and others. See this site for documentation on why it was Christianity, almost alone, that pioneered most of the human rights in history.

The Bible was also the foundation for those who fought the injustice of modern forced slavery. Verses like this one inspired the abolitionists, who were nearly all Christians, to lead the campaign to for the first time ever in history get rid of slavery.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

Try to watch the movie “Amazing Grace” or at least some clips of it here to see the Christians who succeeded in abolishing slavery at a national level for the first time ever in history. That movement was directly inspired by the Bible’s crucial principles and respect for human life and led by Christian pastors and politicians. People may criticize the Bible for giving rules about slavery. But there are very concrete reasons why it was Christians alone who succeeded in abolishing slavery first in the history of the world and those reasons are biblical.

4) FREEDOM OF CHOICE AND PIONEERING STEPS IN MORALITY: Another fact was that many of the laws God gave in the Old Testament were NOT His final goal. For that matter, laws He gave even in the New Testament were not His ideal. Jesus explicitly says he has much more to teach the disciples, but they are not ready for it yet. But, God has given people the risky privilege of freedom, including the freedom to reject & disobey him, a freedom which Israel used all to frequently to their own hurt.

God was also dealing with people who had just gotten out of slavery. These people would have just laughed at rational argument and anything less than severe discipline. They had no education. They were illiterate. They were basically at ground zero morally. The rules he gave them were not the ultimate level he wanted for them....they were 1st steps on the path to the ideal nation. Even much later in the New Testament Jesus couldn’t tell his disciples who had been with Him 3 years all His ideals because they weren’t ready for it.
“There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. John 16:12

God had done miracles to rescue them from slavery. Because of this, EVERY person in Israel agreed to be ruled as a theocracy (other nations haven't and aren't in the same condition those slaves were, so aren't required to follow those). But, all God asked was for the best good of all the people in that nation.

Modern nations are not in the same position as Israel (or the Canaanite tribes) because not all agreed to be a theocracy under God’s perfect wisdom. Even today, Israelis are wealthier than most nations and have won more Nobel prizes percentagewise than any other nation in the world..and that's only with following a very small percentage of God's principles half-heartedly at best most of the time.

THIS was the reason God wanted them to follow His principles:
Deuteronomy 28:9 “If you obey the commands of the LORD your God and walk in his ways, the LORD will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do. 10 Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the LORD, and they will stand in awe of you.

11 “The LORD will give you prosperity in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you, blessing you with many children, numerous livestock, and abundant crops. 12 The LORD will send rain at the proper time from his rich treasury in the heavens and will bless all the work you do. You will lend to many nations, but you will never need to borrow from them. 13 If you listen to these commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom.

That has come true many times in history in many areas..even with much disobedience...imagine what would happen if they had followed even half or 90% consistently?

God asks people to be disciplined and follow His principles for the same reason science asks scientists to be disciplined and follow the scientific method. They are for the best good of all concerned. But, in a number of areas, modern nations and even Christians have not progressed past these basics. God respects our freedom & leads us step by step as we follow His principles. When we do, we always find that His system is MUCH better than ours.

Watch some of this video, esp. the first 10-15 minutes for a movie with great graphics on this topic of God’s choice to value our freedom of choice and win the universe with love, not force:

Cosmic Conflict

In fact, the Biblical concept of slavery was part of an economic system and was mostly a provision to take care of those who couldn’t support themselves without taxing others to pay for their support. It was part of the Jubilee economic system of the Bible which basically advocated these things:

1) DISTRIBUTE NATURAL RESOURCES EQUITABLY: Since God created all natural resources (and even atheists agree that no person created them), God said they they must be shared equitably by all. Even pagan nations were responsible to guarantee a basic living standard for all its citizens.

2) FREE MARKET: Once this basic economic right is provided to all, then everyone can follow free market economics and if you work hard (or are lucky), you can get rich.

3) LESSEN THE INCOME GAP: God gave several principles of generosity to Israel that would lessen the gap between the rich and the poor. MUCH research shows that money only improves happiness from poverty to middle class levels and that high income gaps in societies are not good for anyone, not even the rich. See: http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson.html

4) PROVISION FOR EMERGENCIES: In addition to the principles of generosity, God required that the edges of fields be left for the poor to harvest and instituted a welfare system where people could sell themselves as slaves if they were unable to support themselves and they would be taken care of without using taxes or funds from others for up to 7 years.

Here are some of the biblical principles on “slavery” or indentured servitude so you can see for yourself.



Exodus 21:16 “kidnappers must be put to death, whether they are caught in possession of their victims or have already sold them as slaves.”
Deuteronomy 24:7 ”If anyone kidnaps a fellow Israelite and treats him as a slave or sells him, the kidnapper must die. In this way, you will purge the evil from among you.
Slavery was voluntary (because of poverty) since kidnapping was illegal&oppression of foreigners was forbidden(so it has nothing to do with modern slavery). Slavery was temporary unless the slaves wanted it permanent (they pierced their ears to show this). It was a FAR better welfare system than any in existence today since slaves worked for their necessities&were paid&no one else was taxed to pay for them.
Exodus 21:5 “1 These are the regulations you must present to Israel.2 If you buy a Hebrew slave, he may serve for no more than six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom....But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6 then his master must take him before the judges. He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.

What conditions must there have been to make a slave/servant want to be a slave forever? Surely, the conditions must have been vastly different from what we think of when we think of slavery.

These principles alone mean that chattel slavery wasn’t advocated by the Bible. A far more accurate term for biblical slavery would actually be indentured servants. Why? In almost all cases (except for rare cases of justice & criminal punishment), slavery in the Bible was voluntary. It was mostly a welfare system for those who couldn’t support themselves to help them meet their basic needs until they could become independent again.

In the Israeli system, slaves SOLD THEMSELVES to masters, NOT people kidnapping and selling them. And that slavery was only for a maximum of 6 years unless the slave VOLUNTARILY decided to pierce his ear and serve his master for life. The wife and children would be freed soon as well. But, since the boss had paid for 6 years of their work, he deserved the benefit of their work. It’s kind of similar to how sports work. One team has the right to draft players first. If they sign a contract, they are supposed to work for that whole time unless the owner agrees to trade them to another team or is compensated in some way for the loss of losing that player.

Chattel slavery simply wasn’t promoted by God in the Bible. This is a flagrant misrepresentation of the facts. The correct term would be “indentured servants” or something like that.

There were many other OT and NT principles that prevented abuse of slaves and gave them rights higher than any other nation in the ancient near east.


Leviticus 19:34 The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt.I am the LORD your God.
Deuteronomy 10:1 ”You are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt.”
Exodus 23:9 “You must not oppress foreigners. You know what it's like to be a foreigner, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.”
Deuteronomy 24:17,18 “Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge. Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the LORD your God redeemed you from there. That is why I command you to do this.”
In Galatians 3:28, Paul writes, "There is neither Jew nor Gentile,neither slave nor free,nor is there male & female,for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

I do not know how God could make it plainer…no oppression of foreigners is about as black and white as it gets. The principles above and others others motivated Christians like Wilberforce &John Newton to fight against slavery & abolish it in England. For 1000s of years almost no other group, including atheists, had any conception that slavery was a problem or wrong & they for sure did not take any significant action to stop it. It was only Jews and Christians that brought the world out of a culture where slavery was considered normal. And remember that the laws God gave to Israel were NOT the final goal or his ultimate morality. They were only first steps. Yet, even these first steps were light years ahead of other cultures and in some cases way ahead of many modern cultures. But, Israel had freedom to disobey & did so many times.

Some equate biblical slavery with modern forced slavery. But, these verses show that it was used mostly as a welfare system for Isrealites. It was an ideal welfare system better than any other because:
a) It was voluntary and done by choice and
b) “slaves” worked for their keep, their food and housing. This plan didn’t require the government to tax anyone to support those who were in financial trouble.

This plan would save nations huge amounts of money in welfare costs if followed today (many modern jobs are actually worse than Israeli slavery since they don’t even pay a living wage and people go deeper and deeper into debt). It would be sustainable long term. And slaves were able to leave their “slavery” any time they wished if they paid off the money that remained until the year of Jubilee. This was only fair considering that they had been paid money for their services based on the number of years until the Jubilee as well.

Leviticus 25: 35 “‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. 36 Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. 37 You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit. 38 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

39 “‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to you, do not make them work as slaves. 40 They are to be treated as hired workers or temporary residents among you; they are to work for you until the Year of Jubilee. 41 Then they and their children are to be released, and they will go back to their own clans and to the property of their ancestors. 42 Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves. 43 Do not rule over them ruthlessly, but fear your God.

47 “‘If a foreigner residing among you becomes rich and any of your fellow Israelites become poor and sell themselves to the foreigner or to a member of the foreigner’s clan, 48 they retain the right of redemption after they have sold themselves. One of their relatives may redeem them: 49 An uncle or a cousin or any blood relative in their clan may redeem them. Or if they prosper, they may redeem themselves. 50 They and their buyer are to count the time from the year they sold themselves up to the Year of Jubilee. The price for their release is to be based on the rate paid to a hired worker for that number of years.

51 If many years remain, they must pay for their redemption a larger share of the price paid for them. 52 If only a few years remain until the Year of Jubilee, they are to compute that and pay for their redemption accordingly. 53 They are to be treated as workers hired from year to year; you must see to it that those to whom they owe service do not rule over them ruthlessly.54 “‘Even if someone is not redeemed in any of these ways, they and their children are to be released in the Year ofJubilee, 55 for the Israelites belong to me as servants. They are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.


Jeremiah 22:13 “Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness, his upper rooms by injustice, making his own people work for nothing, not paying them for their labor.”
Deuteronomy 24:14 “Do not take advantage of a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether that worker is a fellow Israelite or a foreigner residing in one of your towns. 15 Pay them their wages each day before sunset, because they are poor and are counting on it. Otherwise they may cry to the LORD against you, and you will be guilty of sin.”
“Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.” Colossians 4:1


Exodus 25:35 "'If one of your countrymen becomes poor & is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you." (note that Israelis should help their poor countrymen in a similar way to how they should help a foreigner).


• Exodus 21:27 "And if he knocks out the tooth of a manservant or maidservant, he must let the servant go free to compensate for the tooth".
• Deuteronomy 23:15 You must not return an escaped slave to his master when he has run away to you.
16 Indeed, he may live among you in any place he chooses, in whichever of your villages he prefers; you must not oppress him.

“The Hebrew word here translated slave is ‘ebed’, and refers generally to any servant, no matter what form of servitude they were under, and regardless of their nationality. This is arguably the most remarkable law regarding servants in the entire Law of Moses. No other ANE society had any such law, and most contemporary societies actually punished those who protected or supported runaway slaves. The Law of Hammurabi was particularly vindictive regarding this matter, enforcing the death penalty on anyone who sheltered a runaway slave, or who even concealed knowledge of their whereabouts:
16. If any one receive into his house a runaway male or female slave of the court, or of a freedman, and does not bring it out at the public proclamation of the major domus, the master of the house shall be put to death.
17. If any one find runaway male or female slaves in the open country and bring them to their masters, the master of the slaves shall pay him two shekels of silver.
18. If the slave will not give the name of the master, the finder shall bring him to the palace; a further investigation must follow, and the slave shall be returned to his master.
19. If he hold the slaves in his house, and they are caught there, he shall be put to death.
Other ANE law codes were equally cruel, and the Law of Moses stands out as uniquely humanitarian:
‘Wherever slavery existed, there were slaves who escaped from their masters. Ancient Near Eastern law forbade harboring runaway slaves, and international treaties regularly required allied states to extradite them. The present law, in contrast, permits escaped slaves to settle wherever they wish in the land of Israel and forbids returning them to their masters or enslaving them in Israel.’
Nahum M Sarna, ‘Jewish Publication Society Torah Commentary Series: Exodus’, 1991, note on Deuteronomy 23:15-16, as quoted by Glenn Miller, ‘Does God condone slavery in the Bible?’, 2005
‘A slave could also be freed by running away. According to Deuteronomy, a runaway slave is not to be returned to its master. He should be sheltered if he wishes or allowed to go free, and he must not be taken advantage of (Deut 23:16-17). This provision is strikingly different from the laws of slavery in the surrounding nations and is explained as due to Israel’s own history of slaves. It would have the effect of turning slavery into a voluntary institution.’
‘A History of Ancient Near Eastern Law’, Raymond Westbrook (editor), 2003, volume 2, page 1006, as quoted by Glenn Miller, ‘Does God condone slavery in the Bible?’, 2005


These 2 sites have a HUGE amount of evidence on the culture of the ancient near east and show how vastly different the laws of Israel were compared to them.

The above verses and others show that the vast majority of biblical slavery was voluntary since forceful kidnapping was a capital crime & that even the voluntary slaves had unrivaled rights.

1) If God had told slaves/Christians with no power to rebel in Roman times…what would have been the result? Read the history of Spartacus and ponder that. If Jesus had advocated rebellion by slaves, the same thing that happened to Spartacus would have happened to most or all Christians. It was not the right time for that and the early Christians and Jews didn’t have anywhere close to the required political power or government power to do anything about the situation at that time. Jesus DID give principles to Israel on kidnapping and defining rights for slaves in the OT that were FAR above any other culture in history and inspired Paul to write that all are equal etc. Jesus’ principles and his example of respect for all people no matter their race or wealth were the foundations of the abolition movement and many other human rights movements throughout history.

2) God's focus is on righteousness first and changing the heart. Slavery is a secondary issue to righteousness. If you don't get the character right, then there is no real freedom. The history of Israel proves this many times...people forgot righteousness and then lost power and were conquered and enslaved. It's a direct correlation. Jews at Jesus time were deep in many sins and traditions that violated God's laws and needed heart first..then other lessons could follow. But, to just deal with superficial issues when the heart was still evil would not accomplish anything good, especially not long term.

3) God’s rules given to Israel and even to the early Christians were not His final ideal. Because God has given people free will, he must deal with people at their level and sometimes that is very immature. God was often frustrated with Israel. He wanted much greater and better things for them. But, they stubbornly refused to follow even some of the 1st steps that He gave them, no different from a child refusing to learn addition and multiplication when the teacher’s higher goal is algebra and calculus to enable the student do work in rocketry or space science. The Hebrews had just gotten out of slavery and were an illiterate, immature and stubborn people. God worked amazing miracles considering what He started with and the limitations of free will. But, don’t think for a second that those were His perfect ideals. Even Jesus said that he had much more to teach the disciples, but they weren’t ready for it yet.

I HIGHLY recommend that you watch videos 2-4 deal on the issue of of free will VERY well, so well that most scholars consider the problem of the problem of evil to have been answered conclusively.

There’s a Jewish site called "World Perfect" that is very helpful in understanding the conditions of the ancient world at: http://www.aish.com/seminars/worldperfect/index.htm (see especially the section on the value of life here: http://international.aish.com/seminars/worldperfect/wp03n05.htm

Since God respects freedom of choice, he has to lead at a level and speed that people can understand. Jesus told his disciples that he had much more truth to teach them, but they weren't ready for it yet. If you compare the civilizations of the Bible to the other nations around them there is an incredible difference in the level of rights given to women and slaves and pretty much everyone. The site above illustrates this in quite a bit of detail. But, God is constantly raising the standard to help us achieve more freedom and fulfill more potential.

4) So, we have Paul saying in Galatians 3:28, "There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus." This verse and others inspired certain Christians to start I believe the first abolition movement in the world. You need to deal with the FACTS of who has led the fight on most human rights issues. In most cases, it has been Christians who fought and sacrificed. NOT ALL Christians of course changed quickly...some were traditionalists and fought for modern evil slavery in contradiction of many Bible principles such as those listed above about kidnapping. But William Wilberforce and John Newton were just a couple of the ones who were Christian heroes who changed the world. The realization that slavery is wrong as with many other human rights issues originated with certain Christians actually taking the Bible seriously and trying to implement it in our modern world. See:
http://www.amazinggracemovie.com/index.php for an inspiring movie on this and some trailers and http://www.ttf.org/index/journal/detail/newton-wilberforce-2/ , http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/special/williamwilberforce.html
5) Last, for a much more detailed treatment of the slavery question, I recommend this link:

How Can We Trust A Bible That Tolerated Slavery?

The RBC book is good, but it misss a very important factor about how most slavery was actually a welfare system as above.

There is immorality in the Bible, yes. But Bible morality challenged many establishments in history&was far ahead of civilizations of its time. Unlike most ancient history, the Bible prophets frequently condemned even top leaders of their nation &churches for doing wrong.
1) God condemned many things in the Bible (incest, rape, involuntary slavery, kidnapping, etc.). The slavery in the Bible was mostly a voluntary welfare system temporarily entered into by choice by poor people
since kidnapping was a capital crime and since God expressly forbade all oppression of foreigners. The Bible’s statement that all are equal because of their Creator was the foundation for Christians starting the abolition movement.
2) But, although omnipotent, God has chosen to respect human freedom. This means He has to lead us step by step, as we are willing to follow, closer to the ideal. Jesus told his disciples that He had MUCH more to teach them, but they weren’t ready for it yet.

3) To preserve life,there are some cases where God must step in&enact justice or else millions will die&possibly humans will destroy all life themselves.
4) Democracies have done terrible things (like killing off many Indians in America). They’ve also gone to war, killing many Nazis for example. Scientists like Mengele under the Nazis did very immoral things. And scientists also cull millions of animals to avoid far more deaths. Should we eradicate democracy and science because of these things?

WHY DID GOD KILL WHOLE NATIONS (including some people that seem to be innocent like children?)
Sometimes babies have died due to God's actions. This is one of the hardest questions to answer. I give 3 answers basically.
1) The cultures God judged were very immoral and the babies if they had grown up there, would have accepted almost everything in that culture and done wrong. Some of them were going to war as a hobby, enjoyed torturing, had very depraved sexual practices, sacrificed babies to idols and worse. The influence was degrading the world. If not stopped, it would have killed millions and millions endlessly.
2) The ancient world was a communal culture. If someone killed people in your family, you had a duty to do blood vengeance. So, in the case of Canaan, if God had left some alive, for 1000 of years, there would have been continual violence and killing going on. We can see this even in the case with the Arabs vs. Israelis. So, it's unfortunate, but long term best to destroy all parts of those societies.
3) In the end, God will right all wrongs and make justice for all who have not been treated fairly on earth and all will be able to see that God was fair all along and agree that this is true.
4) God has the power to resurrect and give new life. This is total speculation, but it’s possible that he could give those who died innocently eternal life or another trial in some other world. God is the judge and He will resolve this to everyone’s satisfaction.

Leviticus 25:
44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

There were not a lot of foreign slaves in Israel. We must remember that ancient cultures didn’t have transportation like we do and so had much less international interaction. Slavery did exist in ancient times for certain, but much of it was due to war and reasons of that nature and much more localized.

There were basically two reasons that slavery of foreigners happened in Israel:
1) JUSTICE: Tribes like the Canaanite tribes had violated basic morality in serious ways for centuries. God had warned them in different ways, but they refused to change. Their cultures were very abusive, violent and lethal, even to their own citizens with much human sacrifice and gods like Molech requiring babies to be sacrificed daily.

2) BETTER RIGHTS: If you were a slave would you prefer to be a slave where you had no rights (other countries) or an indentured servant or even a slave in Israel (where you had rights). This answer should be obvious to the most casual observer as my math professor used to put it. In allowing them to have foreign slaves, God was actually helping foreign slaves come to a far better environment with more human rights than any other place in the world at that time. He was concerned about the best for them as well (even though most of those nations had rejected His correction&teaching for centuries). Israel couldn't control how slaves were treated in other countries. It couldn't stop slavery in other places or change their rights there. So, the best thing was to allow them to come to a place where they at least had basic respect&human rights given to them&could also learn about the God who created them&his truth.

3) FREEDOM FOR FOREIGN SLAVES: And remember the law against oppression in Israel and the law that slaves must not be returned if they ran away above. If foreign slaves ran away or were injured, they also could be freed. And it’s also quite reasonable to assume that they or friends could have bought their freedom if they wished as well.

AGAIN, even these laws God gave to Moses were not His ideal. They were first steps to His ideal to GREATLY soften the cruelty of the ancient world towards minorities, slaves and others.

“As for slavery, just check Ephesians 6:5, 1 Timothy 6:1-2. There are numerous others, but these are sufficient to carry the point.” Catalyst, Youtube atheist
2 verses are NEVER enough to carry a point :) and can easily be taken out of context. The question on slavery is one that is a bit more complicated.

The fact is that kidnapping was a capital crime in the Bible (see below verse) and that God numerous times instructed the Israelites NOT to oppress foreigners since they had been slaves themselves in the past and they should not treat others so horribly as they had been treated. So, pretty much all “slavery” was either chosen voluntarily (there were a few cases where it was an act of justice, but even oppressing the slaves was forbidden).

Biblical “slavery” is mostly a welfare system where the slaves had to work for their keep instead of depending on taxes on others to live...a FAR better system than we have now in most countries where those who work hard have to give huge amounts of their money to those who aren’t working. Furthermore the human rights of indentured servants in Israel was FAR higher than anywhere else in the world at that time. If even a tooth was knocked out, the indentured servant was freed.

Check this site for why the Bible did not advocate hatred of women and far more supportive of their equality than any surrounding nation. His principles were intended for their protection and best good.