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God's Kill Count

Did God really kill millions of people in the Old Testament?  What is God's kill count?  Some people have gone through the Bible and counted how many people God is recorded - in His own Word - of having killed.  They have come up with 2,559,449.  These are the recorded deaths that have an exact number attached to them.  However, if we estimate the deaths where exact numbers are not given - such as the destruction of Sodom and Gorromah and the wiping out of the global world population except for eight people with a flood - we can figure at least 24,681,116 people killed.

Common Sense Promo

We will examine this, but first, we must ask who is asking and what their motives are.  Two types of people ask these kinds of questions.  

The first group consists of thinking Christians and non-Christians who genuinely want to understand the meaning of some of the horrific stories of the Old Testament and God's confusing actions. It is puzzling to bring unity to the actions of the loving God in the New Testament and the apparently angry God of the Old Testament. Yet we know there is only one God.  Never be afraid to ask hard questions in the search for Truth.

Soldier Looking Through Barbwire Fence

The second group is made up of people - usually humanistic atheists - who want to discredit and mock God, the Bible and Christianity.  For this group, let’s put things in perspective.  The Old Testament covers a period of about 4,000 years.  In 4,000 years, God has been estimated to be directly responsible for 24,681,116 deaths, or about 6,200 deaths a year.  In the one-hundred-year period of the 1900s, humanistic atheists have been responsible for the deaths of over 108,769,000 people [11,500,00 - Nazi, 54,769,000 - Soviet, 42,500,00 - Mao] or 1,087,690 per year.  This does not count the millions killed by other atheistic leaders or the over 63,000,000 defenceless babies who have been slaughtered in the womb.  I have nothing else to say to this highly prejudiced, hypocritical group; however, for those seeking answers, let’s move on.

There are several points to consider.  Some are general in nature, and others deal more specifically with why God would kill so many people in the Old Testament.

General Points On
God's Kill Count

God Is The Creator And Giver Of Life.

World Surrounded By Lights

Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.  Gen. 2:7, NIV

God is the Creator of the universe and mankind specifically; therefore, He is the Owner and has the complete right to do with His creation what He wants.  No one has a right to life before God.  Life is a gift from God and can be withdrawn at any time.  

We instinctively know that everyone dies at some point.  No one lives forever.  God gives each person a maximum lifespan.  That lifespan can be shortened by accidents or the actions of evil people, but it cannot be lengthened - except in rare cases [i.e. Hezekiah].  

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment… Heb. 9:27, NIV

We will all stand before God and explain how we managed the life He gave us.  When some people cross a particular line of evil, God calls them to His court for immediate accountability.  

Please note that the humanistic atheists who slaughtered over 100,000,000 people in 100 years had no legitimate authority to take the lives of those people, many of whom were deliberately starved to death.  This was cold-blooded murder of mostly defensiveness people who had done them no harm.

We All Deserve Instant Death

When Satan and his angels committed treason and rebelled against God, Hell was created for their ultimate destiny.  Hell was never intended for human beings.  Adam, as the representative of the human race, was given a choice.  He could remain loyal to his Creator and divine Lover, or he could viciously betray God and join Satan in his treasonous rebellion.  God clearly warned him of the consequences.

And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” Gen. 2:16-17, NIV

The tree was simply an external object to test Adam’s inward commitment to God or Satan.  When he chose Satan, Hell became our destiny as well.

Every Sin Is A Violation Of God

God is holy and righteous, which is another way of saying He is perfect. We cannot really understand that concept, as we have never been anywhere close to perfect ourselves.  Every sin we commit, no matter how small, is like driving a sharp knife into God and twisting it.  It causes immense pain, and most of the time, we don’t even care.  God would be perfectly just in wiping the entire world’s population into Hell right now.  It is only His love and mercy that delay His justice.

Specific Points On
God's Kill Count

God Is Merciful

In many cases in the Old Testament, God gave time and opportunity for repentance. In the case of the Flood, God gave them 100 years to change their minds and abandon their evil ways. The Canaanites were given 400 years to change their ways before God exercised His property rights and gave the land to someone else. Even then, they had forty years' notice to vacate the land but chose to stay and fight.  In the case of Pharaoh, God gave him nine warning plagues to give him an opportunity to obey before bringing the fatal one.

Death For Defiance

In many of the cases where Israelites were killed, it was for deliberate rebellion [the poisonous serpents] against God’s leadership or violating God’s holiness [looking into the ark].

Enemy Combatants

When enemy armies invaded Israel, God sometimes gave supernatural protection to Israel’s armies, and sometimes He directly intervened and killed attacking soldiers and armies.


Empty Courtroom

This life is a serious business.  We are traitors against God and deserve death.  Only by accepting that Jesus Christ paid our just penalty and took the justice of God on our behalf can we escape paying the penalty for ourselves in eternity.  We will all end up before the judgment seat of God, whether we are called in early or allowed to live our entire lives.

If we judge God as evil [or even good] for His actions, we are arrogantly assuming ourselves to be greater than God.  We are attempting to call God into our court where we feel we have sufficient superiority, knowledge and unbiased actions to judge God.  It is the same pride the devil and Adam and Eve evidenced.  It will meet the same result, for God will be judged by no created being.

Well-meaning Christians who try to make excuses for God and say things like in the Old Testament, God was just acting according to the expectation of the culture of the time are missing the point.  They need to stop being embarrassed by God and His Law and realize that both God’s justice and God’s mercy are equally worthy of praise.  If you think God in the Old Testament was hard, you do not want to enter eternity outside of Jesus Christ.

Do not let any criticism of God or the Bible shake your faith.  We may not understand why God did something, but that does not mean there isn’t a reason.  God is perfect and righteous, and we are not His judge.

Reference Sources

God’s Kill Count:



Atheist’s Kill Count:




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