Is War Biblical?

Some have blurred the lines with the notion of earthly war and the concept of Biblical principles. For example, some atheists and agnostics use the wars in the Bible to show that Christianity is just as cruel as any other belief system when empowered but I think those groups make a faulty conclusion just as much as Christians do who claim the side of justifying any given war.

Now this isn’t to say that a person can’t see a just reason for going to war (such as to defend a weaker nation, or to right some moral wrong) but I’m talking about finding some actual Biblical principles that would allow Christians to stand any say “The Bible says this is Fine”.

Here’s what we know:

  1. The Bible portrays wars. But just because the Bible documents wars doesn’t mean that its endorsing or refuting a principle of war.
  2. The Bible records times where God tells Israel to go to war. And yet, in those times, Israel is oftentimes the weaker nation and God tells them that He will fight for them. At the other times God makes a statement on judgment on the nation being attacked. And yet other times, we don’t know just that God is there fighting as well. In each of those times, God seems to be the active motivator of the thing leaving humans no justifiable excuse except that God told the nation to do it.
  3. The Bible reveals that God uses war to accomplish His purposes. Sometimes its a very evil person, like Nebuchadnezzar, who is called God’s Tool to accomplish His will. Sure these tools are willingly doing it and even rejoicing in their excess violence but then God turns around to them (in Isaiah) and says He’ll judge them for their wickedness.
  4. The Bible shows God fighting in wars. Some of the bloodiest wars though are when God Himself fights. Take for instance Revelation when Christ is fighting in such a way that the imagery shows a valley roughly three feet deep with blood and Christ fighting as if He were in a winepress: vivid!

But in all of these cases the only one labeled as Just is God: not the war. God is just when He moves the nations because He does that. God is just when He judges the nations because that’s His prerogative. But in regards to man its always a pitiful thing when we see it. This person is used to be a judgment and then they will be judged because they were wicked when they were used.

In other words, with our utter sin the choices men are left with are bad and worst. So we can either (a) let the violence occur or (b) bring the violence against another. Both cases an aberration of life is being performed and a cosmic drama if you will of man left to His own devices. It’s no wonder that when God sees the Kingdoms of the world in Daniel 7 they’re all ferocious, amoral, animals.

As Christians I think we have to see that God may indeed be using a war and that there may temporally justifiable reasons for any given war on both sides but we should never stand up and say any given war is Biblical unless its a voice from Heaven that declares it so.

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