In one passage of the Bible, God tells King Saul of Israel to kill people. God says to the king, “Kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child” (1 Samuel 15:3). How is it possible to reconcile this with a scripture passage like John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
American King James Version×: “For God so loved the world?” How can a God of love kill people, even children? It doesn’t seem to make sense.
The real answer comes when you see the whole purpose of God for mankind.
This is a question that has stumped many people trying to make sense of the Bible. The real answer comes when you see the whole purpose of God for mankind.
God, the loving Creator of all mankind, has killed or ordered the killing of many, many people. Consider the killing He did in the flood of Noah’s time; with the fiery destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; in Israel’s invasion of Canaan. Consider the continuing wars of Israel against her enemies. All of this killing amounts to a lot of dead bodies! What is going on here if God is so loving?
To answer, let’s first of all establish that only God has the right to take a human life. He has given this right to man’s governments. “The authorities that exist are appointed by God,” says the apostle Paul (Romans 13:1 Romans 13:1Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
American King James Version×). The ruler “is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:4 Romans 13:4For he is the minister of God to you for good. But if you do that which is evil, be afraid; for he bears not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath on him that does evil.
American King James Version×). When God told King Saul to kill men, women and children, He authorized Saul with the right to kill.
Everywhere in Scripture where God kills people or orders people killed, He does so because His victims practice evil. For instance, He sent the flood because the “wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Genesis 6:5 Genesis 6:5And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
American King James Version×). He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because the inhabitants were “exceedingly wicked and sinful” (Genesis 13:13 Genesis 13:13But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.
American King James Version×). He ordered Saul to kill all the Amalekite men, women children and even animals because they were Israel’s enemies (1 Samuel 15:2).
God would rather not have to kill people. He says, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked would turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11 Ezekiel 33:11Say to them, As I live, said the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn you, turn you from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?
American King James Version×). However, He has to do it to advance His purposes. His ultimate desire is for “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
Since God has killed all these people, how is He going to save them? The answer reveals one of the great truths of the Bible that the world does not know. God is going to resurrect all of the people who have ever died, including everyone He killed. Jesus said, “The hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth” (John 5:28-29 John 5:28-29  Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,
 And shall come forth; they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, to the resurrection of damnation.
American King James Version×).
At that time, all the “dead, small and great” will be “standing before God” (Revelation 20:12 Revelation 20:12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
American King James Version×). God will restore all the people he has killed to flesh and blood life. He will give them back the life He took! Then these people who once practiced evil will have a chance to turn to God.
God kills people to thwart their evil that interferes with His purposes. But remember, “The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up” (1 Samuel 2:6). Their evil at one time put them at odds with God’s purposes. When God brings them up from the grave, He will show them how kind and loving He truly is. Then, if the people God has killed believe and obey Him, they will understand why He had to kill them. They will thank Him for making them alive for evermore.