Biblical Reasons For War
January 27, 2003
A war against Saddam Hussein and Iraq is inevitable at this point. The United States, led by President George W. Bush, is about to embark on a mission sometime in the next few weeks to go to war against an aggressive terrorist and adversary to this country. President Bush claims going to war against a defiant leader of a country that would love to destroy this nation is the right thing to do from a moral standpoint.
Of course, we have heard from many anti-war zealots in the past few weeks screaming about the horrors of going to war. They have held many visible peace rallys all across America lately in an attempt to pressure our leaders from pursuing war as a resolution to this conflict. Interestingly, although many of the members of the “peace without war” movement are avowed atheists who dismiss the Bible as only an interesting book of stories, that has not stopped them from using the Bible to justify and defend their position.
Let’s examine the ironic juxtaposition of these two opposite views on the Biblical reasons for war. On one hand, President Bush claims that conducting war against Iraq is the morally responsible thing to do. Yet, those who oppose the war believe there should be a peaceful solution to the problem with Iraq.
Who is right?
There are many Christians who believe and adopt the view of “peace without war.” This issue is debatable amongst Christians and it is a tough issue to reconcile in the hearts and minds of those who have not researched the issue of war in the Bible. However, the Word of God is loud and clear on this issue as it is on so many other issues of right and wrong. The Bible is the Christian’s final authority in every matter.
From a theological standpoint, war is an inevitable result of the sin of man. God created man to be perfect in the Garden of Eden. In fact, the first man (Adam) was perfect in every way and was created so he would never die. Furthermore, the creation that God made for man to live in was also perfect. Nevertheless, when man sinned, everything in the world changed.
War is a now a byproduct of the evil that resulted from man’s sin. God did not create war nor does He approve of it. For example, God prevented David, who was a man after God’s own heart, from finishing the Temple because he was a man of war. War exists because man sinned and it became a part of the human condition from the very beginning.
Today, just as it has for thousands of years, sin exists in every corner and crevice of this world. Until God decides to bring this world to an end, war will always be a part of the human experience. The Bible prophecies that there will be no peace until the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, returns to earth. This leaves us with the question of how Christians should respond to war.
Since one of the Ten Commandments is “thou shalt not murder,” one would assume that we should not go to war since killing is involved. On the surface, the issue seems to be an easy one. It stands to reason that Christians should not be involved in war since it involves killing. Interestingly, though, even God Himself ordered His children to go to war and specifically ordered them to kill on many occasions. This seems to be a gross contradiction. But the Bible does not contradict itself. There must be a logical explanation to reconcile this conundrum in the Scriptures.
The Ten Commandments were given to individuals, not to nations. In every case that God ordered His people to go to war, it was always for their nation to defend against an enemy who wanted to defeat them. The enemy had no desire for peace and always had the intention of destroying God’s people from the face of the earth. As a result, war became the only defensive measure God’s people had to defend against this. Do you think Adolph Hitler would have been stopped had it not been for the military efforts against him in World War II?
Let me make one thing very clear. God is a God of peace. It is in His nature that peace exist since that is what He ordained for His creation from the very beginning. At the same time, God is a God of judgment. Oftentimes, God uses His people as instruments of His judgment. While we cannot fathom all the ways of God and His plans, the Bible is full of many examples of when God used His people in acts of war to preserve them from being destroyed. God also used His people to exercise judgment on the enemies of God.
In light of this, how should Christians respond to war against Iraq?
The key argument of the anti-war crowd is that innocent people will die. The fact is that we will all die someday in the flesh. Some people will die through natural causes in old age. Others will die because of disease. Still others will have their life taken because of accidents and war. Regardless of how we will die, it will certainly happen to everyone some day. That is why we must treat each day like it is a gift from God (and it is!). That is why the Bible says that “today is the day of salvation.” There may not be a tomorrow for you.
It is very sad that people will die when the war begins with Iraq. But let’s not forget that over 3,000 innocent people died on September 11, 2001. Many people are dying each and every day all over the world because of wars between nations and people who disagree with each other on a wide variety of issues. That is why God’s command that we love one another and He loves us is so vitally important. God’s command for peace and love prevent the need for war. But too many nations have rejected the notion peace and love. Instead, they choose conflict and hate as a means for getting what they want.
God absolutley hates war, but He allows it to exist much like He allows other forms of evil that are born out of the sin in the world. Romans 8:28 says that “in all things God works together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Does God delight in the fact that evil exists in the world because of sin? Absolutely not.
God is in complete control of everything that happens on earth seated on His throne in heaven. Nothing happens that God does not allow to happen. But although God gives humans free will to choose their own path, He still has the power to take the evil of man and use it to fulfill His plan and purpose. God is not bound by the limits of human events. Everything that is happening right now is just a vapor compared to eternity. Sometime soon, Jesus will be returning to earth to rapture those who believe in Him. Until that happens, though, sin will remain and evil will abound.
Just as the children of Israel fought against people who wanted to destroy them, the United States has a right and a responsibility to defend itself against its enemies. Thankfully, the forefathers of this nation understood this and defended our country to their death so that we could enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today. It is now our turn to defend this nation from its enemies to insure that future generations will be able to relish those same liberties.
God has used the United States of America in a great way to fulfill His plans and purposes. As long as we honor and glorify Him as a nation, we will continue to be an integral part of His plan. That is why I believe wholeheartedly that God is on America’s side in this conflict with Iraq and in the war against terrorism. We are simply defending ourselves from people and nations in the world who want to destroy us.
May God continue to richly bless this country and every nation of the world that honors Him. We must pray for our leaders to have wisdom as they make the tough decisions regarding war. We must also pray for God to protect the men and women of the armed forces who are in this fight. May God bless every person who will be directly affected by this conflict. May He become very real to them in the midst of this trying and tumultuous time in their lives. I pray that God would pour out His love on every soul who needs to receive by faith the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
God bless America!