We are often told that ‘God loves the children’. This is especially heard from anti-abortionists who decree that all life is precious, and God has a plan for each individual (and would-be individual). There are, after all, numerous verses in the bible that mention God’s love for His children, in particular it can be read in 1 John 5 and Galatians 3 (among others), where it is stated that those who follow Jesus are children of God, and that regardless of male or female, Jew or Gentile, slave or free, all are equal children in faith.
But talk without walk leaves empty words. A brief biblical review of God’s history with children shows that God repeatedly acted without love toward children. Some acts were specifically done by God, some done for God through other [supernatural] biblical characters, while other acts were done by God’s followers, with God’s condoning such actions.
The book of Genesis chapters 6-7 both recount the story of Noah saving his family and two of each kind of animal. Lost in the misdirection is the genocide of a planet’s population, which would have included countless families and children. With some bad people on the planet, God applied the wet equivalent of a scorched-Earth policy with “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy the earth”.
In a similar vein as the planet-wide destruction, Sodom and Gomorrah were targeted as they were filled with ‘wicked’ people. Entire cities were wiped out, but this time it was with actual fire. The inhabitants would have burned to death. Again, there would have been children present, who would have been burnt with the rest. Only Lot, his wife and daughters escaped; his wife did not make it far before being turned into salt, for the wrongful act of turning to look at the destruction of her once home. However, before the destruction and to show how precious children were, there was a mob was demanding Lot’s [male] visitors. Lot derided the wickedness of the mob for their demands, but offered up his virgin daughters to be gang-raped (Genesis 19). If he was an example of righteous behavior, exactly how much worse were the people of the mob? – would they actually have been much worse?
In Exodus 11, there is the Plague of the Firstborn where God killed the firstborn sons of all: from the Pharaoh’s son on the throne, to the slave; even animal firstborn were not to be spared. This was all done with God’s assistance in hardening Pharaoh’s heart, so that God could show His wonders. Mass killing of children needed to be done in order to show God’s might, and no mind would be allowed to change that plan.
Job 1 has the honorable servant having his faith tested through numerous ordeals that Satan inflicts, and God allowed. Among these ordeals, all Job’s children are killed, crushed when winds blew out the walls of the building they were inside. That God later granted Job a new family does little for the little ones who were crushed to death.
Biblical Heroes such as Moses and Joshua were great killers for God. Moses in Numbers 31, had his people raze the city of Midian, and kill all the people within; when his soldiers spared the women, he had his men kill all the women who had known a man, so the virgin girls could be kept as [sex] slaves. Joshua razed the city of Jericho in Joshua 6, but he was more thorough, not leaving any captives. The bible is explicit in how none were spared, male or female, young or old. The exception for Joshua was Rahab, who assisted by protecting his men before the city was overthrown. Children were killed en masse by the sword, except for those taken as spoils, as sex slaves.
Abraham was ordered to sacrifice his son Isaac in Genesis 22; God waited for Isaac to be bound atop the alter, and Abraham’s knife to be raised, before stopping the sacrifice. Jephthah’s daughter was not so lucky (she does not even get a name in the bible), for God allowed her to be sacrificed to His honor (Judges 11).
Both Abraham and Jephthah were warriors for God, as were Moses and Joshua; they combined to slaughter and enslave countless children. Is it any wonder that soldiers waiting for battle had dreams of crushing their enemies and bashing the brains of their children on rocks – all in the service of The Lord – as stated in Psalm 137.
The ‘child’ (for anti-abortionists) does not even need to be born in order for it to be deemed worthy of being killed. Numbers 5 has a dust-water test for women who had their faithfulness to their husbands questioned; failing the test, if she is pregnant, leads to a Holy abortion – making her belly swell with an induced miscarriage. If that is too passive, waiting for God to induce an abortion, Menahem in 2 Kings 15 raided Tirzah; for the people not surrendering, he punished them and that included "... all the women therein that were with child he ripped up." 2 Kings 22 blends the will of a biblical hero with God's might, when Elijah was mocked by "... little children out of the city...", to which he cursed the children and God had two bears maul 42 of the children to death.
Lastly, and most egregiously, we have the book of 2 Samuel 12. King David wanted Bathsheba, but she was married; David decided to remove the competition by sending the husband [Uriah] off to war to be killed – and he was killed. The enabled David to marry Bathsheba. The Lord was upset with David, and in order to punish him, allowed a son to be born, only to suffer for seven days before dying. If there is any innocent individual, it would be a newborn. It had no control over how it came to be, who its parents were, and had no means of doing anything except receive care after being born. It was this helpless innocent that was stricken and made to suffer before being killed.
God has no problem directly or indirectly, with the killing of children (fetuses or actually born individuals). Contrary to the admonition in 1 John 5 and Galatians 3, there are those who are not children of God. As not part of being in the ‘ingroup’ they are of the ‘outgroup’ and with Holy Religious division, not truly human deserving of rights. At best, God’s love for children should have an asterisk, for if you are not part of ‘His children’ then you are of ‘their children.’ Revelation 2 states that “I will kill her children with death.” Here, it is not specifically referring to actual children; however, through biblical examples, though not specially isolating children, they are included. If virgin girls can be taken as sex slaves, boys can be killed with the sword, and a newborn be made sick and suffer until it dies, why should it be assumed that other children would be safe? By repeated examples, children are not safe.
God loves His ingroup, and not those outside – children or not. (rather, the fundamentalists’ adherence to biblical doctrine denies love as a concept does not actually have emotion). It is a Good Beyond God, the use of reason and recognition of individual rights – and of humanity – that enables one to truly love.