“God Destroys No Man” Yet “God Destroyed All Flesh” – How do We Harmonize This?

“God destroys no man. Everyone who is destroyed will have destroyed himself.”(Christ’s Object Lessons Page 84) No-Man-Is-An-Island

This statement is used by some to mean that God does not exercise destructive power to destroy the sinner.  But the context itself if we understand actually is saying the opposite.   She continues by saying:

“By rejecting the first warning from God, Pharaoh of old sowed the seeds of obstinacy, and he reaped obstinacy.” (.ibid Page 84, 85)

Pharaoh destroyed himself.  How?  She continues “…the waters of the sea closed over his horses and his chariots and his men of war.”  (.ibid Page 85)

Now, a few questions should be asked at this point:
What does it mean that Pharaoh destroyed himself?   Was it Pharaoh’s hand that finally let the water of the Red Sea go?  Is this what is meant by “Everyone who is destroyed will have destroyed himself?”    Obviously not.  There is more to it, and we must study to show ourselves approved.

God was the one who parted the waters of the Red Sea and it was His hand which let the water’s go.  In fact, the Song of Moses in the book of Deuteronomy tells us of who destroyed in this instance.

Exodus 15:1-6  Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.  (2)  The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.  (3)  The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.  (4)  Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.  (5)  The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.  (6)  Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.

We are told in the book of Revelation 15:2 that we are going to sing “the song of Moses” when we stand on sea of glass.

Where will those who say it is evil for God to destroy be standing at this time?   Will they be singing those words?  Can they truly say that by His hand He dashed the enemy in pieces?  Or is it possible that they may be standing on the side of Satan calling His judgments unjust, unrighteous, and unmerciful?

We need to understand that men will not just throw themselves into the lake of fire with their own physical strength and power.  Men do not kill themselves by taking the sword, knife or gun to themselves in most instances.  That is not what Ellen White means by “Men destroy themselves”.  It has to do with the actions of the man resulting in their loss of eternal life.  Not the exercise of destructive power.  There are other agencies that will exercise destructive power on them, including God Himself.

There is a doctrine or teaching called “God Doesn’t Kill” or “God Doesn’t Destroy”.   This teaching though it sounds and looks good to the eyes at first glance, just as the fruit did to Eve.  It is contrary to many of the plainest statements in scripture, just as the words to Eve in the garden were.   And followed to its logical end will lead souls to give up the plain teachings of the Bible.

God’s love is represented in our day as being of such **a character as would forbid His destroying the sinner.** Men reason from their own low standard of right and justice….

The plea may be made that a loving Father would not see His children suffering the punishment of God by fire while He had the power to relieve them. But God would, for the good of His subjects and for their safety, punish the transgressor. God does not work on the plan of man. He can do infinite justice that man has no right to do before his fellow man. Noah would have displeased God to have drowned one of the scoffers and mockers that harassed him, but God drowned the vast world. Lot would have had no right to inflict punishment on his sons-in-law, but God would do it in strict justice.

Who will say God will not do what He says He will do?”—Ellen White Manuscript Releases 12:207-209;

Ellen White clearly believed that God does destroy, and that the teaching that He didn’t was contrary to the plainest statements that He said He would do.  And to question it was as much the same question as “Hath God said?”  Satan’s first question to Eve in the garden.  The question was given to shroud the word of God in mystery.  The word is plain.   God will do what He says He will do.

In the book of Genesis speaking of the flood we are told:

Gen 6:7   And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth;

Gen 6:13  …I will destroy them with the earth.

Gen 6:17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

So a question…
Did God do it?  Does God destroy man?  Does the word of God say God will destroy men?  “I will destroy man.”  The question now is:  Do we believe the word of God?

“In mercy to the world, God blotted out its wicked inhabitants in Noah’s time. In mercy he destroyed the corrupt dwellers in Sodom. Through the deceptive power of Satan, the workers of iniquity obtain sympathy and admiration, and are thus constantly leading others to rebellion. It was so in Cain’s and in Noah’s day, and in the time of Abraham and Lot; it is so in our time. It is in mercy to the universe that God will finally destroy the rejecters of his grace.” (The Great Controversy p. 543)

Some said it was contrary to His character to destroy at the time of the flood.  There is no new thing under the sun.

“As sin became general, it appeared less and less sinful, and they finally declared that the divine law was no longer in force; that it was contrary to the character of God to punish transgression; and they denied that His judgments were to be visited upon the earth.” (Ellen White Patriarchs and Prophets Page 99, 100)

Some say “God doesn’t do it by His own hand.”  But is that true?

“I am instructed that when the Lord’s time comes, should no change have taken place in the hearts of proud, ambitious human beings, men will find that the hand that has been strong to save will be strong to destroy. No earthly power can stay the hand of God.” {Ellen White PH090 16.2} Feb. 15, 1904.

Sometimes God allows sinners to fall into the hand of the fallen angel’s or even evil people and this satisfies the divine wrath of God.   However, God also commands His own people and angel’s to execute justice.   One thing we should understand.  God doesn’t command His people to do things that He wouldn’t do.

“Under God the angels are all-powerful. On one occasion, in obedience to the command of Christ, they slew of the Assyrian army in one night one hundred and eighty-five thousand men.” {DA 700} (1898).

To those who say that God is too loving that He cannot do such things, that He cannot command His angels and His people to make wars, war is cruel and evil, or God cannot command such things, please read the following:

The Lord is regarded as cruel by many in requiring His people to make war with other nations. They say that it is contrary to His benevolent character. But He who made the world, and formed man to dwell upon the earth, has unlimited control over all the works of His hands, and it is His right to do as He pleases, and what He pleases with the work of His hands. Man has no right to say to his Maker, Why doest Thou thus? There is no injustice in His character. He is the Ruler of the world, and a large portion of His subjects have rebelled against His authority, and have trampled upon His law. He has bestowed upon them liberal blessings, and surrounded them with everything needful, yet they have bowed to images of wood and stone, silver and gold, which their own hands have made. They teach their children that these are the Gods that give them life and health, and make their lands fruitful, and give them riches and honor. They scorn the God of Israel. They despise His people, because their works are righteous. “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works” (Ps. 14:1). God has borne with them until they filled up the measure of their iniquity, and then He has brought upon them swift destruction. He has used His people as instruments of His wrath, to punish wicked nations, who have vexed them, and seduced them into idolatry.” {2SM 333.1}

Since God doesn’t command His people to do things contrary to His character.  And we know that God will destroy the wicked.   It is therefore evident that the saying “God destroys no man” must not be referring to the exercise of destructive power, but rather to who brings the consequence of sin upon us.  It is obviously our choice to sin, and therefore by this we bring the punishment. However the punishment itself is not sin, and if it is the hand of God, or the power of God, it is a true and righteous judgment of God.

I have set up a page to answer some of the common questions concerning this doctrine.  If there is a question you would like answered or dealt with, please let me know.

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