Mormonism and the nature of God/Theodicy/Death of innocents

Why would a loving God allow the death of innocents?

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Question: Why would a loving God would kill innocent children in the flood of Noah's day?

LDS scripture shows God exercising incredible restraint and only issuing the flood when there was no other option

Hugh Nibley wrote:

In giving us a much fuller account than the Bible of how the Flood came about, the [Enoch material in the Book of Moses] settles the moral issue with several telling parts: 1. God’s reluctance to send the Flood and his great sorrow at the event. 2. The peculiar brand of wickedness that made the Flood mandatory. 3. The frank challenge of the wicked to have God do his worst. 4. The happy and beneficial side of the event—it did have a happy outcome. [1]

The Joseph Smith Translation portrays God, and even nature itself, as mourning and weeping at the great sinfulness of mankind (Moses 7:28,37,40,45).

The depiction of the scene is so grim that Enoch himself begins to weep, but the Lord tells him, “Lift up your heart, and be glad; and look,” after which Enoch sees a vision of the earth repopulated from his righteous descendant, Noah and salvation coming through Christ (including little children) (Moses 7:44–45, see also Moroni 8:19 on salvation of children).

Enoch pleaded with the Lord, and the Lord delayed the Flood to give humanity another chance (Moses 7:50–52).

In the JST, God didn’t unleash nature; he held it back as long as he could.

Thus, rather than seeing God as capricious or a type of genocidal maniac, LDS scripture shows him exercising incredible restraint and only issuing the flood when there was no other option. Further, God makes ample provision for the salvation of all his children, and in LDS theology would not condemn children to hell, but instead exalts them (Mosiah 3:18-21, Mosiah 15:25, DC 29:46-47, DC 74:7).


Question: Why would a loving God kill the firstborn of Egypt? (Exodus 12:12)

This was God's last option, not His first. He took no delight in it.

This had nothing to do with God deriving some sort of pleasure from killing "innocent children for the actions of others." God didn't want to kill anyone. Over and over and over again Moses came to Pharaoh, asking him to let the children of Israel go. The Pharaoh refused the request every time. There were nine plagues the preceded the Passover; Pharaoh could have gotten the message, but he didn't. This was God's last option, not His first. He took no delight in it. The killing of the Passover lamb and the placement of its blood above the doorway was a symbolic representation of how Christ would save us through his sacrifice.


Joseph Fielding Smith: "This was also in the similitude of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ"

Joseph Fielding Smith:

When the Israelites left Egypt, the Lord gave them the passover. They were to take a lamb without blemish; they were not to break any of its bones. They were to kill it, cook it, and eat it with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. This feast they were to remember annually thereafter until Christ should come. This was also in the similitude of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. If you stop to consider it, it was at the time of the passover that our Lord was taken and crucified in fulfillment of the promises that had been made that he would come to be our Redeemer.[2]


Notes

  1. Hugh Nibley, Enoch the Prophet, pp. 4–5.
  2. Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:22.