Mormonism and the nature of God/Theodicy/Noah's flood
This page is based on an answer to a question submitted to the FAIR web site, or a frequently asked question.
How would you respond if someone asked how a loving God would kill innocent children in the flood of Noah's day in such a way as a flood?
There are a few ways to respond to this issue:
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.(Enoch the Prophet, pp. 4–5)
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).