Why Would God Have Permitted Any Form of Servitude or Slavery?
by J Warner Wallace
Many skeptics claim the God of the Bible actually endorses slavery. They make this claim on the basis of specific terminology used in the Old and New Testament. We’ve already highlighted the difference, however, between the New Testament Servitude of the Ancient Near East and the New World Slavery of our American ancestors. But it’s fair to ask an even more foundational question: Why would God allow any form of servitude or slavery in the first place? This question is a subset of other skeptical queries attempting to reconcile the existence of evil with the existence of a loving, all powerful God. While there are many reasonable explanations and responses to the problem of evil, this particular objection related to slavery is grounded in a presupposition about God’s purpose here on earth.
Did God design our planet to be an immutable place of perfection or did He design it to accommodate our own free will choices? What role does personal freedom have on our circumstances? One thing is clear: from a Christian perspective, we know that this world is not our home:
1 Corinthians 7:29-31
But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none; and those who weep, as though they did not weep; and those who rejoice, as though they did not rejoice; and those who buy, as though they did not possess; and those who use the world, as though they did not make full use of it; for the form of this world is passing away.
We also know we are simply travelers passing through this earthly home on our way to something that is perfect:
All these people (the faithful examples from the Old Testament) were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one.
In addition to this, we know God intends to take this world and recreate it entirely…
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