How Could a Loving God Send Plagues Against People?- The 10 Plagues of Egypt
A movie I think that would accurately depict gods motives and use of the 10 plagues in bible would be The Reaping with Hilary Swank.  

How Could a Loving God Send Plagues Against People?- The 10 Plagues of Egypt

How is it, if God is loving, he could send plagues against people that resulted in their deaths? The most well known example in the bible comes from the Israelite exodus from Egypt. This also provides another difficulty for the christian among various plagues God has sent because children were among those who lost their lives.

“The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge -- and pray God we have not lost it -- that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.” 
-President Ronald Reagan - June 6, 1984 POINTE DU HOC  

Gods use of the 10 plagues was an act of Judgment Exodus 6 6-7 not an arbitrary event. Pharaoh was holding the Israelites in a brutal form of slavery and he was afraid of a large scale slave uprising, so he had all Hebrew boys born to be drowned in the Nile.

“So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, “Every son who is born you shall cast into the river.”
-Exodus 1.22

“They worked the Israelites ruthlessly 14 and made their lives bitter with difficult labor in brick and mortar and in all kinds of fieldwork. They ruthlessly imposed all this work on them.”
-Exodus 1 13-14

“When you serve as midwife to the Hebrew women and see them on the birthstool, if it is a son, you shall kill him, but if it is a daughter, she shall live
-Exodus 1.16

Israel was in slavery for hundreds of years in Egypt. How may prayers of Gods people went unanswered while under slavery in Egypt? Gods people lived under the tyrant pharaoh and many Israelites were killed by Egyptians included by starvation. Egypt was guilty of a terrible form of slavery and mass murder of innocent children.

“proclaiming, "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished.”
-Exodus 34 6-7

The ten plagues were also used to show the Egyptians, and the world, [many foreigners in Egypt the most advanced nation of its time] that there is only one god and they were worshiping false gods Exodus 7.5 9.14 9.29 10 16-19. Every plague was aimed at showing the Egyptian gods are false. The plagues showed that pharaoh was not a god, and following him would lead to death.

“Context is everything in biblical interpretation.  The ancient Egyptians served many false gods.  The Plagues that were set upon the people of Egypt were relative to the gods of the land demonstrating that God was the true God and that their gods were weak, ineffective, and false. Plague of Turning the Nile to blood, Exodus 7:14-25.  Isis was the Egyptian god of the Nile. Khnum was the guardian of the Nile. Plague of Frogs, Exodus 8:1-5.  Heget was the goddess of birth and had the head of a frog. Plague of Gnats, Exodus 8:16-19.  Set was the god of the desert. Flies, Exodus 8:20-32.  Re was the sun god.  Uatchit was a god possibly represented by the fly. Death of Livestock, Exodus 9:1-7.  Hathor, goddess with a cow's head.  Apis was the bull god.  Boils, Exodus 9:8-12.  Sekmet goddess that had power over disease.  Sunu, the god of pestilence. Hail, Exodus 9:13-35.  Nut, the goddess of the sky.  Set god of storms. Locusts, Exodus 10:1-20.  Osiris, god of crops. Darkness, Exodus 10:21-29.  Re, the sun god.  Horus, a sun god.  Hathor, sky goddess. Death of firstborn, Exodus 11:1 - 12:30.  Min, god of reproduction.  Isis, goddess who protected children.  Pharaoh, considered a god.1
-“The Plagues and the Gods and Goddesses of Egypt,” as found in Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985. Matthew Slick (

“Moreover, the battle that waged throughout the days of Moses’ audiences with pharaoh was not between Yahweh and pharaoh, but between Yahweh and the gods of Egypt, who—during God’s invoking of the ten plagues—were proven to be powerless. The God of Israel himself said, “And against all the gods of Egypt, I will execute judgments—I am Yahweh” (Exod 12:12b). This conclusion is supported by the statement of Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, who had just heard a first-hand account of all the events: “Now I know that the Lord is greater than all the gods; because in the very thing in which they were proud, he proved to beabove them” (Exod 18:11). Jethro understood the point: Yahweh resoundingly won “the Battle of the Gods,” proving both to Israel, to Egypt, and to the rest of the Ancient Near East (hereinafter, “ANE”) that he alone is divine.
- Doug Petrovich THM MA Amenhotep II and the Historicity of the Exodus Pharaoh Associates for Biblical Research

Yahweh Alone is God

It worked!!! Egyptians started believing in God after the 6th plague Ex 9.20 and were spared from the rest of the plagues. Belief in God, not nationality was the deciding factor of who suffered the last four plagues. Some Egyptians even started asking pharaoh to let Israel go Ex 10.7. Many Egyptians would join Israel and went out of Egypt with the Israelites.

The Last Plague- Death of The Firstborn

“However the plagues were not sent because of babies. God did not kill them but pharaohs sin against god and the Egyptians. Had the babies kids of Egypt grown up in Egypt worshiping pharaoh they may have missed out on eternity,look at numbers 14 28-33 for this with isreal,kids indirectly suffer for the sins of the parents.When an abusive father kills his child in a fit of rage, the child dies BECAUSE of the SINS of the FATHER, but the child is not being PUNISHED by being killed. When a child dies of an illness caused by neglect of a parent, they die BECAUSE (somewhat, at least) of the SINS of the parent, but their death would not be considered as a PUNISHMENT on the child for the neglect of the parent. It would be a CONSEQUENCE of the sin, but not a ‘punishment’ per se.The Exodus story involves a corporate or national punishment”
- Was God being evil when He killed all the firstborn in Egypt? Christian Think Tank

Any Egyptian who put the blood of the lamb [picture of Jesus] on the doorpost was passed-over and was spared. The blood of the lamb is what distinguished believers from non believers. They had no reason to reject god after the first 9 plagues so they willingly disobeyed him on the tenth and received judgment, showing there was nothing special about pharaoh or any firstborn individual. Pharaoh allowed this to happen, he could have let Israel go the 9 times before. God was willing and wanting to relent from sending the plagues at any time Ex 10 13-14,19 10 16-19. When pharaoh asked, God stopped the plagues 8.15 8.29-32.

"'Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked?,' says the Lord God, 'And not rather that he should turn from his way and live? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone,' says the Lord God. 'So turn and live! Say to them, "As I live," says the Lord God, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways. For why will you die?"'"
-Ez. 18.23,32; 33.11

“ If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. 9 And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it.”
-Jeremiah 18 7-10

Anyone who tried to stop Israel and Gods plan of salvation through messiah will receive judgment, this is throw out the bible. It is a Jewish principle to pick the better of two evils, death of messianic line and all go to hell, or death of pharaoh and the firstborns to convince pharaoh to let them go. God was relenting from more severe punishments but not until the death of the firstborn, was pharaoh going to let the Israelites go. The firstborn who did not place the blood of the lamb on the doorpost would go straight to haven after death. They would also avoid growing up in a pagan system under pharaoh.

“The righteous perishes, And no man takes it to heart; Merciful men are taken away, While no one considers That the righteous is taken away from evil.”
-Isa. 57:1

Did God Harden Pharaohs Heart?

“But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the Lord had said.”
-Exodus 8.15

“And the Lord did what Moses asked. The flies left Pharaoh and his officials and his people; not a fly remained. 32 But this time also Pharaoh hardened his heart and would not let the people go.”
-Exodus 8.31

Pharaoh investigated and found that not even one of the animals of the Israelites had died. Yet his heart was unyielding and he would not let the people go
-Exodus 9.7

 “Why do you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh did? When Israel’s god dealt harshly with them,did they not send the Israelites out so they could go on their way?”
-1 Samuel 6.6

“And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils, for the boils were on the magicians and on all the Egyptians. But the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh; and he did not heed them, just as the LORD had spoken to Moses”
-Ex 9:11-12

וַיְחַזֵּ֤ק, a Piel tense of the verb “to make stronger”. It is key to note that this is the Pi’el form of the verb, which means God strengthen Pharaoh heart. So God only reinforce what was already in Pharaoh’s heart.

God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and we are also told that Pharaoh hardened his own heart (4 times). Both statements are true and do not contradict each other. There was no hope of convincing or converting Pharaoh so his heart would be hardened by God (6 times, 10 times in all). God did not allow him to change his mind and was given no room to do anything else but what his own sinful heart dictated. Notice that in a very real sense, all four of the following statements are true: (1) God hardened Pharaoh’s heart; (2) Moses hardened Pharaoh’s heart; (3) the words that Moses spoke hardened Pharaoh’s heart; (4) Pharaoh hardened his own heart. All four of these observations are accurate, depicting the same truth from different perspectives. In this sense, God is responsible for everything in the Universe, i.e., He has provided the occasion, the circumstances, and the environment in which all things (including people) operate. But He is not guilty of wrong in so doing. From a quick look at a simple Hebrew idiom, it is clear that God did not unjustly or directly harden Pharaoh’s heart. God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), He does not act unjustly (Psalms 33:5), and He has always allowed humans to exercise their free moral agency Deuteronomy 30:19. God, however, does use the wrong, stubborn decisions committed by rebellious sinners to further His causes Isaiah 10:5-11. In the case of Pharaoh’s hardened heart, God can be charged with no injustice, and the Bible can be charged with no contradiction. Humans were created with free moral agency and are culpable for their own actions.
-Who Hardened Pharaoh's Heart? Dave Miller PH.D Kyle Butt M.Div apologetic press

Was God Justified in his Judgment?

“Judgment is not opposed to Gods love and compassion, but rather springs from the character of a loving, caring god”
-Matthew Flannagan and paul Copan Did God really Command genocide

Man cannot judge the actions of a perfect holy god, it goes the other way around. According to that holy all knowing god, the answer is yes. For mankind to try and turn the sinners into the victims, and turn the judge of the world into a sinner, is an act of an evil heart.

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
-Isiah 5.20

Even in the liberal west, Brutal forms of slavery and mass murder of children would not be tolerated in a society. Gods actions during the plagues were a result of love for the victims, and his nature as being a perfect sinless judge. For there to be a truly loving god who hates evil and sin, he must also be a judge of sin.

“I used to think that wrath was unworthy of God. Isn't God love? Shouldn't divine love be beyond wrath? ?God is love,and God loves every person and every creature. That's exactly why God is wrathful against some of them. My last resistance to the idea of God's wrath was a casualty of the war in the former Yugoslavia, a region from which I come. According to some estimates, 200,000 people were killed, and over 3,000,000 were displaced. My villages and cities were destroyed, my people shelled day in and day out, some of them brutalize beyond imagination, and I could not imagine God not being angry. Or think of Rwanda in the last decade of the past century, where 800,000 people were hacked to death in one hundred days! How did God react to the carnage? By doting on the perpetrators in a grandfatherly fashion? By refusing to condemn the bloodbath but instead affirming the perpetrators' basic goodness? Wasn't God fiercely angry with them? Though I used to complain about the indecency of the idea of God's wrath, I cam to think that I would have to rebel against a God who wasn't wrathful at the sight of the world' evil. God isn't wrathful in spite of being love. God is wrathful because God is love”
-Miroslav Volf Princeton Theologian quoted in Is God a Moral Monster? by Paul Copan, 192

Israel stayed in slavery for over 200 years and Gods love forced him into action. The opposite of love is not anger, but hate. God is angry at things that destroy his creation and his love for us. On sep 11 the president gave orders to shoot down planes to save lives that the terrorist could have used to kill more innocent lives. Sometimes judges give the death penalty to certain murders, but we dont call them murders, we call them good, just, judges.

“God fights in compassion to defend the oppressed, and in anger against the oppressor”
-Holy War in the Bible: Christian Morality and an Old Testament Problem Heath A Thomas Jermey Evans Paul Copan

So while the death of anyone is bad and death itself is bad. Given the circumstances it was better than the alternative. God punishing does not make the punishment good, but only the outcome. In 1 chronicles 28.3 king David is not allowed to build the temple because he has to much blood on his hands [ he killed to many people] even though they were often God ordered killings. Death is still a bad thing and not normal or natural part of life. If the Bible is true, is God not able to take life he is given? God is the only perfect judge. God judges by what is deserved, God is the judge of man, he does not order killing out of malice or lawlessness [Deuteronomy 32.4]. God does not judge willingly [Lamentations 3 32-33]. God personally suffers with human sin/judgment [Jeremiah 9.9 12.7-9 15 5-9 48 29-53 9.10 17-18 31.20 48 30-36 Ezekiel 27 3-11 26-36 Isiah 15.5 16 9-11] God suffers for humanity [Isiah 15 42 23-24 48.9 57.11 63.9 Jeremiah 15.6 Ezekiel 20 21-11 24.12 Malachi 2.17] The bible teaches peace first, not war.

Think of the Victims

“All who do evil are good in the eyes of the Lord, and he is pleased with them” or “Where is the God of justice?”
-Malachi 2.17

“They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” 
-Revelations 6.10

If we were in the same situation as the victims we might say I dont believe in God or a loving God, otherwise he would not allow these horrible things to happen. A major objection to the bible is were is God when bad things happen? How can a loving God allow such things like babies being drowned in the nile? So why is it when God does act in judgment against sin, than all sudden he is called harsh and evil? The problem is not with Gods perfect judgment of people hearts, but with the unrepentant sinners heart, that will reject God no matter what.

“Would you discredit my justice?
Would you condemn me to justify yourself?
-Job 40.8

One christian wrote

“I like a point a friend of mine made about this. One Skeptic asked why God simply did not kill Hitler as a baby. Yet if "baby Hitler" had died, the Skeptic would ask why God did not prevent the death of this innocent baby.”
-Sam Shamoun


“As I read and re-read all the non-Christian or anti-Christian accounts of the faith … a slow and awful impression grew gradually but graphically upon my mind—the impression that Christianity must be a most extraordinary thing. For not only (as I understood) had Christianity the most flaming vices, but it had apparently a mystical talent for combining vices which seemed inconsistent with each other. It was attacked on all sides and for all contradictory reasons. No sooner had one rationalist demonstrated that it was too far to the east than another demonstrated with equal clearness that it was much too far to the west.” On the one hand, they ‘proved’ Christianity was “a thing of inhuman gloom”, but then they proved that Christianity “was a great deal too optimistic.” Christianity supposedly caused overpopulation by “Go forth and multiply” (Genesis 1:28), but then it was supposedly anti-sex.“Or, again, certain phrases in the Epistles or the marriage service, were said by the anti-Christians to show contempt for woman’s intellect. But I found that the anti-Christians themselves had a contempt for woman’s intellect; for it was their great sneer at the Church on the Continent that ‘only women’ went to it.”
-G.K. Chesterton
“Its been said that when human beings stop believing in god they believe in nothing. The truth is much worse, they believe in anything.” 
Malcolm maggeridge
I used to get upset as a kid when I got poison ivy on my skin. However it can make for an incredibly ecstatic feeling thru applying hot water to the outbreak. Maybe therein lies an argument for the mercy which God brings.

It doesn't have to be a victim game either. People are entitled to clean water, meaning it isn't a fundamental right to deliver them it piping hot (unless it needs bacteria killed in swallowing)

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