Bible Question:

What was the purpose of letting all those children die at the time of Christ's birth? He was thousands of miles away. He was safe. That is not the very essence of love!

Bible Answer:

The tragedy of many children dying soon after the birth of Christ is difficult to understand from our human perspective. Before Adam sinned, it is apparent that God had determined that He would allow the human race to live as they desire. He offers us choices and we choose either for or against God (John 3:16-18). He decided in eternity past to give us the freedom to live as we desire. Yet, He warns us that we are sinners. He calls us to believe in Jesus Christ. He calls us to obey. Many people have chosen to reject His warnings because they desire to live as they want. This is the condition of the human race as a result of Adam’s sin. We are sinners – all of us!

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned . . . (NASB) Rom. 5:12

Since God has warned us, He also allows the natural consequences of our sin to occur. If we desire to live as we want, why shouldn’t we expect to suffer the consequences? God has not promised to rescue us from the consequences of our sin. Sin is rampant throughout the world. No one is innocent since we are all sinners from birth (Ps. 51:5). We can thank our forebears for that legacy.

A good description of the human race is as follows:

And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (NASB) Rom. 1:28-32

Murder and hatred are the result of selfish sin which has inflicted upon the human race – every man, woman and child. King Herod did not want any competition. When he heard that Jesus was born, his selfishness drove him to murder every child under two years of age in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:16-18).

Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. (NASB) Matt. 2:16

God is not responsible for the deaths of the young children. King Herod was responsible and those who fulfilled his orders. In truth, the human race was responsible since our collective sinful conduct motivates one another – our neighbors, friends, and family members to sin.

Conclusion:

Because God gave us the freedom to choose and because Adam made the wrong choice, God took on the form of a man in the person of Jesus Christ. He suffered and died a physical death for you and for me. God suffered too! Imagine the humiliation of being like His creation! Imagine what it must have been like for a holy God to live among sinners – people who hate holiness.

. . . as it is written, “THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.” (NASB) Rom. 3:10-12

We have our own, distorted view of right and wrong. Yet, He died for us. He died and returned to life so that you and I could know that He is God, could have our sins forgiven, and could live with Him forever. Oh, yes! He suffered – more than we can imagine, even though He was “thousands of miles away”!

Reference Links:

Peace With God
Healing Starts Here
Are there any secular references to Herod killing babies under the age of two?
Herod slays male infants in Bethlehem area (Matthew 2:15-16)