“[D]o we genuinely comprehend the depth of Canaanite sins? Do we understand the significance of God’s having all but destroyed Israel for committing Canaanite sins? Could it be that because our culture today commits these same Canaanite sins we are inoculated against the seriousness of these sins and so think God’s judgment unfair? How might a theology of the human heart and its sinful condition illuminate a motivation for ‘divine genocide’ claims? In short, most of our problems regarding God’s ordering the destruction of the Canaanites come from the fact that God hates sin but we do not. If so, are ‘divine genocide’ claims more of a rationalization of the human condition and do not responsibly reason about the rightness of God’s actions toward the Canaanites?
If that is the case, it seems that we need to understand the horror of sin, especially our sin, if we are to reconcile what appears to be God’s harsh judgment. ‘When we merely say that we are bad,’ C.S. Lewis said, ‘the ‘wrath’ of God seems a barbarous doctrine; as soon as we perceive our badness, it appears inevitable, a mere corollary from God’s goodness.’ It is not enough, then, for us to dispassionately say that the Canaanites were bad or even wicked; for the impact of those words are diminished in our culture. Even the significance of particular types of sin, like bestiality, is somewhat lost on us. For there often is a certain ‘whatever that’s about’ dismissal that familiarly punctuates a response to modern confrontations of ‘ancient evils,’ perhaps as a way of coping with our denial of what really is the case.
What I am suggesting is not merely vibrant language usage that better captures the brazen experience of evil. Although it is interesting to note that when language becomes diluted, morally, it can help tame and pacify our outrage toward evil. I have come to discern that as a matter of attitude or outlook, we need to look much more frankly at human evil than we customarily do, especially when we are engaged in philosophical reflection on the problem of evil.” – Excerpt from “We Don’t Hate Sin So We Don’t Understand What Happened to the Canaanites” by Clay Jones in Philosophia Christi Vol. 11, No. 1