Jim Meritt of Infidels.org claims the Bible contradicts itself here and asks "Cruel, Unmerciful, Destructive, and Ferocious or Kind, Merciful, and Good"?
|“|| Jeremiah 13:14 And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, saith the LORD: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them.
1 Samuel 15:2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
James 5:11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
1 Chronicles 16:34 O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.
Psalms 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.
1 John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
First of all, for a full explanation of how God could be justified in His destruction of the Canaanite nations and punishment of Israel, see 'Destruction of Canaanites where it is pointed out that both were being punished for widespread practice of the horrible crime of child sacrifice. Meritt in quoting Jeremiah 13:14 here ignores the fact that the Israelites were being so horribly punished by God for sacrificing their own children by burning them alive.
|“|| Jeremiah 7:30 For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it.
31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.
32 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place.
33 And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away.
34 Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.
Jeremiah 32:34 But they set their abominations in the house, which is called by my name, to defile it.
Concerning Amalek, God wanted to destroy the nation that had cowardly attacked the women and children of Israel. (Exodus 17:16)
|“|| Deuteronomy 25:17 Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt;
18 How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God.
19 Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.
Ultimately, the answer to this question of whether God is cruel or kind is both. God is cruel to the wicked and unrepentant and kind and merciful to those who turn from their wicked ways. This answer is reinforced throughout the whole Bible. Making this an Either/Or ignores the truth of the Bible.
TheThinkingAtheist.com claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage in the section "Can Man Be Righteous?", and makes the following comments:
|“|| Genesis 7:1 ¶ And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation.
Noah was righteous.
Job 2:3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
Job was righteous.
Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous.
James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Some men are righteous, and their prayers are effective.
1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.
Christians become righteous.
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
No one is righteous.
The simple answer is that there are two kinds of righteousness, Biblically, and Paul himself makes this plain. In fact, the entire book of Romans has as perhaps its major theme the contraste between the righteousness of the Law which noone measures up to, and the righteousness through faith which comes by trusting Jesus. Paul is contrasting two types of righteousness, a self-centered righteousness based on our works by which none will be justified because none are good enough in themselves, and a God-centered righteousness based on trusting Jesus to save us where it is God's righteousness that is credited to our accounts.
|“|| Romans 10:3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Romans 3:19 ¶ Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
There is no contradiction here. Paul is contrasting two types of righteousness, a righteousness according to the Law of works that nobody but Jesus measures up to, and a righteousness of faith where God credits righteousness based on trust in Jesus.
|“|| Romans 4:1 ¶ What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
- Meritt, Jim (1992). A list of Biblical contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html.
- TheThinkingAtheist. Bible Contradictions. Retrieved from http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/page/bible-contradictions.