The next explanation of the biblical atrocities is one that Copan mentions as well, though many others have made the same point. The problem as they see it is that the critic of the Bible is appealing to a moral standard that applies to human beings. But according to defenders of this view, God is not to be judged by such standards. God, after all, is the creator, and since he gave us life, he has the right to take it away. To quote Copan once more: “If God is the author of life – the cosmic authority – he is not obligated to give us seventy to eighty years of life… God can take Canaanite lives indirectly through Israel’s armies – or directly, as with Sodom…”* In fact, an argument along these lines appears to be all but necessary if one is going to justify the most extensive atrocity in the Old Testament, the Flood. I have not mentioned that one until now because it is so familiar that people usually don’t give it a second thought. As a result, it might not seem as terrible at first as some of the other cruelties described above. But imagine what is supposed to have happened: God killed everyone on earth with the exception of eight people and a number of animals. Countless infants and small children were drowned on purpose – a horrible way to die – by the infinitely merciful Lord. And yet he is regarded as morally perfect. People must be judging him by a different standard!
The idea, then, is that as the one who created us, God is perfectly within his rights if he wishes to destroy us. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. But is that right? Suppose you suddenly found yourself with the power to create life. You create an entire civilization of miniature beings who think of you as their god. You can see from observing them through a microscope that they are every bit as complex as humans, caring for their loved ones, planning for the future, and so on. Does it follow from the mere fact that you created them that it would be acceptable for you to now destroy them? I hope you agree that the answer is no. It would be nothing less than genocide. As soon as such creatures are created, it becomes wrong to kill them. Likewise, even if God made us, the fact is that we are here, sentient beings who care about others, who have hopes and dreams, and who are not deserving of death and suffering. It would be no more morally acceptable for God to kill us than for anyone else to do so. It makes no difference who performs the act: the end result would be the same.
* Paul Copan, “Are Old Testament Laws Evil?”, in William Lane Craig and Chad Meister, eds., God Is Great, God Is Good, InterVarsity Press, 2009, p. 148