Many people have difficulty with God’s acts in the Bible because God seems to be committing or commanding immoral acts (e.g., when God commands the Israelites to wipe out certain people-groups, including children). I think that many of these charges can be alleviated if some good justification can be given for the claim that it is morally permissible for God to kill people as he does in the Bible.
One step towards arguing for the claim that it is morally permissible for God to kill people is to argue that people do not have the right not to be killed by God. I may have the right that you not kill me, and vice versa, but
perhaps there are different considerations with God. The difference is that while others don’t own my body, God may own my body. There are three options:
a) God owns the body inhabit and I don’t,
b) I own my body and God doesn’t
c) God and I jointly own my body.
(I will ignore the option where neither God nor us own the bodies we inhabit.)
On (a), we would merely be borrowing the use of these bodies, but we wouldn’t own them; God would own them. If so, then it is plausible that God has the right to destroy them (i.e. kill us). On (b) and (c), since we either have full or at least partial ownership over our bodies, it is plausible that God does not have the right to destroy our bodies without our consent. This seems plausible.
So here is an argument that it is wrong for God to kill people as he does in the Bible. Argument: unless very strong utilitarian considerations are not at stake, it is wrong to violate a right. If (b) or (c) is true, then God is violating people’s rights in the Bible when he kills them or commands others to kill them. Very strong utilitarian considerations are not at stake. Therefore, it is wrong for God to violate people’s rights in the Bible when he kills them or commands others to kill them.
(Strictly speaking, God wouldn’t be violating rights when he commands others to do the killing, but it seems plausible that if doing A is wrong, then commanding another to do A, when you’re God, is also wrong. This is all that’s needed for the argument.)
The best way out for the Bible-believer is to reject (b) or (c) and accept (a). I suppose we could also say that in all those Biblical cases, catastrophic utilitarian considerations are at stake; I guess that’s also an option. But I think the Bible-believer’s best option is to accept (a), and we are on our way to defending that it is morally permissible for God to kill people as he does in the Bible.