With the war going on, I was wondering if it was right to be in the military since the Bible says not to kill. As a Christian, can I put myself in that situation?
Answering the question about killing still does not answer the question about military service, because most people who serve in the military are never called on to kill anyone (even though it could be argued that they “support” killing).
There are actually several questions within your question but the one I want to address first (then conclude by answering yours directly) is this:
What kind of “killing” does the 6th Commandment (“thou shalt not kill”) prohibit? Are there different kinds of “killing”?
Let’s start with the latter. Consider these types of “taking a life”:
- A soldier shoots an enemy soldier
- A government executes a prisoner
- God orders the killing of an entire group of people
- A man shoots another man for personal revenge
- A woman kills her unborn child
What are the differences here? (assume typical circumstances in our examples) A soldier kills out of duty and service. A government executes a prisoner for the sake of justice. God ordered the Israelites to annihilate certain groups of people for His own reasons (which we know, but are too lengthy to describe here).
Is all of this “killing” wrong in light of the 6th Commandment? If one of the examples is an “exception to the rule” then it would not be logical to automatically declare “all” killing to be wrong. Are the exceptions based on situations?… OR, is the Commandment a prohibition against a certain type of killing (which we will address in a minute).
Of course, no man can pronounce “God was wrong” when He directed the Israelites to kill certain peoples. So we have an exception to “thou shalt not kill”. It is irrational that to claim that God pronounced all “killing” as wrong, then turned right around and commanded His very own people to sin against His own commandments.
So it stands that there must be different types of “killing” (which is easily demonstrated), and the 6th Commandment refers to one or more of those types. Let’s look again:
God ordains the governing authorities (Rom 13); God Himself has instilled in us right and wrong, and a sense of justice which our government administers. Part of the government’s duty is to “defend the righteous” which most certainly would include national defense. God himself lays out many military rules and regulations in Deuteronomy (not binding on us today, but showing the principle of God’s use/approval of them).
There are very real wars in the spirit world (Rev 17) demonstrating that fighting for the right cause is justified at certain times even among heavenly creatures (not a single point that is definitive; but an interesting one to consider).
We see that “killing” while terrible, is sometimes necessary and apparently allowed by (and in the past directed by) God when it originates from true duty, justice or God’s reasons.
Now, consider the other type of “killing”… killing for personal reasons. It could be for revenge, sadistic pleasure, prejudice or hatred but the overall reason is “personal”. Killing for personal reason makes one person judge, jury and executioner over another person. Not a government over a person; not an authority (like a Judge) over a person; not a nation over a person… one person over another person.
Personal revenge is forbidden (Mt 5:39-41; Ro 12:17,19; 1Th 5:15; 1Pe 3:9.), so one person killing another for personal reasons (other than true self defense) is a “wrong” type of killing… what we refer to as “murder”.
Same for abortion. Upon conception, a living human being exists, regardless of all the ridiculous and horrible political nonsense that stains our country today. To purposely end that life is “killing”. If motivated by personal reasons (convenience, selfishness or timing; which covers 99% of abortions; we’ll leave the other 1% for God to judge), then it falls into the category of “murder”.
My conclusion: any “killing” that falls into the category of “murder” is wrong and forbidden by the 6th commandment. Other types of killing, though tragic, are the consequence of a sin-cursed world, and at times are necessary and allowed by God.
Now, to answer your original question… “killing” in the military in the context we have discussed, is not forbidden by the 6th commandment therefore cannot be used as an argument against military service.
You may have other arguments, but it can’t be that one.
This is one of those topics that are better served with lots of people weighing in. Drop by the message board and help me out: https://www.seriousfaith.com/message_boards/toast.asp?sub=show&action=posts&fid=6&tid=1243