On the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus once encountered a man who was possessed of demons. When the Lord commanded the unclean spirits to leave the gentleman, they requested permission to enter a herd of swine feeding nearby. Christ granted that request. The demons entered the hogs, who, in turn, rushed down an embankment into the sea and drowned. Bible critics have charged Jesus with destroying the property of others. It is alleged that His conduct was reprehensible in connection with this event. There are several things that may be said in response to this baseless accusation.
First, no charge can be made against the Lord unless the event actually happened. Those who criticize Christ must concede, first, that this account represents a factual incident; otherwise, their allegation is baseless. Are they willing to admit that Jesus actually cast out demons? If so, exactly what did that circumstance prove?
Second, if Christ is a Divine Being, then He is sovereign over the entire creation and, in reality, everything belongs to Him (cf. Colossians 1:16). God said: For every beast of the forest is mine, And the cattle upon a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10). Hogs, too! Thus, in the interest of a higher good, the Lord had every right to allow this incident to occur.
Third, swine were unclean according to Old Testament regulations (Leviticus 11). It is entirely possible that the owners of these pigs were Jews, engaged in an unlawful enterprise. If such was the case, the Saviors economic rebuke certainly would have been warranted.
Fourth, as the scholarly R.C. Foster once observed, Christ permitted the destruction of the swine knowing that it would awaken the Gergesenes from their indifference and ultimately assist in the salvation of a multitude in the community. There are things that transcend the material, and hardship can have a benevolent result in the final ordering of ones affairs.
In view of these factors, no legitimate indictment can be leveled against the Son of God in connection with this episode.
Copyright © 1998 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.
For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558