Certain questions about Old Testament morality may need to be answered if some are to follow or respect the Creator of the Bible. As an adult I am not going to follow my parent’s advice blindly if I don’t respect them. Did God initiate land grab by encouraging the unprovoked aggression of the Israelites against the Canaanites? Did God desire genocide by insisting on the killing of women and children during war times (i.e. I Sam. 15:3)? Future generations may look back on the 21st century and understand why certain nations invaded lands inhabited by those who seek to gain power only to eventually destroy others.
God is very willing to defend His actions morally, but surely God gained credibility when He did not stop Jesus’ undeserved suffering though having the power to do so. A writer doesn’t often record all the details of the story they are telling as those who lived closer to the times understood certain things to be true. God ordered Noah to build an Ark before setting out to destroy the entire earth and all that lived on it. Genesis says nothing about God allowing anyone to enter the Ark with Noah’s family, but Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Pe. 2:5). God is always hoping people will respond to a message to turn away from evil. God would have welcomed anyone on the Boat if they believed in Noah’s God and saw the need to change.
The place in the OT story that talks about utter destruction doesn’t always convey what leads up to such actions. An entire read of the OT suggest “driving out” references are far more numerous than the “destroying” ones. We read passages where God orders the Israelites to conquer the land and destroy all within it, but that was likely the final dictate by God. The OT speaks often of driving out the Canaanites from their land (i.e. Num. 21:32; Deut. 11:23). Driving out and wiping out are exclusive behaviors in war. Expulsion often precedes annihilation.
Expulsion and annihilation are not always merciless. Gradually driving the Canaanites out of their land and into neighboring nations where they would be the minority would force them to change their ways (Exodus 23: 27-30). Corruption though can infiltrate a society so much that adults not fully engaged in evil behaviors may carry on the barbaric behaviors in future generations. There may be a better place after death more merciful than abandonment, starvation, disease, or slavery by enemies if only the adult evildoers within the culture are destroyed. The Flood was not doing evil that good may come; it is ridding of the cancer that can eventually destroy any good for future generations.
God willingness to take less aggressive behaviors initially is not fantasy according to the beginning of the story when Abraham was told his ancestors would inherit the Promised Land where the Canaanites lived. God said to Abraham: “I will make you into a great nation…I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you”(Genesis 12:2-3). You can’t be a blessing if the only plan is to annihilate. Deuteronomy 12: 10 says: “But you will cross the Jordan and settle in the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, and He will give you rest from all your enemies around you so that you live in safety.” God is always willing to live in peace with those of different beliefs.
But, would the Canaanites who sacrificed their children to supposed gods be willing to live peacefully together? Evil seldom does. Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities in Canaan, was full of gangs that attacked people for fun. We must give God and governments the power to kill those who intend to kill others. God has never forced His beliefs on others unless necessary for the protection of others. God will stand up to evil for the protection of current and future generations. God has been a respecter of freedom of beliefs from the very beginning for eternity. And I can assure you Paradise is not a lustful adventure for men at the expense of women.