Some examples sound as follows:
There are a few things that we need to grasp before we can ever understand any of these things. (Please note that this is a very simple and basic list)
When we start to look at the statements and questions, like those above, that people have, we need to realize that it is very humanistic. That is that it is from the view of humans, who never created the heavens or the earth or anything that is in them and who do not maintain any of them at all. How can we as mere mortals who have no power at all, know what is right or wrong, or what just punishment for actions must be?
Whenever we read of a fatal punishment of a person or group of people, we can be assured that it is the result of the choices of that person or group of people.
When we look at the people who died in the flood, they died because they were wicked and chose to turn away from the Creator and become wicked by following their fleshly lusts. It was only Noah and his family that found favor in the eyes of the Almighty and were saved.
In the case of murderers, adulterers, idol worshipers etc. being put to death, it is purely because they made a choice to reject the Instructions of the Almighty and follow their base humanistic passions and lusts. The Torah gives very clear instructions and explains the consequences of not adhering to these instructions too.
Now to understand the mercy behind this, We need to remember that we are all going to be judged for every single thing we do and say. To choose against evil is to protect others and also to bring an end to the evil they do. Not stopping them from committing such heinous evils is an act of creating the opportunity for them to continue to do the evils they choose to do. This makes those who give right to such people responsible for whatever evils are committed to others. Would you rather be judged for one count of murder than ten counts of murder? What if a murderer is not punished and kills one of your loved ones? How would you feel about that person then? People who commit adultery are following their fleshly lusts and will continue to do so in the future if not stopped. Would you rather be judged for one count of adultery or ten counts instead? By putting such transgressors to death is nothing more than being merciful to the transgressor and the rest of the people of the nation. It eradicates the evil from among their midst’s so that the presence of the Almighty can remain among them.
In the case of the man being put to death because he was gathering wood on the Sabbath, we need to remember that that person stood, on Shavuot, and made an oath that he would accept and do the Torah that was given to Yisra’el from Mount Sinai. After he made this oath, he then went and, knowingly, did his own will instead of the Will of the Almighty as given to him. He knowingly transgressed the Word of the Almighty. If this man was not punished, he would continued to do so and would have created the idea for the other people that it was okay to do such work on the Shabbat without consequences.
It is the same as raising children. If you love your child, you will discipline him so that he can learn from his mistakes and become a much better person. If you do not discipline your child then you hate him. He will continue in his bad ways thinking that it is good and even digress to become a terrible person. We see many such terrible people lately because humanism has become the preferred over religion. Parents are not allowed to discipline their children anymore as it seems cruel in the eyes of the humanist. This is in fact hatred and evil.
“The born will die, the dead will be resurrected, and the living will be judged -- [so that] they know, make known, and become aware that He is G-d, He is the Fashioner, He is the Creator, He is the One who understands, He is the Judge, He is the Witness, He is the Litigant, and He will eventually judge. Blessed is He for there is not before Him wrongdoing, forgetfulness, favoritism, or the acceptance of bribes -- for all is His. (Can’t remember where I got this reference)
We are the possession of the Almighty Creator. He created us and everything in the heavens and the earth. We can either be smart and follow His Word, or we can be stupid and do things our own way.
Those who love the Almighty will come to love what He loves and hate the things He hates. If He says something is good, then it is good, and if He says it is bad, then it is bad. If we say otherwise, then we are fools. Unfortunately, there are many fools running around today and even governing our lives and countries.
The ways of the Almighty are loving kindness and merciful in every way and any deviation from it are hateful cruelty. May we live as a light by walking in the way of Torah and making the name of the Almighty great, even in an evil generation as this one we live in today.