Friday, May 6, 2011

Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God…

I don’t know about you, but when I read the bible I tend to struggle to see how the God in the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament is the same person. I mean, I know the bible says that God is “The same yesterday, today and forever”, but at times it’s hard to see the continuation of his character throughout the entire bible. It was because of that continual struggle that I chose to read Paul Copan’s book, “Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God”.

Throughout the past six months or so I’ve been given different explanations as to how God truly is the same person throughout the bible. People have pointed to Jesus over turning tables in the temple to show the same anger/jealousy of God from the Old Testament in the New. And to God’s patients with the Israelites to show how the same loving God of the New Testament is seen in the Old. I’ve even heard people say that the Old Testament represents the “father” side of God, the gospels represent the “Son” side of God, and the rest of the New Testament represents to” Spirit” side of God. But honestly none of that completely resonated with me.

Reading this book was the first time I was able to clearly see some characteristics of God over and over again, continuing throughout the entire bible. For instance the New testament talks a lot about God’s heart for the poor, widowed and orphan, but that same heart is clearly seen in the book of laws too when God it talks about things like the treatment of slaves/servants, the year of Jubilee, and even how women are to treated. I’ve always read those books and found them so restricting…as if God was setting his people up for failure so that they would have no choice but to rely on him. Now I read some of those scriptures and can see the value God puts on his creation and how he’s looking to draw all people to himself, not through force, but through love.

I will be honest enough to say that this book, with all its back ground information, made me realize just how little I know about the context in which the bible was written. I walked away from it thinking I need theology degree to truly understand what the bible really means for me today. But in a sense I think that’s a good thing…it makes me want to study more so that I can have a clearer understanding of the bible and God.

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