The Old Testament has always been a struggle for me. I find far too many places where God’s wrath is brutally shown. This is in such a total contrast with Jesus Christ I know in the New Testament. It is almost like the good cop/bad cop scenarios that play out so much on the TV cop shows. I tend to refer to it as the all powerful God vs. the all loving God. Can the two really co-exist or did God basically change his management style between the Old Testament and the New Testament or you could say between the old and the new covenant? These are the things I have been thinking about lately. I know they are theological in nature and I have sworn off that sort of thing but it still crops up from time to time. I just can’t seem to help it.
I must admit that I almost ignore the power side of God. In that sense I seem to be in conflict with many evangelical religious establishments today who revel in God’s power. They deem that God is all powerful and absolutely everything that happens happens because He has willed it. One of the dictionary definitions of the word will is: the faculty of conscious and especially of deliberate action.
So following this “all powerful” to it’s conclusion means that God deliberately brought millions of children into existence so that he could kill one every three seconds today by depriving them to have safe drinking water or enough to food to eat! Or in another example he purposefully created all the dictators of the world so that they could kill thousands (millions collectively) of the people for little or no reason. The people who pray to the all powerful God say they don’t understand these sort of things but God must have a divine purpose for his extreme brutality. I find it very difficult to even contemplate praying to that kind of god.
Here is how I see all of this:
I kind of believe in the God of the Possible as illustrated by Greg Boyd in one of his many books. That along with the fact that God gave man free will answers the good god/bad god dichotomy for me. No, God is not responsible for all those children dying. That pitiful condition belongs totally to us humans. We are the ones who can’t seem to get along with one another.
Jesus told us to love one another; we just can’t seem to get that right especially when it comes to loving across national borders. God gave us free will and except for some very very rare circumstance he does not go back on his word. It is not God doing his will, as some say, that causes all the suffering in the world it is that WE don’t do God’s will to love one another.
I know I have no right to speculate but so many theologians do it every day so here goes. I do kind of believe that God did change his approach on how to guide us between the old and the new covenants. He could see that the “powerful God” approach just didn’t work with us sinful human being and at that point He just decided to love us anyway. God’s love is called agape love that is it doesn’t have conditions attached. What the ramification of that has concerning heaven and hell are a matter for a future post.