Re: Old Testament vs New Testament God

Scott A. Oakman (
Tue, 10 Jun 97 13:08:44 -0500

John Misasi <> writes:
> Subject: Old Testiment vs New Testement God
> Janet Rice wrote under the "Re: How many folks really care?" posting:
> > This apparent difference between the OT and NT versions of God is something
> > that I've struggled with and is the primary reason I reject a literal
> > reading of the Bible. My thinking was along the lines of "If by definition
> > God doesn't change, then if the way he is portrayed changes, it must be
> > because man's view of God changes - and that's what we are seeing in the
> > OT/NT differences".
> But also, God waited for mankind to develop to the point where we could
> understand Jesus's message and the message of the NT. This message is
> of love. God wants us to love one another, hte way Christ demonstrated
> to those who were his desciples and those he ministered too. This was a
> radical concept. He loved the outcast as much as the pharasee. In this
> God was showing us what is the meaning behind all he was showing us in
> the OT. God in the NT allows us freedom to choose him or reject him by
> choosing to accept him and allowing him to show us how to love one
> another. By contrast in the OT, God set out rules so that we might
> become acceptable to him, and at the heart of these rules is his
> teaching love.

I've always felt that the OT spoke of grace, and I won't argue with you that
God's love shines through "between the lines" as it were.

What I do take issue with is the implication that God was somehow waiting for
humans to "develop" to a point where they could understand Jesus' message. It
smacks of a progressivism that implies that somehow humanity is improving on its
own--a viewpoint for which I find no Scriptural or social scientific evidence!
If anything, the Israel's experience in the OT (all the way from Exodus through
Malachi) is a confirmation that we CANNOT fulfill God's design on our own.

I don't see any differences in basic human nature comparing Moses' time to
David's to Jesus' to Augustine's to now. The abuses of power, violence, lust,
greed, and self-interest are EXACTLY now as they were then. (If anything, we're
just a little bit more technologically proficient about acting on those impulses
today.) Christ came not because we were ready to listen, and finally able to
understand, but because our need was too great for anyone but Him to meet it.

> In conclusion, this is seen in Jesus's answer to what is the greatest
> commandment:
> Matthew 22:34-40 (NIV) [...]

Interesting that he replies with direct quotes of the OT, isn't it?
Deut 6:4-5; Lev 19:18

Scott Oakman Graduate Program in Neuroscience
University of Minnesota MD/PhD Program