Re: Old vs New Testament God

Murphy (
Thu, 12 Jun 1997 16:33:06 -0400

John Misasi wrote:
> BUT remember, God is just and perfect, we are not. When God
> declares war on people it is for just reasons, when man commits genocide
> we do it out of anger, greed, being afraid, jealousy, etc.... God
> wished to destroy certain nations because of their sins and their
> unwillingness to seek forgiveness.

That's why the babies in Jericho & Ai were killed - because they
were unwilling to seek forgiveness!
Please do not misunderstand me: I am not citing these things
from Joshua &c in village atheist fashion. OTOH, justifying genocide in
a simplistic moralizing way is just wrong. Until we can say, "This is
appalling! This is awful! - _but_ it is the Word of God" (rather like
Abraham offering Isaac) & until we can put ourselves in the place of the
Canaanites, we will be better off not saying anything at all. & unless
we can speak of God as the one who gets killed by the powerful of the
world, we will be quite unconvincing to those whose moral sense is
outraged by some of the ways God is portrayed in the OT.
I think that there is a coherent way to think about this -
though the following is no definitive treatment. Just as God assures
the rationality of the natural world at the cost of _not_ working
continual miracles to save people from volcanoes & viruses, so God works
through a people who are no better morally than others, who have common
ideas about holy war &c. God to some extent hides his righteousness
even as he reveals himself to Israel. But this is not an arbitrary
decision. It is an action of the God whose glory is simultaneously
hidden & revealed in the cross.
George L. Murphy