Re: Old vs New Testament God

Peter Vibert (
Fri, 20 Jun 1997 11:54:44 -0400

>Janet Rice wrote:
>That is precisely the question - how does one reconcile a God who loved the
>world enough to send his son as the redeemer - and not just to the Jews,
>but to all mankind - with the OT God who orders the extermination of entire

Although this thread has about run out of steam, it's maybe worth at least
adding to the end a somewhat more Reformed/Calvinist bit of thinking as an
alternative/supplement to George's well-stated Lutheran argument from the
"hidden God" whose character is most clearly revealed/hidden in the

A Calvinist response to Janet's question might say that the breadth and
depth of the world's depravity (including that inherited by newborns) is
such that God would have been within his rights at any time to totally
destroy his fallen creation. From this perspective, the miracle of grace is
that *any* continue to live - and, moreover, to do so in the light of God's
"common grace" through which truth, beauty, love, etc. are still to be
found amid the fall. And the wonder of "saving grace" is that God should
pay the ultimate price to redeem a people for himself.

Although Christians are sometimes accused of 'simple moralizing', we have
to be careful about being 'more moral than God'. Our inability to grasp the
full weight and significance of sin ought to give us pause about
pronouncing on God's behavior. It has been said, I think correctly, that
one cannot construct a theodicy that will satisfy those outside the faith.
We who are called by grace into God's family are supposed to know him well
enough to trust him. Beyond that there are no 'explanations' about God's
actions that will suffice. And it may be that the best thing we can say to
those who are troubled by questions such as those on this thread is "we
don't know"...(as George suggests, better be quiet than say things that
make us and God seem 'unfeeling').

Just to make the simplest point about the relation of all this to science -
it is the fact of "common grace" that makes science still a viable endeavor
in a fallen world. Even our clouded minds and rebellious wills can learn
truth about the creation and take our part in unfolding God's plans for it.
Another thing to be thankful for...

Peter Vibert

Peter J. Vibert
Pastor Guest Senior Scientist
Wading River Congregational Church Biology Department
PO Box 596, 2057 North Country Road Brookhaven National Laboratory
Wading River, New York 11792 Upton, Long Island, NY 11973

tel: (516) 929-8849 Dept. tel: (516) 344-3415
fax: (516) 929-3523 e-mail: