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How do you understand the portrayal of God in the Old Testament?

Discussion in 'The Ancient Way - Eastern Orthodox' started by truthseeker32, May 1, 2013.

  1. truthseeker32

    truthseeker32 Lost in the Cosmos

    +47
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    I am currently making my way through the Pentateuch again, and as before I find myself reacting, sometimes to the point of repulsion, to the way God is portrayed by the authors. This God commands the Hebrews to wipe out their enemies, take their women, and punish sinners in ways we would consider too ruthless. He saves Lot, who offered his daughters to be raped, from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but turns his wife into a pillar of salt simply for looking back towards the ruin. I could list off many other examples, but I am sure that would be unnecessary.

    This God seems very different than the Christ revealed in the New Testament and through the Church. I by no means think that Christ was all niceness and rainbows. He clearly had a wrathful side, and rightfully so, but never to the extent that is portrayed in the Old Testament.

    How do you reconcile the God of the Old Testament with the Christ of the New Testament?
     
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  2. InnerPhyre

    InnerPhyre Well-Known Member

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    God says "Don't look back or you will die." She turned back and died. If I say to my son "Don't touch the stove or you will get burned" and he touches the stove, that doesn't mean that I burned him. It means that I tried to warn him that his actions would harm him and he didn't listen. This is the same with "If you eat the fruit of this tree, you will die." It is not the same as "If you eat the fruit of this tree, I will kill you."
     
  3. Wesley1982

    Wesley1982 Guest

    +0
    Those are the ways God revealed himself in the Old Testament - (ie) the Pillar of Fire. God must have waited and timed the event historically for the arrival and coming of Jesus Christ born of the Virgin Mary. Which was Anno Domini A.D. 1 as compared to the B.C. period time of the Prophets. In the Old Testament God spoke through Moses and the Prophets ~ now, in the New Testament God is speaking as Himself as Jesus Christ.
     
  4. truthseeker32

    truthseeker32 Lost in the Cosmos

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    I guess I should have been more specific. How do we reconcile the violent, angry God who commands things we would find over the top with the moral, wise Christ of the New Testament?
     
  5. sdowney717

    sdowney717 Newbie

    +1,987
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    uh, those bad things that happened to those people were written down as examples for us to not be like them doing what they did.

    How do you feel about this new testament verse

    9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, 10 they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” 12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus

    This is extremely graphic violent and I imagine very painful and also lasts forever.
    The Lamb here is Jesus Christ
     
  6. Wesley1982

    Wesley1982 Guest

    +0
    O.T. = Law

    N.T. = Grace
     
  7. E.C.

    E.C. Well-Known Member

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    Let me answer this one with a question:

    If you have to spank your kids when they are young, but don't when they are older; who has changed? You or your kids?
     
  8. truthseeker32

    truthseeker32 Lost in the Cosmos

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    I think your question would work if we were talking about just one person progressing, but we are talking about people who were wiped out as per God's command, or people who the law condemned to death for sins we wouldn't even think of giving the death penalty. These people weren't punished in a way that helped them behave better as adults, rather they lost their lives entirely. You can't correct someone's behavior by taking their ability to live better away.
     
  9. AureateDawn

    AureateDawn Love & Peace

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    Christ wouldn't say, "Hey, go wipe out this village and make slaves and take all the women!" So why did God in the OT?
     
  10. truthseeker32

    truthseeker32 Lost in the Cosmos

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    Here is an example we can consider:

    17 Now therefore, kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. 18 But all the young girls who have not known man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. (Numbers 31:17-18 RSV)

    Should Orthodox Christians see this as a truly God-given command? Is such an order truly able to be reconciled with the New Testament?
     
  11. ArmyMatt

    ArmyMatt Regular Member Supporter

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    because God had to establish His people to bring forth the Messiah. every one of those people who were wiped out by God in the OT, were offered salvation when Christ died. if Israel was not established, no Davidic line, and no Christ, there would be no eternal hope for anyone.
     
  12. GBTWC

    GBTWC God bless the Working class

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    I never realized till just now how METAL that price of scripture is. I heard DIO's voice as I was reading it.
     
  13. GBTWC

    GBTWC God bless the Working class

    +200
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    To the OP.

    1. God is Love. That doesn't change.
    2. Context context context. Don't interpret it through our time or even the time of the New Testament. The Israelites were a tribe of people wandering through a geographically dangerous area surrounded by dangerous tribes who were ready to attack. Those tribes were pagans.
    3.dont assume slavery is bad in their culture. Often times slaves were treated better than nonslaves in society, and became practically members of their masters family to the point that when offered their freedom they chose to stay slaves.
    4 I've noticed that every people that God commands to be destroyed, were pagans and known either in scripture or outside historical sources to be practicing child sacrifice or murder of children for gain such as in Pharoes case.
    5 don't assume that because someone is killed in war they were worse of remember God is love. What is a worse fate, to be killed by Israelites when you are 8 yrs old and go to the presence of God or being raised by pagans who ritualistically practice child sacrifice and worship sex and practice temple prostitution and eventually follow that life. It sounds like death is doing them a favor. God will have mercy on whom he chooses don't assume they all went to hell.
    6 not everything we read has to be taken literally, the main point is to read the OT with a heart to learn about relationship with God he loves us and desires to lead us and when we stray from what he has created to be right it hurts real bad.
    7 also how stupid (lord have mercy on me) does someone have to be to straight out disobey God in a situation where he's leading you through the desert by a pillar of fire and cloud of smoke, bringing water from rocks, splitting the Red Sea, dropping food from heaven, etc Eric.
    8 context
    9 context
    10 Oh ya get some commentaries from the fathers chrystosom, listen to that podcast by prespetera constantinue "search the scripture"
     
  14. truthseeker32

    truthseeker32 Lost in the Cosmos

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    The "it was more merciful to kill the little ones than let them be raised by pagans" argument does not work, since Numbers 31:17-18 tells us that the Israelites took the virgin girls. Why couldn't they have also taken and raised the boys?

    Second, the idea that it was merciful to kill the little ones for the sake of their salvation makes the same mistake one makes when arguing that abortion isn't so bad because the infant gets a free ticket to heaven.
     
  15. truthseeker32

    truthseeker32 Lost in the Cosmos

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    I don't quite see why this means that the Israelites had to kill little boys.
     
  16. Dorothea

    Dorothea One of God's handmaidens

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  17. michaeldimmickjr

    michaeldimmickjr Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.

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    God was not different in the OT- humans were more ignorant in their knowledge of Him.
     
  18. truthseeker32

    truthseeker32 Lost in the Cosmos

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    I'm inclined to agree with you.
     
  19. AureateDawn

    AureateDawn Love & Peace

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    I don't understand this. God explicitly commanded certain things in the OT - sometimes, horrendous things I can't fathom Christ commanding. How does this have anything to do with mere human knowledge (or rather, lack thereof)?
     
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