29 June 2014

The Scandal of the Old Testament God

Reading the Old Testament, one cannot help but be surprised and confused by the violence. Furthermore, the violence appears not merely to be condoned by God but even commanded by Him! It seems unnecessary and even unChristian. How can the God that we read about in the Old Testament truly be the same God revealed in the New Testament?

Questions like these have been asked by many (most recently in my hearing during a study time with some grad students). They deserve answers. A recent article in the The Banner, "The Scandal of the Old Testament God" does a really good job of looking at the difficulties, and it deserves to be read.

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers to the difficulty of the violence in the Old Testament, as Benckhuysen acknowledges in the article. At the same time that this reality (and the violence itself) makes me uncomfortable, I would also argue that I find a completely comforting and simple to understand God also problematic.

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