The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Reconciling OT violence with NT Love

Would this be a possible help to reconciling the violence of the OT with the Love of the NT. It seems like many people struggle with that.

What if we saw the violence of the Old Testament in context of the overarching plan to create and sustain a certain society whose preservation was of such importance to Gods plan for all that He from time to time had no choice but to wipe out masses of people the devil was trying to use to thwart that plan?

You had the flood where 99% of humanity had reached incorrigibility and it was soon to be no one good left if God did not do something.

Could Sodom and Gomorrah have been a potential Babylonian/Roman empire in the making whose wickedness and depravity could not be allowed to expand over the earth?

Then you had instances where within the people of God, existential threats arose that could have dissolved or divided the community were God to not authoritatively judge the source of the schism. The challenges to Moses for instance.

Whereas instead of seeing God as this angry capricious being whose ego is easily provoked to violence, shouldn’t we instead see a measured mastermind who guards his plan and resorts to destruction when only all else fails?

And if Universalism is true, which I believe it is, doesn’t that mitigate the seeming cruelty of God in as much as He knows he will reconcile all those who had to be killed to protect the master plan?

I realize there are likely weakness in this but maybe a place to start?

Maybe this should be in a separate post but…

Going back to the flood think about this. If God would have just waited and destroyed all after 100% loss of all goodness in the earth, and then started with a new Adam from the dust, what descendant could have been the Messiah for all those descendants of the first Adam trapped under the earth who died in the flood? Noah was the single link to the chain of humanity before and after the flood. Maybe thats why Peter refers to the souls in prison from the flood who Jesus went and preached to. A brand new race instead of the Noah race might have left them all down there with no redeemer.

Just exploring outside the box.

You think that you are thinking out of the box, and maybe you left a small box, but you are still very much in a box. That box you are still in is Sola Scriptura. I think it is more plausible (to me) that the OT isn’t divine at all, and is just Jewish History and writings. Very interesting, of course, but not divine. I mean, I don’t for minute think that God asked Abraham to kill his son. I think Abraham had these pagan ideas already and possibly believed God asked him this. But I do not believe God would have commanded this.

The idea that God would need to have Israelites slaughter Amelkites and Midianites (including children and infants) in order to save humanity seems strained to me.

Thank you for that input. I think you have identified the weakness I anticipated would arise. Its an incredible dilemma because in order to rectify all this we’re faced with wrecking the canon.
Christianity seems to be painted into the corner because so much of the essential foundation to the Messiahs arrival seems inseparably interwoven back there.

I appreciate what your saying.
Please see my reply below to qaz.

The bit about Abraham makes me sad because I wish for people to see that God was only setting forth a symbolic gesture never intended for execution. Paul looked back to Abraham in an essential way. Jesus looked back and said “It is written”. If we get rid of the Old Testament so much of the New becomes hollowed out does it not?

I think the difficulty with assuming that the divine way to deal with evil is (unlike Jesus’ way) lethal violence, is that the narrative repeatedly shows that it radically fails, and only leads to a repeated cycle of only doing violence continually, and that believing this is the divine solution has led to repeatedly justifying deadly religious pogroms supposedly executed by God’s people in behalf of Christ

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@PastorMark do you think a something is good because God does it or is God good because of what he does?

Potentially, but why is that a problem if you are honestly searching outside the box? Say the NT is hallowed out, then what? You move on. You take the good from it and discard what you perceive to be bad. We do this every day in life. Discernment is never about being absolutely sure, but weighing the evidence and forming an opinion. We may both be discerning individuals and yet form different opinions on a subject matter. What I am getting at is you shouldn’t in my belief, artificially impose off limits questioning. If the NT stands, it stands. If it falls, it falls.

I agree with Gabe’s approach, and would add that non-inerrantists do not call us to “get rid of the OT.” They widely recognize that it provides the essential context for the formation of and understanding of the NT. But its importance does not change the exegesis that much of the NT represents a reaction to and a challenge to what OT adherents understood as right and true.

My perception is that inerrancy pushes us to homogenize the Bible in a way that denies much of what it actually says, instead of following Gabe’s cue of searching for what is truly good and abiding.

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False dichotomy. God can be good in what he does when we cannot see the ultimate goodness.

Thats pretty compelling. But how does this get incorporated through the entire body of Christ? A new Canonical council? Good luck with that. Everyone establishing Canon unto themselves? Disorder and chaos. If denominations aren’t schismatic enough try scraping the text for preferability. Bibles with no Genesis or no Genesis chapter x vs x?

The problem is all of that is hiding between the lines. I approach questions that way, but its an almost forensic approach of divining a secret not clearly stated in words. Jesus said I did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. He affirmed the OT in so many ways that hamstrings our attempt to trim its awkward segments.
Jesus specifically rejected rules made by men (hand washing) but never really pulled the plug on OT as scripture, No?

But we already have over 30,000 distinct christian denominations. How the hell more divided can we be?

Maybe, we’re not suppose to be united, the division is what keeps us sharp, we won’t be lulled into a pacifist mindset. Contention keeps us on the edge, the edge where God may want us.

? :roll_eyes:

Father, make them one even as you and I are one that the world may know they are my disciples.

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Do you understand the difference between denomination and Canon?
Theres only one Canon of Christian scripture for about 1500 years now.

Why not Gabe? Do you believe God needs defending?

Two things can be noted here… 1) indeed, lethal violence never was God’s default or assumed answer to evil… the last Adam via way of the first Adam was — and that needed protecting; so sometimes violence occurred. And… 2) the bigger plan of God was always to do away with that temporary and terrifying covenant of death, i.e., the old covenant.

Lol… this is precious and I can’t believe what I just read. :wink:

“Everyone establishing Canon unto themselves”… you must indeed have been reading quite a few threads on this forum? :wink:

You just never know Chad…

1Cor 11:19 For there must also be factions among you, that those who are approved may be recognized among you.

Yikes :wink:

Not at all, as I wouldn’t believe in a god that would, and certainly wouldn’t regard such a god as God.

If Abraham confided in me and said God told him to sacrifice his son, I’d report him immediately to every authority and hopefully get him checked into a mental institution.

Ahh, the weaponization of scripture.

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Ahh, I have never heard this argument before (yes, I have). Read the Bible literally until it contradicts, then spiritualize or allegorize it away… All because you refuse to give up a single presupposition: Sola Scriptura.

To be clear, I am not saying Sola Scriptura is not true, it could be. I don’t believe it to be true, but it could be. I am willing to question everything, as I am not defending a specific end game. Just want to be fair. I mean, you may be right. It is possible, but you will forgive need if it seems all too convenient?

It’s not a false dichotomy. It’s a dilemma philosophers and theologians have grappled with for millennia. So what say you?

The reason for the Amelekite genocide is provided: retribution for something the Amelekites’ ancestors did. What ultimate goodness do you think there could possibly be in that?