The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Commands Of The Monster God Of The Old Testament


#1

Many Bible passages in the OT seem to contradict the goodness of Christ. God commands the slaughter of the innocent etc. etc. The Bible tells us that God is holy. Holiness when applied to God not only refers to moral purity but to everything that separates God from His creation and His creatures. There are ways we are like God and ways we are not. He’s distinct. For example: God in infinite in wisdom and knowledge and sees all circumstances past, present, and future. He’s in a privileged position. He’s all-knowing, all-powerful, self-sufficient, Sovereign over the universe and omnipresent. We are none of these things. God is in a category all by Himself and cannot be compared to anything or anybody. To do so is to make a categorical mistake. Thus, God’s love is a holy love. His justice is a holy justice. This isn’t the same omnibenevolence and goodness that we try to ascribe to God. Because of Divine revelation we are justified in saying the God of the Bible is holy. We don’t say that since God is good He couldn’t have commanded such and such. But because God’s essence is holiness or because God is essentially holy He has justifiable reasons for commanding the killing of the innocent, etc, etc, in particular and utterly unique circumstances. This is why we see a difference in the OT God and the NT. God’s holiness hasn’t changed but the universe has evolved and live in different times a circumstances. God remains holy. He’s not a moral monster.


#2


#3

Hollytree it sounds like you’re really sucking up to God.


#4

What do you mean?


#5

You’re not familiar with the term sucking up?


#6

I’ve heard that before but how am I sucking up to God? I don’t understand. I worship God because He is Holy, Holy, Holy.


#7

https://www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/Religion/Fac/Adler/Reln101/Otto.htm

Rudolf Otto’s Concept of the “Numinous”

Rudolf Otto Otto was one of the most influential thinkers about religion in the first half of the twentieth century. He is best known for his analysis of the experience that, in his view, underlies all religion. He calls this experience “numinous,” and says it has three components. These are often designated with a Latin phrase: mysterium tremendum et fascinans . As mysterium , the numinous is “wholly other”-- entirely different from anything we experience in ordinary life. It evokes a reaction of silence. But the numinous is also a mysterium tremendum . It provokes terror because it presents itself as overwhelming power. Finally, the numinous presents itself as fascinans , as merciful and gracious.

Outline of Otto’s concept of the numinous (based on The Idea of the Holy . Trans. John W. Harvey. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1923; 2nd ed., 1950 [ Das Heilige , 1917]):

" Mysterium tremendum et fascinans " (fearful and fascinating mystery):

  • " Mysterium ": Wholly Other, experienced with blank wonder, stupor
  • " tremendum ":
    • awefulness, terror, demonic dread, awe, absolute unapproachability, “wrath” of God
    • overpoweringness, majesty, might, sense of one’s own nothingness in contrast to its power
    • creature-feeling, sense of objective presence, dependence
    • energy, urgency, will, vitality
  • " fascinans ": potent charm, attractiveness in spite of fear, terror, etc.

#8

Here’s Rudolf Otto on it:

The feeling of it may at times come sweeping like a gentle tide, pervading the mind with a tranquil mood of deepest worship. It may pass over into a more set and lasting attitude of the soul, continuing, as it were, thrillingly vibrant and resonant, until at last it dies away and the soul resumes its “profane”, non-religious mood of everyday experience. It may burst in sudden eruption up from the depths of the soul with spasms and convulsions, or lead to the strangest excitements, to intoxicated frenzy, to transport, and to ecstasy. It has its wild and demonic forms and can sink to an almost grisly horror and shuddering. It has its crude and barbaric antecedents and early manifestations, and again it may be developed into something beautiful and pure and glorious. It may become the hushed, trembling, and speechless humility of the creature in the presence of - whom or what? In the presence of that which is a mystery inexpressible and above all creatures.


#9

My own perception is that what kind of actions are fundamentally moral, good and loving, do not change over time. And thus, if slaughtering the innocent is immoral now, it was not holy and moral in the past. For I’m not seeing that the “universe has evolved” in a way that only makes slaughtering children wrong today. What do you see as so changed such that only today’s circumstances would make such deeds unholy?


#10

I tend to think Bob that as unpopular and hard to swallow as it may be hollytree has a very valid point.

Who says God can’t evolve in dealing with his creation just as His creation evolves in dealing with God?

It is a quite incredible story if you look at it from the proper view. :smiley:


#11

My own perception is that what kind of actions are fundamentally moral, good and loving, do not change over time. And thus, if slaughtering the innocent is immoral now, it was not holy and moral in the past. For I’m not seeing that the “universe has evolved” in a way that only makes slaughtering children wrong today. What do you see as so changed such that only today’s circumstances would make such deeds unholy?

Bob,

The moral principle “Killing the innocent is wrong” isn’t a necessary moral truth. It’s not true in all circumstances or possible worlds. There’s a possible world where sacrificing Christ is justified if it saves the whole world from perishing. In utterly unique (holy) circumstances God has morally sufficient and justifiable reasons for killing the innocent. He’s in a privileged position and sees all of reality while we are finite and limited. We are not infinite in wisdom and knowledge like God is. God’s holiness sets Him apart. We live post 70 A.D. after judgment day in a new covenant.


#12

Well, I suppose it’s said by the same species that perceives that what is fundamentally moral changes–humans like you and me. I don’t think it’s been rare for observers to think morality is basically unchanging, even though circumstances may affect which principles we apply in a given situation. Again, my own conscience senses that slaughtering every baby would be unloving and immoral, even in eras that don’t believe that.


#13

We need an argument that the moral truth “Killing the innocent is wrong” is true in all possible worlds. It’s not a necessary moral truth. There is a possible world where Sacrificing Christ is justified if it save the whole world from being tortured forever in hell.


#14

[quote=“hollytree, post:11, topic:13832, full:true”]

The moral principle “Killing the innocent is wrong” is not true in all circumstances… [/quote]

You repeat your assertion and add the support that killing Jesus shows that killing an innocent would not be wrong. I realize you are assuming that God is the one who assaulted Jesus. But my own sense of the narrative is that those who actually killed Jesus are viewed as grievous wrong-doers. Just Jesus’ extension of forgiveness to these who know not what they do implies that killing him was a sin in need of forgiveness, and that such killing is not seen as an exception. Indeed even when pagan assaults are taken as divine judgments upon primitive Israel, those who perpetrated such horrors are understood (I sense rightly) as doing evil.


#15

Bob,

I said there is a possible world where sacrificing the innocent is justified if it saves the whole world from being tortured forever. Therefore, the moral principle “killing the innocent is wrong” isn’t true in all possible worlds. It’s not a necessary moral truth. there is no argument that it is. I showed where it’s not.


#16

Hollytree,

I’m sorry, but I’m not seeing where you spelled out any argument that “showed” that there is some other world where having us slaughter “innocent” children would be holy or loving, and as one made in God’s image, such a moral vision seems beyond my conception.

Maybe I need a better imagination, but the image of a deity who would feel that he’d have to torture everyone forever unless he first tortures and kills the innocent also strikes me as akin to pagan assumptions about how the capricious gods needed to be savagely appeased with others’ blood, or else they would be tortured by such all too carnal deities. But I’ve pursued that argument on the atonement threads.


#17

Bob,

I didn’t say anything like that. You have not provided an argument that the moral principle “Killing the innocent is wrong” is true in all circumstances. If it saved the whole world then it would be justified. Therefore, it’s not a necessary moral truth.


#18

Of course, no one ever can prove any such universal or moral truths. Thus you likewise have provided no argument that the immorality of slaughtering the innocent is not an abiding truth, or that sometimes it is fine (positing that it would be ok IF it was necessary is just the tautology in dispute).

Your initial post simply asserted that our evolution means that it was right in pagan times, but not today. We may need to just agree that the conscience of respected brothers can arrive at differing conclusion about the morality of killing the innocent.


#19

I gave a possible world where it would be justified and therefore showed that it’s not a necessary moral truth. If God has justifiable reasons for killing the innocent then He does nothing wrong in doing so.


#20

I don’t think you’ve said that enough times yet. Can you make a few more posts where you say it again?