Attacks against God from Within, Part 2


If you stopped by A Christian Worldview of Fiction a week or so ago, you know there was an active discussion generated by my post “Attacks on God from Within.” I answered some of the points raised by those with an opposing view in ensuing posts and some in comments, but there’s one more significant issue I want to discuss.

Some of the commenters claimed that God as He is presented in the Old Testament is so opposite from Jesus that He is unbelievable. Here are some salient quotes (note: the pages are posted in reverse order):

Otherwise GOD put us here, set us up to fall, and punished us for doing that which he set us up to do, which makes him a tyrant, not a just GOD.
– Debra Masters (p. 3, #14)

If GOD is capricious, and can do anything he wants outside of his own goodness/love/holiness, then I don’t want anything to do with Him anyway. If I have to believe that GOD is the way he is portrayed in the Old Testament, capricious, jealous, temperamental, schizophrenic to bi-polar, then he ISN’T GOD
– Debra Masters (p. 3, #28)

You read the bible and see GOD as GOD. I read it and see GOD as a tyrant. …

God is the creator. I don’t need him to be nice. But I do need him to be rational. Not capricious or violent or raging. Schizophrenic if you look at the GOD/Christ issue. …

I cannot make you understand why I cannot worship a violent, capricious, raging, maniacal, schizophrenic GOD
– Debra Masters (p. 3, #44)

I have stopped trying to rationalize such passages of Scripture – it makes God way too schizophrenic. If any world leader were to command the things that ‘god’ commands here, and any general were to carry them out as Moses apparently does here, they’d be condemned today as the worst kinds of war criminals.
– Mike Morrell (p. 1, #75)

As I thought about the idea of God being a tyrant or “schizophrenic,” I realized Abraham above anyone else, had a right to accuse God of such twisted thinking.

After all, He promised to make Abraham’s descendants into a great nation, beginning with Isaac. But while the boy was still “a lad,” God told Abraham to offer him as a sacrifice.

Wouldn’t you expect an argument from Abraham? Which is it, God, the boy will become a father of a nation or a sacrifice? Both can’t happen. What are you thinking? Are you … divided in your spirit? can’t make up your mind? good yesterday and evil today? Can I trust you for ANYTHING?

But no, Abraham’s reaction was entirely different. He believed God when He told him Isaac would be his heir: “Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6; also quoted by Paul in Romans and Galatians and by James).

He continued to believe God when He told him to sacrifice his son. The writer of Hebrews encapsulates his thinking:

By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten {son;} {it was he} to whom it was said, “IN ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS SHALL BE CALLED. He considered that God is able to raise {people} even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.

– Heb. 11:17-19 (NASB)

Interestingly, after Abraham proved his faith by his willingness to sacrifice his son, God gave him another promise, the Messianic promise: “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Gen. 22:18).

Abraham did not see God as a tyrant, as a monster, a war criminal, a child abuser, or as schizophrenic. He believed God—believed He would keep His promise even though it didn’t look possible in light of His very own commandment. Unshaken by the apparent contradiction, Abraham believed God.

Those today who want to throw out the Old Testament God in favor of a re-imaged Jesus do not have Abraham’s faith. Somehow, with a knife in his hand and his son spread on the altar before him, Abraham did not change his mind about who God is.

As a result, we have this wonderful picture of a father willing to offer his son, of a God providing a sacrificial lamb to take the place of the one destined to die. And a Messianic promise.

Published in: on February 4, 2010 at 12:10 pm  Comments (4)  
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