OT God versus NT God

December 6, 2006 | By | 29 Replies More

How do people who believe the Bible to be inerrant reconcile the Old Testmament version of God with the New Testament’s version? 

They don’t often try.  Rather, they cherry pick.  They tell the Noah story by focusing on God’s “saving” of Noah’s family, rather than firmly acknowledging God’s decision to commit cold senseless genocide regarding everyone else (even the plants and non-human animials).  With that little move, the OT God does seem a bit more like kind and gentle Jesus, who they portray by downplaying the fact that Jesus invented hell.  In the old days, when God was angry with you, you just died.  Bang!  That’s it.  Since the NT, mere death isn’t sufficient punishment.  You need to be tortured in hell forever.  But enough of these undeniable conclusions based on a detached reading of the Bible! 

Here’s a ribald cartoon that teases out those subtle personality differences between the OT and NT Gods.

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Category: Humor, Religion, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (29)

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  1. Scholar says:

    Larry, do you think gay marriage should be allowed?

    Larry, do you think abortion should always be illegal?

    Larry, do you believe that men are superior to women?

    Larry, do you believe in dinosaurs?

    Larry, do you believe in spirits?

    Larry, do you believe in cavemen?

    Larry, do you believe that your God is superior to mine?

    Larry, do you believe that the scientists are trying to deceive us?

    Larry, do you think that your soul is going to Heaven?

  2. Scholar says:

    How about (stem) cell research Larry, bad or good?

    How about intelligent design allowed in science class?

    How about slavery?

    How about building a wall between the USA and Mexico?

  3. grumpypilgrim says:

    Larry writes: "God doesn’t change…."

    What objective evidence supports Larry's assertion? The God of the OT and the God of the NT have radically different personalities, radically different covenants, and radically different audiences. Accordingly, objective evidence for Larry's claim is conspicuously lacking. However, it all depends upon how we define "God:" if our definition is broad enough, maybe, as Larry says, God doesn't change.

    For example, let's consider the weather. It changes, right? From season to season, from day to day, even from moment to moment. However, if we define "weather" to encompass all possible meteorological states for a given location (i.e., a state space), then we can rightfully say that the weather does *not* change. In my city, for instance, winters are long and cold, and summers are short and hot. We don't get snow in July, nor do we get 90 degrees in January. Thus, if we include all of this in our definition of "weather," then we can rightfully say it doesn't change. When it's cold in January, when it's hot in July, we can argue that the weather is the same as it has always been: it hasn't changed.

    It is the same with Larry's assertion about the god-of-the-Bible. Larry simply defines the god-of-the-Bible to encompass all possible gods described therein — i.e., everything written in the OT and NT — regardless of whatever inconsistencies or contradictions are included in that definition. He then asserts — correctly, based on his all-encompassing definition — that "God doesn't change."

    Is it proper to do this? Well, yes and no. It is proper in the sense that if we are going to talk about the god-of-the-Bible, then why shouldn't we include everything stated about that god in both the OT and NT? How else *should* we define the god-of-the-Bible except by reference to everything contained in those two books? On this point, Larry has a valid argument.

    However, once we accept this definition of the god-of-the-Bible, we immediately encounter the many conspicuous inconsistencies contained in the OT and NT. The god-of-the-Bible cannot be both infinitely loving yet cruel, infinitely good yet impotent to evil, omnipotent yet vain, etc. Larry chooses to ignore these inconsistencies, and I think this is wrong. It is one thing to define the god-of-the-Bible according to the Bible; it is another to do so unquestioningly.

    This is where Larry's argument fails. Reasonable people are perfectly justified in denying the existence of a "perfect" god who is self-contradictory, a trustworthy god who is deceptive, a mono-god who is a Trinity, etc. The problem with defining the god-of-the-Bible to encompass everything in the Bible is that it allows virtually *any* fictional god to be imagined into existence; i.e., the same argument will support the existence of the gods Buddha, Shiva, Ra, etc. The argument fails to distinguish among real gods (if any) and false ones.

  4. "your expectations blind you to the possibilities" I am not searching for possibilities, I am searching for success. You evaluate the bible as a religion concerned with individuals. I see it more as a franchise, a business arrangment. It claims to be suited for everything we are about. It makes claims, offers a recipe or template, has checklists and goals, and shows us what failure looks like. This seems pretty pragmatic, if not scientific. The specific problem is it requires a little faith, and you can assume for the time being it is only written by men: now what? It either works or it doesn't, it's either true or it's not. If it doesn't work it can't be true. Throw it on the dustbin of history like all the other forms of government that men have dreamed up. To paraphrase Chesterton, {I think it was}; It has not been tried and found wanting, it has been found difficult and left untried.

    Scholar; This thread is not about me. I'm not going to spend two hours answering your questions to have 2/3 of it [edited for length – admin]. You can add to my collection of questions by clicking on my name.

    grumpypilgrim; God doesn't reveal Himself all at once. The little that He has revealed has been done over eons. The names He uses for Himself are descriptive and would make a good study. You are under no obligation to listen to my "arguments". It is counter-productive to accuse me of being "unquestioning" based on the few things I have written here. I am not interested in putting forth my "version" of God. He can speak for Himself. I suggest you crack open a bible, read something, then ask Him to prove it. Why should you accept second-hand information?

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