Defending the Nonsense of the Old Testament?
This is something I found online and I, being filled with passion, decided to respond to its nonsensical arguments as well as offer better solutions where the OT god fails. I won’t offer any links to ensure that this person’s identity remains unknown. And please, if you’re going to copy the text to find the source, I would advise you to keep this person’s identity as a mystery in your own minds.
Responding to Apologetic Garbage (Unknown: Italics)
First of all, the OT and NT really need to be read together to see the big picture. God’s eternal plan is to create us and then be with us forever, because God is love. However, since humanity fell from Adam and Eve, we all became sinners. God’s judgement started, so did his salvation: The O.T. reveals God is just, the N.T. reveals God is love; the OT reveals God’s wrath towards sin, the NT reveals God’s mercy towards sinners; the old OT reveals God’s penalty on sin, the NT reveals God’s forgiving for sinners.
The idea that the Old Testament and the New Testament are meant to be doctrinally compatible and perfectly harmonious is deceitful and misleading. The idea that God is just in the Old Testament while being loving in the New Testament proves that God has two contradictory moral standards, because there cannot be two standards since morality should be consistent with beneficial welfare, harmonious with every virtue, and His justice should have no similarities with sin or vengeance. The Old Testament is a flawed human perspective of God while also being a progressive understanding that shifts from time to time. The New Testament is a perfect understanding of God because the self-revelation known as the Word that came in the flesh, which is why John says that, “No one has seen God, but…Christ came to make Him known” (1:18). If the Old Testament were a pure revelation of God, then this statement of John means nothing. The disciples wouldn’t have asked Jesus to show them the Father while He chastised them for not realizing that the Father has made Himself known to them through His Son (John 14:8, 9; Hebrews 1:1–3). There is no moral dichotomy in the moral ontology of God. In other words, if God is love, and love edifies, then His justice should be corrective and disciplinary instead of being abusive and vengeful. God cannot have an inferior standard and a superior standard of ethics abiding simultaneously in His own moral ontology; this itself would render God as morally inconsistent by nature. The OT has its share with revealing God’s mercy to Job and Jonah, so the claim that God suddenly forgives in the NT is completely foreign to Christian proto-orthodoxy.
First, by the time God judged Cannaanites, they had been performing all sorts of evil things for 400 years. In particular, Canaanites were sacrificing their babies to the molten hot metal god known as Molech. When a baby was sizzled on the hot metal arm of Molech, drums would be hit loudly so that parents would not hear the cry of the baby. It was a very cruel ritual. God had been patient for 400 years and waited for them to repent but they didn’t. So, God decided it was time for the judgement day.
If one believes in Penal Substitution Atonement, then the idea that God requires child sacrifice to appease Himself despite trivial ethical reasons, should be close to the notion of Molech. God had been patient for 400 years, yet commanded the slaughter of children by the sword which surely traumatized them. If God requires the termination of life, it would be logical for Him to deprive the breath of life from each person so as to remove the intense cruelty of suffering due to physiological and psychological reasons. There is no valid justification for what was commanded. God, in the book of Acts, deprived the life of Anias and Sapphira rather than consuming them with fire in similar manner to Elijah or Sodom and Gomorrah's demise. So then, the fact that their god didn’t choose a better alternative disproves the moral solution of this same deity. It is completely inconsiderate and very incompetent for this deity to command a potential genocide, which not only failed but also is a very ineffective method when done via physical means.
Second, while God made it very clear that murder is wrong for people to commit in the OT, God, as a life author, has the RIGHT to give and take life as he wishes, as Job says in the bible “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” You might feel indignant at this point, but wait, please do not consider God as if He was a mere motal dictator, and then take all the emotions we already had towards a dictator and project them to God. God is God, he is just and he is love. I will come back to elaborate on this point a little later.
But on what grounds does depriving life become a moral justification? Is it just for God to terminate life for any reason, even if superficial? I don’t think so. It would render God as being a moral dictator and abusive due to the lack of empathy that His creatures are morally fallible. God is love, but not righteous in the sense that He seeks the pure destruction of others for His own satisfaction. This stupid idea of justice projected unto God is none other than vengeance, which is not only sin, yet also cannot be harmonious with love. In order for the termination of life to be justified in God, the methodology and intention must be purely remedial and practical, but if not, then God is not justified in the burning of Sodom, slaughter filled with intimidation for children, and even the animal killing of a man of God. Childish reasoning for defending such actions!
Third, God look at our souls more than at our bodies. His salvation plan is the salvation of souls, not bodies. For God, when Cannanites died, they were just moved from one place to another as their souls never died. If the evils performed by Canaanites were overlooked by God, it might result in the death of more souls, both from Israelite and Cannanites, as the second death in the final judgement. God had much better idea then we do about what might happen next either way. He wanted to save more souls.
God’s salvation applies not only to our souls, but it extends to our bodies as well unless one rejects the bodily resurrection. Also, why make the argument that their souls were moved to another location if they will be thrown or consigned to endless suffering which is much worse than simply killing them in a terrestrial plane? IF He wanted to save more souls, the better option would be to terminate their breath of life rather than kill them ineffectively and detrimentally as possible. Heck, He could have used the Hebrews to do a ritual act so as to deprive all of their lives! But interestingly, God could have pacified them just as He pacifies an army through His prophet Elisha (2nd Kings 16:18–23).
Fourth, God’s salvation for the whole humanity needs to be fulfilled eventually by Jesus, a descendant of Abraham. History’s two themes are seen in progress in Deuteronomy 7 again: judgement for the Cannanites, and salvation was carried out in Israelites by entering the promised land.
The perverse imagination would be that God took forever to send His Son for the salvation of mankind whereas many of those who did not know Christ or the Jewish god would be consigned to hell forever. This god so loved the world that he took forever to solve the problem, knowing many would be lost to sin and hell forever as each century passed by casually.
Finally, Deuteronomy 7 was about a very specific command given to Isarealites at a very specific time for the promised land and for the salvation of the humanity. Now Jesus has died on the cross and resurrected on the third day, the salvation plan has been completed. We live in an era of grace. Killing using God’s name would be absolutely against God’s commandment and is subject to his final judgement.
The argument that these commands at one time where moral, then suddenly are morally wrong proves that God changes His moral values, which would mean that God changes His moral ontology; therefore, He would not be immutable and faithful to Himself according to Hebrews 13:8. Also, if God actually dictated the Bible as His word, and didn’t want humans to commit murder in His name from biblical examples, then He should 1) not have condoned it in the past, and b) fulfill His will without stooping down to humanistic solutions in vengeance. In both occasions, this god is stupid since he or she should be a moral exemplar and should’ve known that humans will imitate such cruelty if they knew it was committed by someone higher than themselves, and morally incompetent since he/she only resorts to physical solutions that require evil actions to hinder evil actions.
Today, some of us complain when God didn’t stop evil, and still complain when he did, like the case for Canaanites. Some of us might be pro-abortion, and at the same time we judge God “Thou shalt not kill” either. But here is the difference between God and us:
- God is the author of life, he can give, take, so he has the RIGHT to do so, but we don’t have that RIGHT because we are not the author, not the giver of life;
- God has the POWER to resurrect a life if he so wishes, but we do not have that POWER to resurrect a life. and
- God is absolutely righteous: he can punish the evil doers, and compensate the victims. He has the POWER to do so. We, not necessary righteous, even we were, don’t have the POWER to do absolute righteousness.
Again, if the method and intents behind the termination of life aren’t effective and remedial, then the OT god is not just or loving for that matter. The second reason is obviously ridiculous as it does not relate to any of the arguments. Having the power to punish evildoers does not render anyone as morally just, and not even God. Repaying evil for evil is sin despite anything. If Jesus inspires us to overcome evil with good, and to love our enemies, and claims that the Father does exactly the same thing, then God does not repay evil for evil; otherwise, it would entail that God suffers from human vengeance (Matthew 5:43–45). God’s justice cannot appear anywhere close to human vengeance. God doesn’t need to punish us because the devil and sin already fulfill this operation, so for God to punish us as well would not only fulfill Satan’s passions, but also it would be impractical and unnecessary. God doesn’t desire destruction, but Satan does and he wishes for the lost to fear God so as to reject Him. Even if God allows our destruction, He uses it to humble us and redeem us back to the truth. If God becomes the direct agent of destruction, then humans are bound to reject God with the subconscious perception of Him being evil and detrimental. Paul says, “Hand him over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that he may be saved on the day of the Lord” (1st Corinthians 5:5).
When we were kids, we all imagine “If I were the parents, I would…” We like to play the roles of parents. Only after we became the parents, we understand and appreciate the challenges of being a parent. But now we play another thought “If I were God…I would…”, well, if we try harder, write it down our ‘better’ proposal of creating a ‘better’ humanity and running a ‘better’ history, we will see that our proposal will fall apart immediately. Look, I don’t mean “You can’t criticize it unless you can do better” All I am saying is that, “Now you have criticized it, try and see if you can do better yourself.” In this way, you might be able to see the bigger picture better — “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Because he or she is a fundamentalist, they will reject valid criticisms due to religious fideism. If God really loved the whole world, He would not repay evil for evil, create a situation where it is impossible to be saved from endless torments, command cruel murders for such deeds to be replicated in the future, and if PSA is true according him/her, He would not punish the innocent in order to forgive sins. The idea that we can justify evil and nonsense in the name of God is a mental pathology. The early Christians did not commit genocides, repay evil for evil, and seek the demise of others because they had the revelation of Jesus who rejected the stoning of others, rejected the calling down of fire from heaven, and even omitted “the day of vengeance” verse from Isaiah 61 to emphasize grace rather than retribution. It is because of the Old Testament law that Jews sought to kill Christians, why the Jews rejected Jesus as being the true representation of the Father, and why latter Christians like the Reformers (not Anabaptists who held that the NT is on a different level of inspiration) killed anyone who did not follow their views. The early Christians did not read the Old Testament through the pure lens of literal exegesis, instead they read it through spiritual exegesis when the passage contradicted Christ-centered ethics, logical plausibility, and when it seemed to typify Christ. Overall, this defense can be summarized as: ηλίθιος (stupid), βλάσφημος (blasphemous), and το σώμα βαραίνει την ψυχή (the flesh weighs down the soul). Clarification: the somatic and infallible reading of the Old Testament when believed upon, destroys moral discernment and spiritual intelligence. I am not insulting this person’s mode of intelligence, but rather the theological system that imprisons their mind.
(Btw, this short phrase came from the Book of Solomon’s wisdom.)