A Crisis of Leadership

Sirje, I guess I would answer your question by saying God didn’t physically write the OT but the way it was written implies He dictated parts of it, especially the Torah (or law) sections. I do believe He arranged for it to be recorded and thus passed down to us the way we have it. But perhaps He wants to teach us some things about humanity and to realize some differences between then and now we may not have considered.

I recently came across a psychological theory that may be helpful in trying to understand the reasons behind the manner in which some of actions and edicts of God are recorded in the OT. This theory was proposed about forty years ago by a psychologist named Julian Jaynes. He believed that language had to reach a certain level of sophistication before human consciousness (what he defined as ‘the ability to introspect’) could be attained. This theory asserts that man’s consciousness is not innate but has developed over the last few thousand years. See:

I wonder if, rather, it’s man’s ‘conscienceness’ (i.e., attaining a fully developed conscience) that has evolved.

If you live in a society in which your very existence depends on whether or not a powerful neighbor decides to overrun your tribe, capture or kill your family, or take all you own and place you in slavery is your mind free to contemplate much else? If your energy is used up surviving at the ‘Basic level’ in Maslow’s hierarchy with virtually none of our modern institutions in place to protect you, is developing empathy for ‘the other’ high on your to do list?

Surely projecting that one’s god is stronger and more ferocious that the god of the neighboring tribe would be a worthwhile, even at times essential, element of defense.

Around 1500BC at the time of the Exodus, the plagues proved the power of Jehovah over the gods of Egypt and helped protect the Israelite refugees on their wilderness journey. The Psalms were written about 1000BC and one of them implores God to dash the babies of Israel’s enemies against the rocks. We also have David’s imprecatory prayers in the Psalms (asking for God to destroy those who hated him). Yet God could call David a man after His own heart (and only held David’s sin with Bathsheba against him). Is that because it was the best David could do because humanity’s conscience had not yet fully developed?

In the story of Jonah (from about 750BC) God was upset that Jonah did not want to go and warn the people of Nineveh, the capital of Israel’s enemy Assyria. Jonah struggled accepting the idea that God cared for his enemy, yet it appears that God expected him to do so. In the book of Micah, written about 700BC, we have the admonition to do what is right, love mercy and walk humbly with God. Jeremiah, who prophesied about 600BC, relayed a message from God that the Israelite exiles were to pray for Babylon, the city of their captors. Also about 600BC, we see the development of Buddhism and the Tao te Ching was written about 400BC. Both have much in common with the teachings of Christ about how we are to treat others, including our enemies.

Paul wrote that Jesus came ‘in the fullness of time’ which certainly could refer to the fulfillment of chronological prophecy but I wonder if it also meant He came when humanity had developed to the proper point to fully appreciate the contrast between what He preached and the ancient Israelite nation’s perspective on life.

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Yes, I have that book. Maggie (Cassie) talked about that a long timer ago. I’ve read most of it and skimmed the rest.

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