Sabbath Sermon: Greg Boyd and Paul Eddy, "How Do You Reconcile the Wrath of God in the Old Testament with a Loving God? "

(system) #1

From the video description for this week's Sabbath Sermon:

"Our Wrath and Love Q&A with Greg and Paul was on Tuesday, May 11, 2010. Greg Boyd and Paul Eddy attempted to reconcile the violence of the Old Testament with a loving God. This is from October 2010 at Woodland Hills Church."

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

(Thomas J Zwemer) #2

I think that one must understand the Old Testament in the context of Paul’s letter to the Churches of Galatia. The difference between Hagar and Sarah… The Old Testament sees God as the Law giver and the law enforcer., The New Testament see God as the Law expander and the Law fulfiller. For shame, those who content for a perfect final generation, insist on Hagar. The Gospel is built upon the God of Grace,in which the law was perfectly fulfilled in Christ and the full weight of its penalty fulfilled at the Cross. Tom Z

(Sirje) #3

First, none of this is going to fly in Silver Springs - but that aside, there are some issues both Greg and Paul need to settle for themselves before this book comes out. If much of the OT lives in the “shadow lands”, pointing to the NT (if only in retrospect), what is the Adventist church doing living in those shadows. Overwhelmingly, SDA theology comes straight out the OT; but, instead of living in, and promoting the thing being anticipated, we settle into the OT paradigm, substituting Adventist membership for the Hebrews. We give the NT its meaning out of the OT; instead of seeing the NT the object of the OT - not the same thing. For the one, the OT is primary; for the other the NT is the real.

In a nutshell, might I suggest that we could solve the whole problem by applying this “responsible identification” to the entire NT as it relates to the Old. Could Jesus not have referenced the OT - its laws and stories - on the same basis as Greg suggests is God’s relationship to the violence He seems to promote in the OT.

Jesus came into the land of the Hebrews, not because they were promised that he would come; but because they were waiting for rescue - political rescue, but rescue nevertheless. Israel sat in the center of the crossroads of civilization. From this vantage point, information would spread to all corners of the globe, especially with the Roman empire at the helm. To this strategic location, God sent His Son - just as alien to the Jews as to any of the others. To the Jews He became the awaited Messiah (with a twist); to the Greeks, the “unknown God,” for whom they had even erected a statue. As the Jews were being dispersed into every corner of the globe, their “messiah” would also go with them - except it wasn’t their Messiah. It was God, taking advantage of the ego-centric dreams of a people.

We can’t somehow intertwine the OT God of vengeance with the NT God of grace and unfathomable love, by excusing the violence on the basis of a disengaged God. What we permit, we also promote.

(Tongkam) #4

There are two contexts for sin: 1) the sinner; and 2) the universe.

An unrepentant sinner who deliberately persists in sin is unfixable. The universe’s problem with sin, however, is fixable.

God does all He can to fix both, but He is too loving to remove individual freedom of choice. When God has done all He can, and the sinner has chosen to reject God, the punishment must come. The universe will one day be clean again after God’s wrath has destroyed sin forever.

(Sirje) #5

The universe doesn’t sin. Only people sin. There was more going on in Canaan. That was a ritual cleansing where the kids and the animals had to be slaughtered as well. No Christian society would tolerate that happening today. The Muslim god evidently has the same mandate. What do you think of “him”?

(le vieux) #6

So you have a problem with God’s dealings with unrepentant sinners in the OT? That God, by the way was Jesus (I Cor. 10:1-4). Did He somehow soften His stance on sin in the NT? It was He who said I am the Lord, I change not. Mal. 3:6. And Paul tells us, Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever. Heb. 13:8. If the “Christian God” is different from the “Jewish God,” how do you explain Ananias and Sapphira?

(Sirje) #7

Kids and animals can’t repent. They are innocent.

(le vieux) #8

That may be so, but the same Jesus who let Mary off the hook, also told the Israelites to destroy everyone and everything in some of the pagan villages. Does not the Potter have a right to do what He wants with the clay?

(John Alfke) #9

Only two possible answers: either God is the wanton killer that the OT represents (murdering innocent Egyptian kids to impress the Pharoah, killing everybody and innocent animals in a “flood”),


the ancient fireside tales eventually written down were the musings of superstitious uneducated nomads thinking the sun circled a flat earth, that women were more “unclean” than men, who saw their God as responsible for everything from fire to drought or flood, and that the number 7 was divine because with the naked eye they could only see 5 wandering planets plus the sun and moon.

(Sirje) #10

Didn’t you listen to the sermon? The whole point was to “reconcile” the wrath of the OT God with the teaching and person of Jesus. Saying that Jesus was the one directing the Israelites in the OT is not an agreed upon prerequisite here. He is not mentioned in the OT. Jesus, himself, prayed to God and called Him Father. The God of the OT was not Jesus, no matter how you slice it.

(le vieux) #11

I didn’t say that Jesus was the God of the OT. Paul did. I take his statements over your wishful thinking. But it doesn’t matter either way, since God does not change and neither does Jesus, and Jesus said that if they saw Him, they saw the Father. Or is I Cor. 10:1-4, one of those inconvenient portions of Paul’s writings that we “don’t accept,” as someone on another thread said?

How can you pit God in the OT against God in the NT? If it was the Father in the OT and Jesus in the NT (which is what it appears you are hinting at), were they not in agreement, and Jesus had to come and undo the “evil” that His Father had done in the OT? These are the kinds of nonsensical ideas that are the fruit of trying to differentiate between the God of the OT and the God of the NT. If we let Scripture speak for itself, we don’t have these problems.

(le vieux) #12

It’s really a pity that there’s no down arrow. You’d get one here. We all know that you have no faith in the inspiration of Scripture, so your comments are not taken seriously by those who hold the Bible in high esteem.

(Tongkam) #13

The universe doesn’t want sin. Only unrepentant sinners want sin. That is why the former is fixable but the latter is not. Destroy sin and unrepentant sinners and the universe is fixed. The only way to fix the unrepentant sinners would be to force them against their will, i.e. remove their power of choice, which would be a denial of God’s love–something that God will not do. This is why their condition is unfixable. They must be simply removed from the universe, that all may have a perfect existence once again.

(Richard Ludders) #14

Tongkam, can sin exist with just the “removal” of Satan?

(Tongkam) #15

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” (James 1:14)

According to the Bible, it appears Satan is no longer required. Once we fell, we become sinners in our own right.

(Sirje) #16

We are all unrepentant sinners. We think we can remove sin from ourselves by abiding by some rules and laws, all the while totally unaware of sins still present in our hearts. Your explanation sounds reasonable to someone who considers himself to be sinless.

The only reason you want to think of the OT thousands who were slaughters in the name of God as being “unrepentant” is that you can’t imagine God ordering such a slaughter - so they must have been hopeless. It simply shows that even you can’t understand how the God Jesus came to show us could do such a thing.

It’s not just about getting rid of a people who are in the way of the Israelites occupying a land - it’s about how “God” got rid of them - demanding that the Isrealites do it, and in a horrific manner - a blood bath of all living things, including children and animals. I’m not buying it. What happened there is not at the hands of a God who loves.

(Sirje) #17

No, that’s just it. Jesus did not come to undo what the Father did in the OT. He came to undo what had been the Hebrew perception of God, attributing their own nationalistic ambitions for God’s will. He came to show them, and us, what God is really like.

(Sirje) #18

Don’t worry, when I see certain names in response to my posts, I assume “down arrows”.

(le vieux) #19

You’re not making any sense. It was God who commanded some of these things which, based on some of your earlier comments, you might label “atrocities.” It had nothing to do with perception. Unless you’ve taken the position that Moses, along with the other authors of the OT, was not writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

(le vieux) #20

I can see that there will never be a meeting of the minds here. Your approach to Scripture is obviously different from those of us who take it as divinely inspired. I think you need to go back and read more of the SOP. She helps in our understanding of the whys and wherefores of God’s dealings in the OT. The Bible doesn’t call God’s dealing with the wicked His “strange act” for nothing. However, one does not need to search very far to find how depraved and degenerate some of these pagan societies were. And they had had opportunities for repentance, but rejected them. They were like a cancer and needed to be removed. As for the killing of children, they may have so hereditarily disposed to evil, that God could not do anything else with them. That’s where one must have faith that God will always do what is right, and that our perception of what constitutes “love” is not necessarily His perception. His ways our higher than our ways, and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Isa. 55. You’ll have to take it up with Him.