So in order to reconcile what seems to be conflicts between our modern vision of our N.T. God and the God presented to us in the O.T., the following rationales are needed:
- The writers of the O.T. reported how the ancient Hebrews related to and understood who God was for them – not to our modern culture with two thousand years of knowledge regarding the life and teachings of Jesus.
- The O.T. world was primarily a primitive and pagan society not only struggling to evolve from beliefs in multiple gods to belief in one God, but living continuously under the pressures of military conquests by four very strong nations seeking to gain power over the various Hebrew leaders and their territories. For these reasons, confusion and inconsistencies in their writings could be expected.
- The general populations of the O.T. were barbaric pagans who lived under whatever national power was in control. However, most of the biblical writers were priests or prophets that were historically a part of Gods remnant dating back to the early days of Abraham. They reported both what had been passed down to them and what they personally witnessed while living under substantial political pressure.
- Biblical writers (including Prophets) often exaggerated the Hebrew Nations levels of suffering and oppression. Hyperbole expressions were common traits of ancient Hebrew writers.
- Mid-eastern populations, for centuries, were culturally acclimated to believe their gods, and later our God, controlled and directed everything in their lives. Therefore, we must accept that O.T. writers (including prophets and priests) blamed their punishments for their sins on their enemies or oppressing foreign powers –as being directed and controlled by their gods (or our God).
- It seems reasonable to surmise that behind the scenes, our loving God of the N.T., during O.T. history, witnessed (and suffered) as his people performed terrible acts (sins) that he did not direct or approve of.
- Many of the renowned writers in the O.T., being taught to believe that gods (or God) were responsible for all human events, put God in command of lots of terrible acts that were actually instigated by human leaders. How convenient it was to blame God.
- In conclusion, one can accept that the God of the N.T. is the same God as the God of the O.T. only by understanding that the writers and cultures of both testaments come from entirely different time periods and sources of historic information. God’s role is seen differently by writers of both testaments.
- Today, all believers, in all religions and Christian denominations continue to seek to understand who God is for them. We may never truly understand the nature of our God who is: all powerful, all knowing and all present. This is why we have faith.
Written by W.F. Peck