Did God Actually Command OT Brutality(243 Posts)
More to the point how do you believe in an all loving God but have such passages in the bible?
Have your opinions changed over the course of your faith?
Can you clarify that this is a question about Judaism (ie not other faiths which have Books beyond OT)
It can be about whatever faith you want if it holds the OT as part of their belief system.
If you feel that religions that have books beyond the OT have licence to disregard them then by what reasoning is that done?
Jesus quoted from the OT a lot.
Some Fundamentalist Christians believe the OT as fact rather than allegory.
Certainly the story of The Flood (if taken as a truth) , is God acting with brutality in order to cleanse the Earth and return it to its pre-Creation state.
They probably think God must of had good reason which is not to be questioned.
Actually as an environmentalist I can't help wondering sometimes whether a great global flood might be a solution.
"Or more to the point....",
Why didn't you put your main point in the heading OP?
Really interesting question. I am a Christian, with my faith founded on Jesus and those whom I've known who follow Him. Yes, He did quote from the OT a lot and some parts of it are really helpful. I do struggle with the brutality however and to answer your question, I really cannot reconsile the apparently brutal commands with the God in whom I believe. I tend to take them - like the story of the flood - as largely metaphorical and am very glad that I can look at them through the perspective of the New Testament.
Your thread poses many questions for clarification. Firstly, by brutality, I assume you mean death?
In answer to your corresponding question, there is a misconception about God. Whilst He is all-loving, in the sense that He loves all people with no discrimination, He is also righteous and with that, comes judgement.
Think about it for a minute. We are made in the image of God, so you will know this is true because you will experience something similar in your own heart. Whatever quality of goodness is in you will automatically be repelled by some of the worst evil you see around you in the modern day. Evil such as schoolgirls like the Chibok girls, being kidnapped and raped, one reportedly to the point of being able to only walk on all fours, or evil such as domestic violence, child neglect, paedophilia. God is just the same, except the only difference is that some things we normalise and accept are not normal or acceptable to God. That is the only difference. However we know what it is to have righteous anger stirred. It is the reason we seek justice and order. It is the reason we want these poor girls to be found and restored and repaired, and for the men who treated them so brutally to be brought to justice.
Which brings me to my second point. As humans made in the image of God we recognise there is a need for structured order; in other words, rules and laws. There is also a need for judgement when that law is broken. Again, God is just the same as us (or more accurately, we are the same as God!). When God's law is broken there needs to be a consequence. The book of Romans says "The wages of sin is death". That is our consequence. We now all die, which was not God's first plan for mankind, but was the consequence of breaking God's rules. However judgement and death is not the whole story, the verse in Romans goes on to say "the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life"
You mention brutality and if you mean death, then we all die one day. Not everyone dies peacefully in their sleep in the middle of the night, some die painfully, slowly, or suddenly. What we all have in common is that we will all die! God appoints a day for us to be born and a day for each of us to die, only He can determine this. Since He is God, it's up to Him when those days will be, not up to you and me! God has not done any injustice whether we live one day or a decade. Just because we don't like it or would choose something different doesn't make God wrong and us right. In fact, every day we are alive is God's grace to us.
So, do I believe in an all-loving God when I see He is also a God of judgement? Yes of course I do.
God works in mysterious ways
I thought I should pop that in.
Does God determine the way in which we die, as well as the day?
BigDorrit, we are thinking along similar lines. Am very interested to hear the answer.
There is a big difference between God deciding what day you will leave your body, and the nature of that same death.
One is clear that God determines, without any question. The other I haven't read anywhere to conclude that God actually chooses the method as such. I would hesitate to add to the scripture because we are warned against either adding to; or taking away from. However God clearly is involved with the human life and sometimes intervenes, other times does not, we don't always know why. Isaiah says "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways... for as the heaven is higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts"
Firstly, by brutality, I assume you mean death
Well no, how about the Israelites being commanded to kill all the people of a particular nation except and of the virgin females they fancied the look of? That's pretty brutal.
In answer to the question about whether I find every death perfectly acceptable, no of course I don't. I detest cruelty and feel sad for the awful suffering some people endure in their death. But I understand death is not where it ends, and you could argue that in the big picture, it's more important what happens to you after you die. Jesus said "I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!"
I know my place when I size myself up against God, and if He does not intervene, although I find my human understanding limited, I trust that God is who He says He is, and that being the creator and sustainer of life, holds the keys of life and death. I don't. How can I argue the toss against someone with such high power and knowledge when I have much less human power and knowledge?
Op, yes God of the OT did order brutality on people who were not his favourite. He comes a cross as a God who uses the naughty step for his Israelites but brutality and murder for everyone else. Even though, the whole point of the creation story is that God created in his own image.
When op asked about brutality I understood it as God asking his favourite people to go to war on his behalf while he offered help and defended them.
He did use all different kinds of actions to mercilessly murder the disobeyers.
Looking at the book of job and how he treated him. It is shameful. That was controlling and vindictive. He actually used a man as tool to fight with Satan to try and prove a point about his power. Why would an innocent man suffer like that.
Jonah being sent on a mission and he decides to go somewhere else. What happens ? He gets swallowed up by a big fish and spat out after asking for forgiveness.
His brutality was all based on jealousy. Like a mentioned on a different post.
The existence of evil
I know that people who justify the existence of evil by a God of the OT is that if you did not have evil, you would not know what good is. You would not be able to appreciate goodness. Evil itself does not exist but when you luck goodness, evil thrives.
To explain this another ways is, if you have a society that has social norms and values in place. When you have social break down You get anarchy. In the bigger scale of things, anarchy is equivalent to evil when talking about what is good.
I'm a Christian but I don't like the OT. I don't take the bible literally but I do pretty much set my store by the Gospels. I think Jesus changed everything.
But I can't articulate it and I'm almost afraid to delve further (eg doing the Alpha Course) incase it shakes my faith which I find very sustaining.
So I'm watching this thread
10 When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautifulwoman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife.
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