The God Of Abraham, Isaac, And Moses [re-post]
For the record, I do not believe God "hates" or "punishes" or "shows wrath" or "becomes angry" or "regrets" in the human sense of those words.*
I believe prophets, teachers, and scribes inspired by God were only able to explain some aspects of God's word in the limited language of their own culture. Basically, the first 5 books of the Bible, the underpinning for everything else that follows, were written by a pretty angry, feisty, violent guy who came from an even angrier, feistier, more violent background. That he was even capable of wondering if there was a better way was a remarkable achievement and made him "the most humble" man among his people.
If you're an abortion clinic bomber you're probably gonna be a nicer guy than the drug dealers, murderers, and rapists in your prison. Same w/Moses & the children of Israel.
This does not make the message of the early prophets and apostles invalid, but it behooves us to look at the core message as unfiltered as possible by the culture of the era.
The children of Israel were a brutal, nasty people as evidenced by the books of Genesis & Exodus. Abraham & Moses would not be considered sterling examples of humanity today, but in their time & culture they were paragons of virtue.
This doesn't mean they had reached the epitome of human morality, but rather that the rest of humanity was soooooooooooooo much worse (especially the Israelites). Moses' message had to be shaped for two audiences: Those yet to be born, but more crucially to those around him at the moment.
There's a lot of blood and violence in the OT, not because God desired any of it, but because sometimes it was the only option under the circumstances. (You will note God never eradicated tribes/nations/peoples who while opposed to Israel made no effort to eradicate them; only when a tribe waged unrelenting genocidal war on the Israelites did they get massacred in return.)
The OT starts w/a lot of legalisms, but ends up with repeated pleas not for ritual & sacrifice but for contrition & genuine change of heart, specifically to treat one another fairly, to look after the poor, the widowed, and the orphaned, and to love God.
God declares himself to be a God of love. He sent His son to save all of humanity, not to condemn it. It is His will that all be saved. He is quick to forgive & eager to do so.
God's word is not false, but the humans who interpreted the prophecies they received from God did so in the framework of their culture. Early, primitive, violent tribesmen envisioned a primitive, violent God, the latter prophets revealed a God of love, compassion, and glory.
Now, either those later OT passages are the work of false prophets because they contradict what Moses wrote, or else they reflect a closer understanding of what God wants because the culture of the Israelites had grown & matured in the intervening centuries along with their understanding of the will of God.
It does not mean Moses was wrong, just that his job as the planter of the seeds does not match the job of the harvester of the grain, even if both share the same end objective.
God did not change, the human culture changed as they gained wisdom.
* I don’t believe He “loves” in the human sense of the word, either; what He does is far greater, far grander than that.