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  #1  
Old Apr 25, '11, 4:49 pm
ACVDelaCruz ACVDelaCruz is offline
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Question How does a Catholic reconcile God in the Old Testament with God in the New Testament?

This is more of a question of God's Love shown in the New Testament VS the vindictive God of the Old Testament. I understand it is a perennial question that may not be able to be answered immediately and, at that, completely. There is the element of Faith involved, as well as ontological arguments; however, how does one reconcile the God of Justice (Old Testament) with the God of Mercy (New Testament) to those who lack the Faith?

In other words, how should one read/interpret/comprehend the Old Testament in relation to the New Testament? Or, if it would be easier to list the principles governing the interpretation of Holy Writ, I would greatly, greatly appreciate it.

My humanities class has been reading The Brothers Karamazov. It's amazing, but raises many many questions. I know they are answerable; something definitive would be greatly appreciated. thank you.
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  #2  
Old Apr 25, '11, 5:12 pm
cor5755 cor5755 is offline
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Default Re: How does a Catholic reconcile God in the Old Testament with God in the New Testament?

I think of the Old Testament God first as a father and humankind, an infant. Throughout the Old Testament God was "bringing mankind along" so to speak, the same way that a father (and mother) raise a child today. A parent may slap a child on the hand to keep the child from touching a hot stove for example, and when the same child is older, the parent simply has to tell the child that the stove is hot and he or she will avoid touching it, time and example has taught them that touching the stove will hurt, where a young child simply doesn't know the difference. I think that God hasn't changed, we humans have learned lessons , sometimes the hard way, and now we can see the merciful God and the blessings he has given to all of us.
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  #3  
Old Apr 25, '11, 5:24 pm
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Julian0404 Julian0404 is offline
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Default Re: How does a Catholic reconcile God in the Old Testament with God in the New Testament?

For one without faith, "reconciling GOD" between the Old and New Testaments is the long way around. I would suggest you go to www.salvationhistory.com and obtain a copy of the CD by Scott Hahn on "Covenants" between GOD and man, which will assist everyone in better understanding the Old and New Testament relationships between GOD and man. Unsure of the exact title of the CD, but I am sure you will be able to find the correct one.
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  #4  
Old Apr 25, '11, 5:37 pm
david_friol david_friol is offline
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Default Re: How does a Catholic reconcile God in the Old Testament with God in the New Testament?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACVDelaCruz View Post
This is more of a question of God's Love shown in the New Testament VS the vindictive God of the Old Testament. I understand it is a perennial question that may not be able to be answered immediately and, at that, completely. There is the element of Faith involved, as well as ontological arguments; however, how does one reconcile the God of Justice (Old Testament) with the God of Mercy (New Testament) to those who lack the Faith?

In other words, how should one read/interpret/comprehend the Old Testament in relation to the New Testament? Or, if it would be easier to list the principles governing the interpretation of Holy Writ, I would greatly, greatly appreciate it.

My humanities class has been reading The Brothers Karamazov. It's amazing, but raises many many questions. I know they are answerable; something definitive would be greatly appreciated. thank you.
HeyACVDelaCruz
I never read The Brothers Karamazov, so I can not say anything about that. The bible I have read a bit and I know that the question you asked is a popular one. I do not really see it that way though. The God of the old testament is the same as the God of the new. As I see it God's justice and mercy go together hand in hand. I suppose it will be more easily grasped for all of us when the so called (and rightly called) God of mercy from the new testament calls down his just wrath upon those who refuse to believe [i]and obey[/I and sends them off to eternal fire(of which I hope I and all of us are spared). I'm sure those people will probably use many adjectives to describe God including "vindictive" as you have said. I think the important thing to remember is that the old testament is full of examples where God is showing his mercy but the people kept turning away, so out of great love God had to "spank" his children quite hard at times until they learned to listen to God's voice. Our world seems to frown upon this because our world does not know God. Still worse it does not even want to know God because it only serves it's own desires. There are many passages in the scriptures that I think do support this theory throughout the whole old testament. For a quick reference, look at the new testament book of Hebrews ch 11 which gives a list of some of the more popular stories and people who received great merciy from God because they kept faith.
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  #5  
Old Apr 25, '11, 5:58 pm
TimothyH TimothyH is offline
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Default Re: How does a Catholic reconcile God in the Old Testament with God in the New Testament?

David beat me to the puch as I was typing but I'll add to his post...

The God of the Old Testament is the same God as the God of the New Testament. There is no OT God of Justice and NT God of Mercy. He is one God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The God of Jesus Christ. Not two Gods but one.

And he is ever merciful and patient.

If you read the Old Testament through, sticking to the narrative books (skipping Leviticus, etc), you will see that God is incredibly patient. I mean like totally insanely abnormally patient. It starts with Adam and Eve. Don't touch the tree! But they do and instead of starting over, God sighs and gives them a way out - just follow him. But time and time and time again, the nation of Israel turned away from God.
  • They left Egypt and immediately balked at Moses after just a day or two, wanting to go back into slavery.
  • They were dissatisfied with manna from God and demaned meat.
  • They made a molten idol out of Gold at the very moment that God was giving Moses the law.
  • The went up against a few nations before crossing the Jordan and in spite of God fighting for them - he destroyed a whole city with trumpets - they decided to take matters into their own hands and devise thier own plans, going into battle with their own weapons.
  • Moses warned Israel to teach the laws and ordinances of God to their children. Joshua crossed the Jordan and the very next generation started worshipping baal and burning their children to the god molech.
  • Read the book of Judges. God raises up Judges to save Israel twelve times including Gideon and Sampson, and each time the people swear they will follow God's law. Each time they turn back to the gods of foriegners and gods of the nations around them.
  • God isn't good enough so they demand a king.
Etc, etc, etc.

They saw God part the Sea for them! But no, they still didn't trust God. God warns them and warns them and warns them but they do not listen. God is so patient with them but eventually says, "OK, suit yourself. Have it your way." and steps out of the way as they literally drive themselves off a cliff. And each time they almost commit suicide, God saves a remnant so that they can rebuild.

And it's really no different today. Think about the US Civil War. What was that? Did God wait patiently for 250 years while the United States of Americal held 4.5 million human beings in slavery until he had enough? Don't think so? Read the inscription on the inside of the Lincoln Memorial.

"If we shall suppose that american slavery is on of those offenses which in the providence of God must needs come buth which having continued through his appoionted time he now wills to remove and that he gives to both north and south this terrible war as the woe due to those by whome the offense came shall we discern therin any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to him. Fondly do w hope - fervently do we pray - that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continue until all the walth piled by the bondsman's twho hundred and figty yars of unrequited tiol shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash be paid by another drawn with the swoard as we said three thousand years ago so still it must be said, "The judgement of the lOrd are True and Righteous altogether." etc.

We think about Jesus as our friend and God as merciful but I fear what will happen to us because of abortion and contraception.

-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; Apr 25, '11 at 5:59 pm. Reason: David beat me to the punch...
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  #6  
Old Apr 25, '11, 6:29 pm
valentino valentino is offline
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Default Re: How does a Catholic reconcile God in the Old Testament with God in the New Testament?

God chose the Jews to be an example of the good God to the world.He had a right to destroy nations since all mankind went astray.It was simple justice.His approach to man did change when He sent His Son who He prophicied about.God did show His mercy over and over again to the Jews.Many times he cursed the Jews for disobeying His just laws(always for their own good)by was appeased by Moses or some other prophet or man of God.Human's often look on God as being unjust because they fail to see how infinitely good He is.We judge God according to our views.To eventually prove and show just how merciful and loving God is He actually sent His Son to earth.there can be nothing left that God can do to prove His love for man.
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  #7  
Old Apr 25, '11, 6:31 pm
ACVDelaCruz ACVDelaCruz is offline
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Default Re: How does a Catholic reconcile God in the Old Testament with God in the New Testament?

All of these are great! Thank you very much. It gives me a better idea of how to reconcile God's Justice with His Mercy, because he is non-contradictory. I'll do my best to look into Scott Hahn's explanation.

Until then, I'll be at peace knowing that in the end, we will all have to make an act of faith, and ultimately Love, which all of you have expressed today by answering my question.

Thank you very much!!!


Yours in Christ,
Anne

Last edited by ACVDelaCruz; Apr 25, '11 at 6:33 pm. Reason: adding closure
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  #8  
Old Apr 25, '11, 6:47 pm
TimothyH TimothyH is offline
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Default Re: How does a Catholic reconcile God in the Old Testament with God in the New Testament?

Quote:
Originally Posted by valentino View Post
God chose the Jews to be an example of the good God to the world.He had a right to destroy nations since all mankind went astray.It was simple justice.His approach to man did change when He sent His Son who He prophicied about.God did show His mercy over and over again to the Jews.Many times he cursed the Jews for disobeying His just laws(always for their own good)by was appeased by Moses or some other prophet or man of God.Human's often look on God as being unjust because they fail to see how infinitely good He is.We judge God according to our views.To eventually prove and show just how merciful and loving God is He actually sent His Son to earth.there can be nothing left that God can do to prove His love for man.
No Valentino, no. God's approach to man did not change. God does not change.

Nor does he curse man. He is a God of love and mercy. God is pure love.

God calls man into a covenent relationship with him. Covenents themselves come with a blessing and a curse - blessing if you keep the covenant and a curse if you do not.
If you obey the commandments of the LORD, your God, which I enjoin on you today, loving him, and walking in his ways, and keeping his commandments, statutes and decrees, you will live and grow numerous, and the LORD, your God, will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy. If, however, you turn away your hearts and will not listen, but are led astray and adore and serve other gods, I tell you now that you will certainly perish; you will not have a long life on the land which you are crossing the Jordan to enter and occupy. I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live, by loving the LORD, your God, heeding his voice, and holding fast to him. For that will mean life for you, a long life for you to live on the land which the LORD swore he would give to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." (Dueteronomy 30:15-20)
If there is a curse, man brings it upon himself by not keeping the covenant. The only thing that has changed is that unlike the covenents of old which were ratified with the blood of animals, God has "Cut a covenant" with his own blood, the blood of Jesus. But even though there is a new covenant in Christ's blood, it still stands with both a blessing and a curse.

-Tim-
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  #9  
Old Apr 25, '11, 8:15 pm
Crumpy Crumpy is offline
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Default Re: How does a Catholic reconcile God in the Old Testament with God in the New Testament?

I bungled my earlier post but Timothy captured what I wanted to say, and more.

The original question is a very deep question. I've been reading Jewish commentaries for a couple years. Modern Jews, of course, are still focused on just the "old testament" part of the Bible, and they have kept the faith, a very vibrant faith, in spite of everything you read.

The "harsh" treatment of people is a subject that is a very widespread question, as people get "into" the Bible. For sure, the OT talks about learning "fear of God" because the Bible takes both "carrot and a stick" approach to morality. There are rewards for obeying the God's covenant and their are "consequences" for not obeying the covenant. That's the big picture, and it's a New Testament concept, too.

the NT warns us not to mock God by sinning. Jesus talks about hell in Luke 17, I think it is, where the beggar is in "the bosom of Abraham" and the rich man is in a place of eternal torment. Some people say, if I'm going to hell, I'll be there with my friends, but the rich man's friends are no where in sight in Jesus' story.

Personally, I am challenged not to worship a god who is just a god of mercy -- because that is not our God.

The short answer to the original question: Dt 65:4 Hear O Israel the LORD our God is one God. Jesus reminds us of this in Mark 12:29. There is only one God. That's the Catholic position.
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  #10  
Old Apr 25, '11, 8:41 pm
Frankenfurter Frankenfurter is offline
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Default Re: How does a Catholic reconcile God in the Old Testament with God in the New Testament?

I don't see any great difference in need of reconciliation. Jesus is pretty harsh (from our point of view) like the Lord from Old Testament times. I just think that God gave up on mankind, and came down to do the job himself. Not that we were bad. Just that we were young, like a child, in need of the Fathers corrections.

Also, Moses could have just been manipulating people, using the the threat of God's wrath to keep everyone in line during a grueling desert voyage. I think that the bible includes this possibility and factors it in.
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  #11  
Old Apr 27, '11, 3:49 am
mark avery mark avery is offline
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Default Re: How does a Catholic reconcile God in the Old Testament with God in the New Testament?

Hello all

Jesus has now been entrusted with all the power of his father, so in answer, the God of the old testament is still loose amongst us.

O r do you understand that the fulfilment of the old testament in the new testament was the end our fathers will, also bearing in mind our father holds the devil back........

Who could know of the catastrophes we could also thereof be saved from.......
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  #12  
Old Apr 27, '11, 10:58 pm
valentino valentino is offline
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Default Re: How does a Catholic reconcile God in the Old Testament with God in the New Testament?

Tim: yeh,i see.thanks.
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  #13  
Old Apr 28, '11, 8:18 pm
fred conty fred conty is offline
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Default Re: How does a Catholic reconcile God in the Old Testament with God in the New Testament?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ACVDelaCruz View Post
This is more of a question of God's Love shown in the New Testament VS the vindictive God of the Old Testament. I understand it is a perennial question that may not be able to be answered immediately and, at that, completely. There is the element of Faith involved, as well as ontological arguments; however, how does one reconcile the God of Justice (Old Testament) with the God of Mercy (New Testament) to those who lack the Faith?

In other words, how should one read/interpret/comprehend the Old Testament in relation to the New Testament? Or, if it would be easier to list the principles governing the interpretation of Holy Writ, I would greatly, greatly appreciate it.

My humanities class has been reading The Brothers Karamazov. It's amazing, but raises many many questions. I know they are answerable; something definitive would be greatly appreciated. thank you.
The emphasis was on justice in this world in the old testiment. There was little known about the next world of heaven and hell. The world of the Jews consisted of this one and they expected their Messiah was to reestablish them in world leadership. God was about strength and power, to be true to His promises to Abram their father. They were promised
a land and to be numerous. And they expected their God to be more powerful than those gods of tribes and nations around them. They called upon God's justice (see the Psalms). And God kept his promises to them as long as they kept their promises to Him (commandments). To impress his people, God choose the weak to do great things so that
His people would know that the real source of power originated from Him. Examples were the 10 plagues, the lion's den, Goliath, wisdom of Solomon, defeat of pegan armies, Joseph in Egypt, and so on. When they went wrong, they could expect justice and feel His power as well; wineing and complaining, violation of covenant, lack of faith and trust, etc.

This went on for about 2000 years from Abram to the time of the real saviour, Jesus, the real missiah, about the same amount of time from Jesus to the present time. They were being conditioned by this display of power to believe God when He sent his only Son into their world. But as was told by Jesus in a parable, when the owner of the vinyard kept sending men(John the Baptist) to take charge and run the vinyard, they were killed. Then the owner(God) sent his Son because they would respect him. And they didn't, even tho He showed him his credentials (signs).

Now the time has come to show the real power of God, the love, mercy and power of the cross, to fulfill the promise to Abram, to make his seed as numerous as the stars in the heaven. The real power is blessed are the poor for you shall inherit the kingdom of God, bless are pure of heart for you shall see God, etc. Power of God is shown again thru
weakness, love, obedience to the cross. Now it is a new kingdom, not of this world, but where the power of love never ends, in the next paradise where all sing of their love and happiness (Eucharist).
-----------------------------
Abba Father, You are the potter, we are the clay, the work of Your hands.
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