Do we have a vengeful God?


#1

Hello-

As I ponder our scripture, I have a few things bouncing around in my brain. I hope someone can help me.

I was wondering, in the Old Testament I think about things God allowed. Things considered bad. Like Adam and Eve, the test of Abraham, Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah, Job, hardening of the Pharaohs heart, the Israelites, etc.

Wouldn't that mean that our God is an angry God?

Please and Thanks!!

Jillian


#2

It seems in the OT that God is angry, but if you see that the people kept disobeying and turning away from and rejecting God, it seems that the people warranted Gods anger. If you look more at the OT you will see that God is merciful too.

It seems the NT God is more loving, I suppose maybe because it is the establishment of a new type of covenant through Jesus who came to show us the way of love.

But, no I dont really think God is vengeful for no reason , unless we constantly reject his mercy over and over with no desire to change.


#3

Psalm 7.11-13, “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.
If a man does not repent, God will whet His sword; He has bent and readied His bow; He has prepared for him His deadly weapons, making His arrows fiery shafts.”


#4

God is not vengeful, He is just. Every time a sin is committed, the offense goes against God, who is perfect, thus the sin hurts Him more than we can ever know. There is no punishment you or I could fully think of or fully understand that can be a just reward for such actions. It took Jesus, who was God and thus was perfect Himself, to die on the cross to open the way to heaven for us.

He’s also merciful. Think about it, as JilianRose said, these people didn’t just say “I"m gonna steal that apple” and get smitten for it. They were sinning for generations before God finally took action. One great example is when God was willing to spare an entire town if a single just man could be found in it. Truly, considering the amount of sin, that’s pretty damn merciful right there, even if it didn’t work out!


#5

A close examination and analysis of the Hebrew Bible reveals that G-d is both merciful and just, and that His mercy is completely beyond what we might expect or deserve from other humans.


#6

To quote a great Saint:

**"Some there are who seem astonished when they fancy that our good God has, in a certain sense, changed His mode of governing the world since the ancient times: for, in the latter He was wont to be called the God of armies, and He used to speak to the people out of clouds with bolts of thunder in His hands; for indeed, He punished crime with all the rigor of His justice. For one single adultery He put five-and-twenty thousand of the tribe of Benjamin to the sword. For an act of vainglory committed by David in making a census of his kingdom, He sent a terrible plague, which in a very short time swept off seventy thousand of the population. For one irreverent and incautious glance He slew fifty thousand of the Betsamites. And in these our times He tolerates not only vanities and frivolities, but adulteries the most sordid, scandals the most barefaced, nay, and the most frightful blasphemies which many Christians cast on His most holy Name.

How then do we account for all this? Why this difference in His mode of governing? . . .

The holy sacrifice of the Mass is the true and sole reason for such stupendous clemency, for in it we offer to the eternal father the great victim, Jesus Christ."**
St. Leonard of Port Maurice


#7

if i may make some perhaps personal observations:

you are asking for feedback from “someone”;

  • anonymous posts on the internet may not be the best source
  • we all learn differently, but i find reviewing the actual scriptures and the Catechism to be extremely helpful

you are asking us about things God allowed:

  • The way it is phrased, it is as if He isn’t here
  • He is more than listening in; He knows us through and though - and loves us
  • you can always pray, ask Him directly to open your mind to such matters
  • at any rate it is important to strive to keep Him in your heart in everything you do

you talk about “things considered bad”

  • what makes them “bad”?
  • i assume you are referring to suffering in general since the examples you give are not otherwise connected in my mind
  • if you are asking why there is suffering, the simple answer is that we chose it
  • i am pretty sure that will not satisfy, but it is not an issue for me so i 'm not sure i can help
  • i have no doubt of God’s love for us

about His being an “angry God”

  • There are some verses in the Psalms that speak to His being slow to anger
  • as i see it, all creation comes into being though His eternal love and we exist, with our feelings, desires, suffering, and joy within the ocean of His infinite compassion, so i do not experience Him as an angry God
  • it may help to introspect; there may be particular things that you feel He might be angry about, or perhaps you angry with Him

#8

[quote="JillianRose, post:1, topic:313624"]
Hello-

As I ponder our scripture, I have a few things bouncing around in my brain. I hope someone can help me.

I was wondering, in the Old Testament I think about things God allowed. Things considered bad. Like Adam and Eve, the test of Abraham, Noah, Sodom and Gomorrah, Job, hardening of the Pharaohs heart, the Israelites, etc.

Wouldn't that mean that our God is an angry God?

Please and Thanks!!

Jillian

[/quote]

God hates sin, while loving humankind, the sinners. The OT Jews still had a distorted view of God, a viewpoint that He didn't deserve, and a viewpoint that began at the Fall-reference the Catechism, para 399, and that whole section on the fall of man for that matter. When the time in human history was ripe (when man was just becoming ready to recieve it), God fully revealed His nature and will via the incarnation of Christ, and this reveals a God who is trustworthy beyond measure and loves man with a boundless, unconditional love, always having mans best interest and complete happiness at heart. Scripture tells us that man 'hated God without reason'. Enmity comes from man, not God.


#9

God is God always and forever and is unchangeable.

Jesus is God and is one with the father and spirit. One God in 3 persons (who have one nature...Divine ......in PERFECT communion).

That being said, many people say that the God of the old testiment is different than the God of the new testiment. But this is not true.

God being perfect in Himself and eternal (outside of time) is the same yesterday, today and tomorow. He does not change.....what you're seeing is mankind changing over history and God taking us where we stand in our evolution as a human body of persons.

For instance, I have a 17 month old son. I will discipline and deal with him differently now than I will when he is 8 , or 20 yrs old.

In the old testiment God permits the execution of prisoners of war.....actually insists on it. Was God being cruel ? No, He just knew where His peoply mentally and spiritually were. By insisting they be immediatly put to death, He ensured they would not be raped, tourtured, etc etc. Later, When God comes in the new testiment ....He tells us to "love our enemies" . He asked for a higher form of respect for life.


#10

I understand what all of you are saying. Then why as Catholics do we believe God does not cause “bad” things to happen when it is obvious that from the Old Testament that he does? I guess what is confusing me is, as a Catholic I have been taught that God is good and does not cause bad things to happen. I understand that we have free will and sin causes bad things, but what about what God had happen in the Old Testament? Is it possible that the reason so many terrible things that happen in this world is because we pushed him too far?

Why do we believe what we believe as Catholics?

Thanks,
Jill


#11

Because it’s the role of the *Church * to teach us the nature and will of God, not by our own personal understanding of Scripture, which must be understood in the light of the historical context, or which simply *can’*t always be perfectly understood in every case.

“if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” 1 Tim 3:15

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
**81 "Sacred Scripture is the speech of God as it is put down in writing under the breath of the Holy Spirit."42
"And [Holy] Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit. It transmits it to the successors of the apostles so that, enlightened by the Spirit of truth, they may faithfully preserve, expound and spread it abroad by their preaching."43

82 As a result the Church, to whom the transmission and interpretation of Revelation is entrusted, "does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence."44

85 "The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ."47 This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

86 "Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith."48

107 The inspired books teach the truth. "Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures."72

108 Still, the Christian faith is not a “religion of the book.” Christianity is the religion of the “Word” of God, a word which is “not a written and mute word, but the Word which is incarnate and living”.73 If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, "open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures.”

More on this from the Catechism on this can be found here: scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s1c2a2.htm#97
**


#12

I refer you back to my post (#9) and also would add:

One of my favorite quotes in the bible: “My son, do not disdain in the discipline of the Lord, or loose heart when reproved by Him. For whom the Lord love He disciplines, He chastizes every son He acknowledges”.

What you are seeing quite often in the bible is us punishing ourselves. Do you know what is God’s greatest punishment of all the bible? Letting catastrophies/enemies overtake His people. When His people step back from Him…God permits them to take a step back from Himself and they get to taste what that feels like.

In conclusion, it’s not vengence that fuels God…it’s love and mercy that pulls Him to PERMIT, to allow awful things to happen. By permitting this, people “wake up” to what it feels like not being under His protection and care and THEY run back to Him.

Look at the story of the prodigal son.

It’s why there is a hell…it’s God’s love and mercy that permits it to exist! NO ONE in hell is suprised that they are there! They chose it! Freely and completely! To force someone who does not want to be in heaven with you for allllll eternity would be immoral! You don’t need to be with God for all eternity anymore did the isralites in the old testiment need to follow and be under God’s laws and protection.

God loves us sooo much we have the right to choose to be in misery.


#13

CONCLUSION POINT: God ONLY PERMITS evils to happen to bring about a greater good!

Just think of the cross. Probably the worse thing that could happen in the universe....the brutal murder of an innocent God.............God permitted it and saved a world.


#14

Thanks its alot to absorb. I will keep on plugging on. I guess I am just trying to understand our faith more. It gets confusing sometimes.

In Christ,
Jill-]/-]


#15

oh heck yea! It’s deep…very deep!

Just one word of caution. The bible is unlike ANY book. It’s an ancient book from a different time with a different culture, it’s actual literature using symbolism ,forshadowing, and other literary tools AND it’s a book that teaches religious truths and is not meant to reveal science, history, etc etc…it can have these truths in it…but its purpose is a religious text teaching religious truth. Lastly, its a book that you have to look at in it’s entirety.

What I mean by that is its really a love letter…and if you’ve ever gotten a love letter from someone …you know you can’t just read a specifice verse/line and understand the entirety of what the letter is trying to say. You gotta read the whole thing. So, if you just look at this instance or that instance in the bible and look at it at face value…you’re not gonna get it.

Good luck to you

an AWSOME free online catholic bibe study:

www.salvationhistory.com

God bless!


#16

Just keep in mind that the Church defines for us the nature of God, and vengeance is not an attribute of His in the way we might ordinarily think of a human vengeful heart, even though He will repay evil according to His justice.


#17

i guess this is where hope comes in

hope not in the sense of "i wish it is true"
but Hope meaning a "confident expectation"

so that in spite of
a down-turn in one's circumstances or
a rising doubt
one can still affirm God's love:
His will for what is good for us and for our ultimate salvation


#18

So I am lost? As Catholics do we believe in predestination? ugh!! lol :D

Sorry, its hard to wrap my human brain around.


#19

nope, He won’t violate our wills.


#20

i’ll give you a spin on this:

we exist in both time and eternity

time seems easy to explain in the sense that we can see that it has passed since the first line of this post was written; we are here at a later time

we are here and now as we were when we started reading the post
this is where we get to the eternal
i can imagine forward in time, (which is not here or now)
when i will be then, right where i am now - here, wherever that here is

you can’t get away from the now; you can think about the past or the future, but you are always now in the moment
so altho’ the contents are finite and at times, contain much suffering,
they occur in a moment that has no boundaries, no beginning, no end, it is
and it is in the moment that we choose

imagine God’s omniscience as His existence within a Now that contains all nows
He is eternal as every event, every one of our decisions is His present

Imagine that our being made in the image of God, includes our ability to weave stories
we write a draft refine it until the finished story exists in time and space
God’s story may be reality; what we do in time, He does from outside of time, so that it is "instantaneous"
all creation lies before Him

So when He created Heaven and Earth, there followed in time, Adam, his fall; a fish was prepared to swallow Jonah, Christ (the alpha and omega - existing before everything) was made flesh and killed, resurrected, ascended, the last day
all is there within His being that encompasses all existence

from outside of time He reveals HImself and His plan for our salvation to His prophets


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