Question about the OT God

Hi All,

I have been asked many times by many atheists about the OT and the nature of God.
They often say, the God of OT is loathsome,hateful,inconsistent and lacks compassion etc.

I understand that we can go back and forth with Bible verses that contradict such characterisation of God. For example Leviticus 20 seems to be a very compelling argument by some of the atheists. Though I do not agree that the image of God according to OT is such that I have mentioned above, my personal conviction is not sufficient to convince others or to give a reasonable arguments against such accusations.

Therefore would anyone has any links, resources, sources which will help me to justify the God of Old Testament and defend the Bible?

With prayers,
Joe

This question has been posed quite a few times in the Ask An Aplogist forum over the years. Here is one of them:

Why does God get nicer in the New Testament?

hi Joe
here’s what I was taught:
God in the OT was looking out for the Hebrews. They were HIS people. His only request was that the Hebrews obey Him (1st commandment).The Hebrews being so recalcitrant kept disobeying. Judges is a good example. The Hebrews would begin to follow the local pagan religions and then God would punish them. Eventually God would forgive them. They would worship God for a while, then digress back to pagan gods. This happens over and over. It’s like parent who has a disobedient child. The child disobeys and gets punished. At some point the parents forgive the child Not learning from this the child disobeys over and over and continues to get punished.

In The NT, Jesus gives us the New Covenant commandments (these do not replace the original Decalogue) Love God and Love your neighbor (MK 12:28-31). the Covenant of Jesus replaces the Mosaic laws, so we no longer follow them. The laws in Leviticus are Hebrew laws. In the new covenant these laws no longer apply: they are now non-Christian laws. In the liturgy of the Eucharist, Jesus says This is the chalice of my blood. The blood of a new and everlasting covenant. The covenant of the Christian faith.

I found a lengthy site regarding the Covenants:
ecclesia.org/truth/covenants.html

hope this helps a little.
ahbet

29. The Books of the Old and New Testament provide us with the first and fundamental fact concerning the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness. In the Psalms and in the preaching of the Prophets, the name merciful is perhaps the one most often given to the Lord, in contrast to the persistent cliché whereby the God of the Old Testament is presented above all as severe and vengeful.
(Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, JPII, 1984)
Ender

I see OT God/NT God as a both/and, not an either/or. There are plenty of examples of God’s loving and patience in the OT and God’s wrath in the NT (Jesus’ clearing the temple of money changers and the plagues of Revelation, for example). We should also remember that these books were written not only by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit but by the hands of men who had vastly different experiences of God. NT writers knew a God Who had truly walked amongst them, eaten with them, wept with them, died for them.

Something else to think about, from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

128 The Church, as early as apostolic times,104 and then constantly in her Tradition, has illuminated the unity of the divine plan in the two Testaments through typology, which discerns in God’s works of the Old Covenant prefigurations of what he accomplished in the fullness of time in the person of his incarnate Son.

129 Christians therefore read the Old Testament in the light of Christ crucified and risen. Such typological reading discloses the inexhaustible content of the Old Testament; but it must not make us forget that the Old Testament retains its own intrinsic value as Revelation reaffirmed by our Lord himself.105 Besides, the New Testament has to be read in the light of the Old. Early Christian catechesis made constant use of the Old Testament.106 As an old saying put it, the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.107

130 Typology indicates the dynamic movement toward the fulfillment of the divine plan when "God [will] be everything to everyone."108 Nor do the calling of the patriarchs and the exodus from Egypt, for example, lose their own value in God’s plan, from the mere fact that they were intermediate stages.

140 The unity of the two Testaments proceeds from the unity of God’s plan and his Revelation. The Old Testament prepares for the New and the New Testament fulfills the Old; the two shed light on each other; both are true Word of God.

God is ever the same. He is both merciful and just not one or the other. How he had dealt with mankind down through the ages, though has been determined by choices made by people and the fact that the covenant of the OT was always meant to be fulfilled in the NT.

Before Christ’s incarnation, men were expected to keep the Law–summed up in the Ten Commandments. This law is called the natural law that all people recognize as binding. The poeples of the OT often broke the natural law through idolatry and killing of innocents. God’s judgment was sure and swift, as we see in the story of Moses and Ramses in Exodus and elsewhere.

God chose Abram whom he renamed Abraham to be the father of not only the Hebrew nation of of many nations by adoption into Christ. The Hebrews had to remain faithful and often failed, bringing God’s wrath upon themselves as well as other nations.

When Christ was born, died and rose from the dead the age of grace was born in which all of mankind has been redeemed and may be saved. This means that God is waiting for all men to have the chance to be saved before exacting the final judgment upon the earth. So, God has not changed his love for mankind–he has revealed it in Christ in these latter times. Even so, there are those who will not accept his grace and love, but instead pick at Bible verses they don’t understand and context about which they know nothing.

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