question on OT

In the OT we have stories about people hearing God’s voice.
The most cited example is Abraham hearing God telling him to murder his son. Now we know from Catholic tradition that moral relativism is wrong. We all know murder is always wrong in God’s eyes. At least God was smart enough to tell Abraham, who should have known from the natural law that murder is wrong, not to murder.
Another story, I don’t know where in the OT, is God’s people murdering people. Father Mitch from EWTN talks about God seeing these people as people who didn’t know better so he had to allow it. This story is very strange since God allow a lesser evil. I mean, Catholics are supposed to never accept any evil but we have a story in which God relaxed the moral law a bit. In my opinion it sounds like God must have gone against his own nature which can’t have happened.

All you OT experts, what is going on here?

Not an expert but have seen this questions being asked many times. The simple answer is, without the OT, there is no NT. The OT is fulfilled in the NT.

Maybe there is a double standard for man and God. He can kill but not man. But maybe what he did was not really evil much less when we are forced to kill to save ourselves.

If we think about what God can do, the killing in the OT was not the only one. It continues on till this day … wars, famine, earthquakes, tsunamis, et al.

But we can think of His love. He, who does not have to die, allows Himself to, for His love of us, so that we shall die no more in the hereafter; that we may not suffer eternal damnation but instead rejoice in eternal life forever with Him in heaven.

God has a plan but it is too difficult for us to understand because our ways is different from His ways, and our thought different from His thought.

This incident predates the Ten Commandments. There was no universal law against murder, but it was, as it still is, a natural law among men. Child sacrifice was a big part of pagan worship at the time. By God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his only son he was telling us that 1) he is the author of life and death, not us, 2) that we need to trust God even when we don’t understand, and 3) that he does not condone child sacrifice. The last he proved by providing another sacrifice in Isaac’s place–a forerunner of God sacrificing his only Son for us. Abraham was cited as a man of faith because he trusted in God even when it looked like he shouldn’t. Bible scholars have also stated that Abraham so believed God’s promise to him that he would be the father of many nations in Isaac, that he believed even if he killed Isaac God would have raised him from the dead to fulfill his promise to him.

Another story, I don’t know where in the OT, is God’s people murdering people. Father Mitch from EWTN talks about God seeing these people as people who didn’t know better so he had to allow it. This story is very strange since God allow a lesser evil. I mean, Catholics are supposed to never accept any evil but we have a story in which God relaxed the moral law a bit. In my opinion it sounds like God must have gone against his own nature which can’t have happened.

All you OT experts, what is going on here?

These war situations were fought by Israel against the pagan nations that meant to destroy them, and therefore destroy God’s chosen people. This all took place in the Age of the Law of Moses when payment for sins was immediately carried out, and as Romans tells us “the wages of sin is death.” God is the giver and taker of life since he is the author of life. All our lives are in his hands. The innocent who died as a result of their nation opposing Israel would not have been damned, but they would have awaited Christ’s redemption along with the other righteous souls before Christ’s own death when he went into Sheol and took the righteous with him into heaven. So, they did not suffer anything more than death–and death comes for us all whether we “deserve” it or not. Now that we live in the Age of Grace, in which all men have been redeemed by Christ, there is no longer any need to punish the nations, since the Gospel is preached to everyone, Jew and Gentile alike, as St. Paul put it.

I hope this helps. But be assured that God is still the same God–he’s simply dealing with us in the Age of Grace according to the New Covenant in Christ, which makes is seem like he is more merciful, but he always was merciful to any who repented of worshipping their pagan gods and turned to him.

I read that:

It was a punishment God sent upon them.

Eg: God sent plagues against Egypt and sent the angel of death to kill the first born of every Egyptian household.

The pagan ways and sinfulness of the Egyptians brought God’s wrath upon them.

Likewise: at Fatima Our Lady said if mankind did not repent and change their ways a greater world war would come.

The Bible says, “The wages of sin is death.”
It also is a catholic belief that not one piece of dust moves on the planet without God the Fathers permission.

The Catechism says, there is temporal (earthly) punishment earned from sin.

God sent fire down upon Sodom and Gomorrah because of their sins of Sodomy.
Maybe God ignited a volcano or maybe it was miraculous fire from Heaven.

In a similar way God brought just punishment on the lands the Israelites were to possess. The Israelites was Gods tool to do this, just as he also may have used volcano or fire from Heaven against Sodom and Gomorrah. Just like the angel of death was his tool in killing the first born son of each pagan Egyptian household.

God’s justice is Holy the Bible says.

Later God revealed his Mercy to us through his son Jesus.
Before Jesus there was no atonement for sin really, nothing could pay back to God what was lost, because we owed God everything that he had already given us, before the fall. When Jesus was sent, Mercy was sent to the whole world. And Jesus sent the fire of the Holy Spirit to help us, rather than the fire of justice.

And yes, God is always merciful to those who repent. Even in.the old Testament.
God the Father is merciful.

He sent us Jesus to save the sinners of this world,
To suffer for them in His Son,
To pay our price for us and open Heaven for us.

Heaven was closed from the fall of Adam until the death of Jesus opened Heaven’s gates again.

God is amazing and loves us.

Jesus told St Faustina “When someone implores My Mercy, I cannot punish them,” (repentance, confession etc)

Jesus also told her “My Justice is even merciful, it cause Souls to run to the hands of My Mercy.
Souls have two choices, to run to the hands of My Mercy or to the Hands of My Justice”

St John Bosco saw a vision, that God’s justice follows those who deliberately choose hell up until the last moment.

We have a choice to choose God’s Mercy or justice.
To choose sin or virtue.
To choose Heaven or Hell.

I can accept the fact that God told people to do a certain thing otherwise they will die. This means, they themselves choose to die. If that happened I can’t see how God punished people. I can’t even see hell as a punishment. To me it’s more about people being able to choose hell. I guess the OT is written by people long ago so their theology would be about punishment. This means that God isn’t really killing people. It means that they are killing themselves by choosing death instead of repentance.
What do you think? And what does the great theologians say?

And where in the OT can one read about that war?

My two cents…
God is our Creator and only He has the right to decide when and how an innocent person is to die. To bring about such a death, God is free to use any agent whatsoever He chooses, inanimate or animate, even another human being. As long as that human agent is truly acting on God’s authority and otherwise bears the innocent person no ill will, he commits no sin. Because God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, if God had not intervened and Abraham had gone through with the sacrifice, Abraham would have been morally blameless in Isaac’s death.

God is not subject to the moral law or the Ten Commandments. Rather, the moral law and the Ten Commandments are subject to him as he is their author and promulgator.

The case of Abraham and Isaac is not a case of murder, nor do the scriptures speak of it as such. Obviously, Abraham wouldn’t be committing murder by following a direct command of God to offer Isaac in sacrifice. All life belongs to God and it belongs to him to take it when he so wills. This is one of the lessons of the story among many others not the least of which it is figurative of God the Father offering his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, for the salvation of the world. God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac as a holocaust or burnt offering to God. Normally, animals were offered in holocaust but it signified that God is the author of life and that we should offer our whole lives to God even in sacrifice if the circumstances warrant. Our lives are not our own but it is a gift from God. Doing the will of God is the supreme norm of our actions and when God commands a person by direct revelation such as Abraham to do something, you do it without questioning God just as we don’t question keeping the Ten Commandments because we believe they have been given us by God himself.

Tje Church talks about moral absolutism and God’s nature. It is said that God will never command people to do just anything. It is said that he will never ask anyone to commit eg murder. There is one moral law and that is a law that never goes against the nature of God. His nature will never chane and thus he will not command people to do just anything as some religion sees it.
People on this forum are saying that God can do anything but I don’t know. It seems you’re saying that if God just felt like me being hit by a car and He would so. He would simply be a God who played with my life. This I think would go against His nature. I can’t se how this would be God’s will. We also have the fall (in Genesis) so bad things like a car hitting me could happen. I think God rather have persons on a death bed making a final confession. What do you say?

I’m not sure God is really outside the moral law. God could rather be the fulfilment of the moral law.
Everything the Church has said about morality and ethics is all about life. The world is mostly talking about the culture of death but the Church is talking about the culture of life.
God is Life Itself. It is in the light of this that I wrote my first post in this thread.

There wasn’t? :hmmm:

The LORD asked Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” He answered, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

God then said: “What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!”

I dunno… it sure looks like – from the very beginning – murder was wrong in God’s eyes…! :shrug:

, but it was, as it still is, a natural law among men. Child sacrifice was a big part of pagan worship at the time. By God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his only son he was telling us that 1) he is the author of life and death, not us, 2) that we need to trust God even when we don’t understand, and 3) that he does not condone child sacrifice. The last he proved by providing another sacrifice in Isaac’s place–a forerunner of God sacrificing his only Son for us. Abraham was cited as a man of faith because he trusted in God even when it looked like he shouldn’t.

I think it’s important to read this story in its own context – or else we insert too much of our present-day perspective into it. In the context in which this story appears, there is the notion that child sacrifice is in some ways condoned by society (at least, by pagan societies in Canaan). What’s really at stake here, though, is trust, just like [user]Della[/user] says. The story is all about Abraham, who waited and waited and waited for God to fulfill His promise; and then, who went off and tried to do it himself (by having a child with Sarah’s servant); but who, finally, let God fulfill His own promise. Then, having raised the child (into his teens, probably), God asks him to let go and have complete trust. Does Abraham trust God enough that he’ll allow Him seemingly to take away the promise that He had fulfilled?

I don’t want to make too fine a point of it, [user]henrikhank[/user], but is all killing ‘murder’? Is it ‘murder’ when one kills an assailant who threatens to kill an innocent? No… that killing is called ‘self-defense’. The point is that not all killing is ‘murder’, and you’re inserting a contemporary view on the narrative by making the value judgment ‘murder’ on God’s request. The original audience wouldn’t have made the same conclusion.

When Good commanded Abraham to offer his only beloved son as a holocaust (you said murder him) Gen 22. God knew Abraham believed that even if he offered up his son as a whole burnt offering, that God was able to raise him from the dead and give descendants through Isaac (Heb 11:19). God word is not meant to be lightly skimmed, but meditated on deeply.
Grace and peace,
Bruce

It is true that God does not take pleasure in the death of a wicked person, which would mean his damnation, but would rather he turn from his wickedness and live. See Ezekiel 33:11. Remember, everything God does is motivated by love. See [1 John 4:8](“https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1 John+4:8&version=RSVCE”). Everything He permits to happen to us in this life is ordered for our best possible outcome in the afterlife (see Romans 8:28) and sometimes our best possible outcome in the afterlife is achieved by our early death in this world. See Wisdom 4:7-19 on early death.

Let me clarify–I meant among fallen human beings there was no universal law that a man could not murder another man. Revenge killing was very big in ancient times–still is in some places. It’s why the “eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth” law was given to limit the scope of revenge for wrongs committed.

You are correct that God cannot contradict his own nature. I think sound biblical interpretation must start there.
If a biblical interpretation is not consistent with God’s self revelation (that would be Jesus Christ) then it would seem to be a problem.

Moral relativism is wrong. The Bible is one story of God’s salvation of mankind, of mankimd rejecting Him and God leading them back. God, in his wisdom, so how far we had fallen, and so, in wooing mankind back through Israel (and wooing Israel herself), moved slowly. He helped Israel grow in maturity. This is a simplification, but if he had set the new covenant before Israel early, they would have run the other way. It’s a very high standard, even if God is merciful with failure to keep it to those who turn back to Him. This isn’t to say that what was good changed, but God helped us and allowed us to grow, given how far we had fallen away. He wanted to woo us back to him of our own will.

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