This is a summary post from much of what I have been writing over the past two weeks or so about the violence of God in the Old Testament. The reason I am summarizing it is because I want to begin looking at some of the key biblical passages which are affected by my proposal to see how we can read and understand these texts.
I know that most of your questions and objections to this view have not been answered, but hopefully as we look at some the key texts of Scripture, what I am proposing will make more sense.
So here is the summary…
Violence of God in Light of the Love of Jesus
When we read about God telling Israel to go slaughter men and women, the natural, right, and godly response is to read such depictions with revulsion, loathing, and disgust. Neither Jesus nor God ever wanted such things to occur. Jesus never laid a hand on anyone to harm or hurt them, nor did He ever command His disciples to do anything of the sort. To the contrary, Jesus always helped, healed, comforted, restored, fed, loved, and forgave, and He always commanded His disciples to do the same.
In previous posts (see the list below), I have argued that since Jesus fully reveals God to us, we can also be certain that God never actually commanded the Israelites to kill and destroy, or to go to war with their enemies. But when Israel set out to do these things, God took the blame for their actions by inspiring the biblical authors to lay the guilt fully in His hands. The violent things that God commanded the Israelites to do in the Old Testament were not actually His will or His commands. The Israelites set out to do such things because this is how nations and countries behaved at that time (and still sometimes today). When God saw that their heart was set on doing these things, God issued the command for it to happen so that later generations could lay the blame for these bloody deeds directly on God Himself.
Though God is not directly guilty for these actions, He knows that He is indirectly responsible, for He created a world where these sorts of actions are possible. So He takes the blame by commanding human agents to carry out the violent actions which they had already set their hearts and minds to doing.