Exodus 14 tells the story of God drowning the Egyptian army. How can God drown Israel’s enemies when Jesus tells us to die for our enemies? In this post, I argue that God didn’t kill the Egyptian army Himself, but God did take the blame for this event and bears responsibility for it because it is something that happened on His watch and seemingly by the hand of His prophet, Moses.
I realized the other day why I am having such a struggle writing this book on the violence of God in the Old Testament.The reason is because the process of grappling with this issue is requiring me to rethink, rewrite, and redo nearly all of my theology.
If a basic rule of hermeneutics is that the simpler and clearer texts should override the more difficult and troubling texts, and if Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God so that He can say “if you have seen Me, you have seen the Father,” why do we choose to let the more troubling, difficult, and violent texts override and trump the loving, merciful, and Christlike texts?
When Jesus reveals the God of the tenth plague to us, it is not a God of death, fear, and destruction, but a God of deliverance, hope, protection, and redemption. God is not a baby-killing deity, who seeks to exact revenge on His enemies for a crime many decades old, but is a self-sacrificial, enemy-loving God, who would rather die for His enemies than see His enemies die.
Did God kill the firstborn sons of Egypt? Though Exodus 12 indicates He did, a careful examination of the text hints that He did not. It was not God who struck down the firstborn sons of Egypt, but a being referred to as “the destroyer.”
All ten plagues were, at their core, an attack on the powers of the Egyptian deities (cf. Genesis 12:12). They contrasted the power of Yahweh with the impotence of the gods of Egypt. God showed time after time that He alone is sovereign.
If you are a blog reader, I love you! Thanks for reading my blog, interacting on the posts, and helping me think through ideas. May we meet in person sometime. This post explains why I am both abandoning and finishing my book on the violence of God, and also announces that I am starting a Till He Comes community forum. See you there!
Though it appears from Genesis 19 that God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, later texts indicate that God’s actions looked a lot more like Jesus on the cross. God takes the blame and bears the guilt for a terrible event in human history which was carried out “on His watch.” Though Genesis 19 indicates that God sent the fire and brimstone, later revelation reveals that God gave the cities up to destruction, and handed them over to the consequences of their ways.