In the previous posts on this topic (see the list at the bottom of this post), many people have raised several valid objections. In the next few posts, let me see if I can clarify my position, and also respond to a few of the objections. This post will try to restate the position in a way that might make more sense… hopefully.
Many believe that Jesus is the “loving and peaceful” side of God, while God in the Old Testament is the wrathful and vengeful warrior God.
But if Jesus truly and perfectly reveals to us what God is like, then the only “side” of God that exists is the side revealed in Jesus Christ.
Is God a Violent Warrior?
To put it another way, if Yahweh was a warrior God, and Jesus revealed this type of God to us, Jesus would have stepped down off the cross, and called a legion of angels to His defense. He would have slaughtered the Romans, and set up His throne in Jerusalem to rule the world with an iron fist (Yes, we will get to the Book of Revelation in later posts). He would have commanded the entire world to bow before Him, to pay homage, and offer tribute. He would have crushed all who rebelled against Him, and set up ways to control every living thing.
His disciples were looking for just such a Warrior King. They were waiting for it. Many times they asked Jesus to act upon what they thought He should be doing (cf. Luke 9:54). I believe that Judas, in betraying Jesus, was trying to goad Jesus into just such an action. Judas wanted Jesus to be King, but grew impatient with the way Jesus was going about it, and so betrayed Jesus as a way to force Jesus’ hand. But Jesus didn’t rise to the challenge. Instead, He died. When Jesus died, all of Judas’ hopes and dreams died as well, and so Judas went out and hung himself. As a result, Judas died without ever knowing the full truth about Jesus.
What is the truth?
God is Not Violent
On the cross, Jesus shows us what kind of God Yahweh is, and how Jesus came to rule and reign, not by might, nor by power, but by self-sacrificial service and taking the sins and guilt and blame of the entire world upon Himself.
This is the kind of God revealed in Jesus Christ. This is the kind of God Yahweh truly is.
It is on the cross that Jesus put to death the violent portrayal of God in the Old Testament and revealed once and for all that God is not like that. It is on the cross where Jesus revealed what God is really like: He is loving, kind, forgiving, and would rather take the blame for the sins of His children than accuse and condemn them for misusing and abusing the freedom He gave.
By taking the sin of the entire world upon Himself, Jesus revealed that this is what Yahweh has always been doing throughout time and history. He has been taking the sin and guilt and blame of the entire world onto Himself.
By inspiring the human authors to write what they did, God made it look like He was the one responsible for the actions of Israel, the destruction of the flood, the murder of the firstborn males of Israel, and the slaughter of Canaanite women and children. All of these things were going to happen no matter what, but God took the blame for all of them by inspiring the biblical authors to write what they did about Him. God takes the blame. He accepts the guilt.
This is what we see in Jesus Christ. God, when standing before a court of human sinners who have set themselves up to judge and condemn Him, accepts their sentence. He nods His head in agreement with every angry accusation. When the charges are read, He enters a “Guilty” plea. “Christ, in His sinlessness, took responsibility for our wrongdoing” (Martin, 2 Corinthians, 144).
Other Posts on the Violence of God in Scripture
- Introduction: God is Guilty
- Common Solutions to the Problem of Violence in the Old Testament
- God, Violence, and Atheism
- Allegorical Genocide
- Is God Bipolar?
- God-Inspired Error
- The Kingdom of God vs. The Kingdom of God
- Divine Accommodation to Violence
- Bible Violence is Exaggerated
- Sometimes Death is Merciful
- Descriptions of a Violent God are Inspired and Inerrant
- Jesus Rules
- Read the Bible Backwards
- Jesus Reveals Israel
- Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?
- Destroy the Devil's Work
- Cruciform God
- The Love and Horror of the Cross
- Jesus Became Sin for Us
- God Pleads Guilty
- God the Sin Bearer
- God is NOT Violent
- Is God Lying about Violence in the Old Testament?
- Let the Condemned God Die
- Violence of God and the Love of Jesus
- Chaos Theory and Violent Scriptures
- God's Policy of Non-Intervention
- God is Not Absent
- Why Nature is Destructive
- Storms are Not From God
- Incarnation of God in the Old Testament
- God Appears Guilty; Just Like Jesus
- Incarnation of God in the Violence of Israel
- Satan seeks only to Destroy
- God Sometimes Withdraws Protection
- Bloody Jesus
- Is the Flood a Beautiful Story about Rainbows?
- Translations of Genesis 6:13
- Context of Genesis 6-8 and the flood
- The Flood and ANE Cosmology
- How Genesis 8:21 reveals God's Purpose in the Flood
- The Flood According to Job 22:15-18
- The Flood According to Isaiah 54:7-9
- The Flood According to Jesus (Matthew 24)
- The Flood According to 2 Peter 2:5-7
- More Coming Soon! Subscribe to the Blog to Keep Updated!
- The Violence of God and Evil
- Did Jesus Condemn People? No!
- John Piper on the Violence of God
- Is God Lying About His Involvement in Violence?