Is the God of the Old Testament Really a Good God?

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For many, how God is portrayed in the Old and New Testaments is dramatically different, and the Old Testament causes many people to struggle with the goodness of God:  how could He really carry out such destruction and vengeance on the earth?  Dr. Brown tackles these difficult issues on the air today!

Hour 1:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: The God and Father of the Lord Jesus is absolutely wonderful, full of grace, compassion, and longsuffering, slow to anger, and great in mercy.  If you’ve seen Jesus, you have seen Him.

Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: Our God is good, and His goodness is reasonable.  He is better than any earthly father or mother.  The more you get to know Him, the better you will find Him to be.  He is perfect in every way, without taint or blemish.

Featured Resource:   The Great Debate [DVD]:   Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Bart Ehrman on the problem of suffering.

Other Resources:

Is God a Moral Monster? (An Interview with Paul Copan)


14 Comments
  1. I did not get to hear the show yet. I haven’t read the book yet but “God according to God”, by Dr. Gerald Schroeder is supposed to be really good on this topic. A friend of mine was telling me about the book and explaining how Dr. Schroeder tries to clear up common misconceptions that atheists and other critics of the Old Testament have, that God is some sort of tyrant.

    Most Christians would say “that’s just the Old Tesament” or reform Jews would say “that was just the way of the time”. Dr. Schroeder is an Orthodox Jew who attempts to clear up some misconceptions people have of God in light of the OT.

    I am excited to hear the show and get Dr. Brown’s take on this topic. It’s a very good one and it’s very relevant for me because when I speak with Muslims they tend to bring up these issues of genocide, tyrant God, etc etc..

    God bless you all!

    Eric.

  2. How could a loving God put Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden and tell them they couldn’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? How could a loving God tell His people they’re not allowed to eat crayfish, shrimp, prawns, and crab?

    People will complain about what God expects of us, but how many people have expectations that far exceed anything God expects of us?

    Last night, I was driving and the car in front of me was driving extremely slow. It was raining, but that car was driving painfully slow in my book. I was getting very frustrated, then I thought about how I expect God to forgive me for all my ugly sins when I confess them to him, then I just move on with my life, like everything is fine. I expect grace from God, yet some driver is being overly cautious in the weather (which is a noble thing, even though I wouldn’t take it that far), I’m steaming mad, that made me change my attitude.

    That’s just one example, but I think God is amazingly patient with us all.

  3. God had to be stricter in the OT. People were out of control. They did not know how to live life without constantly getting God all upset and mad.

    That is why the Almighty came up with the LAW. People were living their life by allowing their sinful nature to control them. So the Almighty gave the LAW to have the people use self control. If they were not going to follow the the LAW(rules) to control their sinful actions, their sinful nature, then consequences would be required.

    When wild people get out of control they need a rod of disciplined to control them. The Almighty had to establish a system of LAW and Order.

    Now, we have the NT. The Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus lives in those who receive Him. People like that are called Christians. Christians should have self control should show a form of love, not a form of evil. We no longer need a Law to dictate to us because we have Jesus’s Spirit living in us. He is guiding us, He is convicting us. He is telling us how we need to live.

    Matthew 22:37-40
    37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    No longer do people need to act like wild animals because WE can HAVE the Spirit of the Living God living in us.

    Galatians 2:20
    I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

    1 John 4:4
    4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

    So those who call themselves Christians and do not show the fruit of the Holy Spirit which is….
    peace, love, joy, gentleness, goodness, kindness, self control, patience and love then you need to question who do they truly serve.

    Overall, in the OT and NT the Almighty is LOVE. He did and does what is best. Who are WE to question Him.

    Enjoy Jesus all, you will be very, very blessed.

  4. @David Roberts – hey I feel your pain, I am assuming you were driving on a single lane road with no passing allowed. I drive on one of those briefly to work because it’s supposed to be shorter but then every once in a while, there’s some health-nut who’s slowing everyone down because he insists his right to ride a bicycle. 🙂

    The only reason I am alive at this moment is

    It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lam 3:22,23)

    I keep myself from “How could a loving God ______???” by bringing to mind that HE is ALL KNOWING – and in HIS WISDOM, that was the best, and I have to trust in HIS JUDGEMENT.

    Peace to you.

  5. Debbie,

    I haven’t had the chance to listen to the show yet because the audio link is not up yet, but I beg to differ (kindly). I believe our God is the SAME – yesterday, today and forever.

    I believe that God dealt with people in ALL generations by the principle of Grace. (Hear, hear, this is a dispensationalist speaking !!!) But He deals with them differently. For example, His dealings with Adam and Eve were different from His dealings with Moses which were different from His dealings with us today who are in the “one new man” through the vicarious death of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    So the “change” we see is in our human development vis-à-vis progressive Revelation from God. I will have to listen to the show to see what direction Dr. Brown is taking this question to, to answer intelligently.

  6. James,
    Last night I went to “Nuts & Bolts” its a bible study my Pastor does weekly. Anyways, we are studying about eschatology and also we talked about dispensational. He told me I am also a dispensationalist. I said to him, I don’t know, I just believe in Jesus. LOL I guess my Pastor knows me enough to call me a dispensationalist. To me…whatever. I know I’m saved. 🙂

    I believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever too.

    I wrote my post not based on the show because I caught a bit of it. I posted my post by the topic heading.

    I wrote my post because of observing what God Almighty did.

  7. Here is the intro of the topic heading:

    “For many, how God is portrayed in the Old and New Testaments is dramatically different, and the Old Testament causes many people to struggle with the goodness of God”

  8. Debbie,

    I hate labels too – it can be helpful and yet sometimes it makes for oversimplification. I say I am a dispesationalist, yet, I do not believe that the entire Church is going to be raptures 7 years prior to tribulation, so in classical sense I am not a dispensationalist. If you are interested, Dispensationalism, by Charles C. Ryrie is one of the standard dispensational text, but if you want to go to the source, it is scattered in the writings of J. N. Darby.

    For me, I cannot accept Covenant position at all because of what it does to Israel. I believe all promises to Israel will be literally fulfilled to a National Israel on this Earth, and that Church has NOT replaced Israel.

  9. Debbie Fraser,

    You wrote, “Matthew 22:37-40
    37 Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’

    I am wondering if you noticed that the rest of YHWH’s commandments hang on the two that Y’shua quoted from the Law. The two do not replace the others or even make the others obsolete. The two are at the heart of the others. They are why the others were given in the first place. The others are YHWH’s practical definition of what love looks like in the real world.

    You wrote, “God had to be stricter in the OT. People were out of control. They did not know how to live life without constantly getting God all upset and mad.

    That is why the Almighty came up with the LAW. People were living their life by allowing their sinful nature to control them. So the Almighty gave the LAW to have the people use self control.”

    Mankind does not know how to love. We tend to either invent our own definitions of love or we act in self love. YHWH is not stricter or less strict. He is YHWH and does not change. We still make YHWH upset when we disobey His law…because it is still unloving to do so. The law cannot bring self control or righteousness or love. It only points out our sin. It shows us when we are not truly loving YHWH and our neighbor.

    You wrote, “Overall, in the OT and NT the Almighty is LOVE. He did and does what is best. Who are WE to question Him.”

    Very true, but we question Him when we think that we can truly love without keeping His commandments. Our ideas of love are not best. The definitions of love that He gave us in His Law are best.

    2 John 1
    6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

    1 John 5
    2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
    3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

    So all the law and the prophets will be obeyed by us if we really love YHWH with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. If we reject His commandments, it is a sign to us that we are still self centered and disobedient children.

    YHWH gave us His commandments because He loves us. His love has not changed. His definitions of practical love have not changed. We are the ones that need to change.

    Shalom

  10. There is 1 thing I will correct in my post #3.

    It is this…
    “God had to be stricter in the OT” I’ll correct that statement and say…

    The Lord used and established His “rod of discipline” in the OT.

  11. I found the answers given in this show to be highly inadequate. OT abounds with manifest injustices.

    why couldn’t the babies have been adopted as slaves like some women had been instead of being killed? Isn’t it the height of injustice to kill them for the sins of their fathers?

    What about that guy who stole that Giorgio Armani suit and hid it under his tent because he coveted it? His children were killed for the sins of the father! Isn’t it the height of injustice to punish someone (i.e. a 4 year old) who did not even know of the wrong to death?

    I’ve heard some rationalisations and i’ve heard this show, but they seem to defy sound logic. Were this an islamic God, surely we would not fail to inveigh heavily against allah for his blantant double standards.

  12. Ben,

    Do you think that the “New Testament” Deity is not the same as the “Old Testament” Deity? Or do you think He changed? Are you a believer in the Bible? In “Jesus”? In “God”?

    Shalom

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