Christians: Given Biblical Narratives is God a God of Love?

Fellow Christians (or anyone else who cares to address it): How do you deal with the Old Testament passages that have God commanding the slaughter of men, women, children, even animals? How can this be reconcilled with the idea that God is Love?

I've heard it said that these people were exceedingly sinful--well we all are according to the Bible.

The sermons I've heard in the past try to spiritualize the conquering of the promised land as if it were a metaphor for a christian's spiritual journey--this type of rendering seems to offer little consolation to those who were killed in the narrative.

I have been giving consideration to this recently and what I'm coming up with bothers me.

This is an honest question and I am not asking it in a confrontational manner.

(I didn't add a lot of scriptural references because I am assuming you all know the one's I'm getting at--and I'm not trying to debate anyone)

Your thoughts?

Update:

Happy Birthday TD!

I hope you have a wonderful day.

21 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It can't be reconciled. If God is loving he must, by definition, show love. If he doesn't then the term loving is meaningless. It has no value. So to be loving God must act loving. Being a god means God is capable of much that we mere mortals are not. If we, as inferior beings, with less capacity to love than God, would do everything in our power to save someone we love from pain and injury, how can the God of infinite love do anything less. It can't. He must do more than we. But there is no proof of him doing anything loving. Nothing. That means God either can't do anything, which means Christianity is false and also their view of God, or he won't do anything, which means God is in fact not loving but incredibly mean. Again it means Christianity is false.

    If you want to see someone put it more clearly than I, check out the link in sources.

  • 1 decade ago

    An excellent question Todd

    I myself am not religious, nor would I claim to be an Atheist, I have studied at lot of the scriptures, (very few could even say that they have studied most of them, and I see it as being Impossible for one to say that they have studied all of them in all their forms) Both in the past as academic study and then since for personnel interest.

    The conflicts that exist within the King James versions for example create an open possibility theology. I will not go into the detail as to why, other than to say that there has been far too much human meddling in it's creation, as with all others, including the Talmud.

    I (an agnostic) personally found (and still find) the 'Narratives of the teachings of Christ to mean that God is a God of Love'

    and that by that love we can build a better world for our brethren.

    These scriptural contradictions prevent that possibility,

    As to your mention of 'The sermons I've heard in the past try to spiritualize the conquering of the promised land as if it were a metaphor for a Christian's spiritual journey'

    I see this not only as you have surmised but also as the continued attempt to meld the elements of a single cultures history (the Israelites) with the concept of global fraternity.

    This will never work, and is of no importance to the true message of Christ.

    Put aside your deferences my brothers and sisters, love God and be a part of that which is God. Let peace and love reign in the land, for all the is not peace and love is the work of the devil. Do not play into his hand.

    These words come from the heart of this man. a son of all mankind who is wandering in the wilderness of this world, but one day I will return to from were I came.

    Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Dust.

    By trying to make this life a true paradise for others, we prepare ourselves for the knowing of true paradise.

    The journey is more important than than the destination, for if the path we take is wrong we will never arrive.

    We should not become lost in the gains of sand which are the worlds used to form the great desert, which form the logos.

    As you walk this desert do not be tempted by the vanities of man. The love in your heart is the needle of the compass which will guide you.

    Amen.(let it be so)

    Source(s): The words of my heart. . . ADDED I think Cinnibuns is referring the Answerer above me.
  • 1 decade ago

    When I was a little girl, my mom told me to clean my room. So, after telling her I would, I went upstairs and played for an hour then said my room was clean. This went on for a week. Finally Mom said that if I didn't clean my room, she would throw away all my things. I didn't clean my room. The next day when I came home from school, sure enough all my stuff was gone, down to my bed clothes.

    This lesson cost Mom a lot of money and effort, but it taught me to obey and to trust Mom.

    In the case of Israel (people who KNEW the rules) this is what God did . God never arbitrarily ordered that anyone be stoned or killed, and the rules were right there which places the fault for the "violence" on the people, just like it was my own fault for not cleaning my room.

    In the case of non-Isrealites, it's like the answerer above me said: the people were wicked and had utterly rejected God and His rules. But just because you don't believe in God doesn't mean He stops believing in you or watching you.

    In other cases, God punished those who were oppressing his children. The Egyptians for example. Israel had been enslaved by Egypt and God gave Pharoah lots of chances to let them go, but when he didn't, God had to keep His promise because God is Just and Holy and never lies.

    So, to sum it up: God is love, He loves enough to keep His promises. He also loves enough to show mercy.

    *smoochies*

  • 1 decade ago

    Looking at religion in the big picture, the crippling difference between Christianity and other faiths is the concept that God loves us. Remove that from the equation and things become a bit easier. One's compelled to ask, what's the point of God loving us? How does that factor in? So I say no to a god of love.

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  • Habib
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    In the nutshell:

    1- God All-merciful has never done wrong to the people until unless they have been wronging themselves.

    2- Example of the ancients is there to correct ourselves, our ways.

    3- There are specific events that God has spoken about & that cannot at all be generalized... <it would be naive to do so>

    4- Every other soul shall be accountable for its deeds... so it would we wise if we look at ourselves & make self correction from the examples of the ancients

    5- Let us not make a mockery... who knows God All-just might abhor it & make us chastise in their place... who knows?

    So, PLAY SAFE! Take no chances on Hereafter... for its life eternal!

    Source(s): A Muslim thought on the perspective
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Hello Todd. It's my birthday, so I put on a funny hat. TD

    *****

    The Bible, when taken as divine codification, is a flawed concept. Clearly, the first book is the work of man. How could a God not understand that the sun (day 4 job) causes the separation of night and day (day 1 job)?

    On the other hand, how can you read the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke and NOT hear the voice of God?

    *****

  • :)(:
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Dear Todd,

    I assume that we may compare the love of our God with our love for our own children. Won't we teach them all the good things ever possible? Won't we punish them for terrible things especially when they take a dangerous path?

    Sometimes just one slap can redirect & save the future of your child. Beter for they to almost hate you for a moment, than having regrets for the whole of their lives.

    The same, in any LOVE, of our God, of ours, sometimes you must do what it must be done by love.

    Otherwise, obviously not quite everything from Bilble can be transpose into the real life.

    E.g.:

    As it is said "if your eye made you to comit sin, take it off!", or "if your right hand made you to steal, cut it off!"

    I thought that selling my appartment, as it tempted me so strongly to move on together with my children (one of them, that time on his way), and leave their father, was the worst decision I could make (and I knew it all the time). I did all my best. But STUPIDITY is to be blame everywhere, and not a stony thing. It's just our thought. Huff, this Bible and we . . .

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I've always thought the Old Testament was somewhat grim. It's one of despair. The New Testament is one of light, God's promises to us are there for us to anticipate. In some respects, the Old Testament belongs to the Jews (still without the Messiah, the grave ends all) and the New which belongs to the Christians (who paid a high price in their early days) can now rest in the knowledge of things to come.

    Which is correct? No need for us to worry. "...all that was and to be will be revealed..."

  • 1 decade ago

    If one rotten apple [sinful generation] can rot a whole barrel of apples [future generations forever] !!! That is why God has to step in and do something about it !!! His laws are not suggestions !!! And He is the JUDGE !!!

    Some sentencing has to be done !!! Love has another facet - the facet of a father that disciplines !!! If you have not raised children yet you will not completely understand !!! Some kids need it and some don't !!! Your love for your child will bring you to the most suitable action necessary if you are a responsible parent !!!

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Lucifer wasn't satisfied and wanted more power when with the postition that Lucifer had, he should have been very much satisfied. Instead, he wanted more, wanted to be God, and so, God had Michael the Archangel open up a can of whoop ***. God didn't create "robots" because he wanted everyone to have free will, have a choice to believe in him, have a choice to accept him, have a choice to worship him, and so on and so on. Besides "humans" are more intersting than "robots."

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