Statesboro, GA, USA
In a previous thread, a point was made about the apparent discrepancy between the ways of God in the Old Testament and of Christ in the New Testament. Although this situation can be used to mock or angrily discredit the character of God as portrayed in the Bible, I have found that it can be a legitimate point of concern. Because if there is a true inconsistency then the revelation of God is seriously flawed. I myself have struggled with the question. How, for example, can the teachings of Christ about love, be reconciled with God commanding the Jews to kill in acts of war? There was a time in my Christian walk when I took it for granted that God was justified in everything, and it made moral sense even if I didn't understand. However, this became a more difficult position to maintain as I began to take seriously the teachings of Jesus and his Apostles. Also developing a love for people and humanity made these accounts all the more heart-wrenching to me. Through much prayer, seeking, and meditation in the scriptures, I found what was an adequate reconciliation in my mind... something that, though still requiring a degree of faith, gave me peace and yet satisfied my genuine questions with some cogent answers. The title for this thread is taken from a bit of Old Testament Poetry where the Psalmist David (I believe), wrote:
"Mercy and truth have met together;
Rightousness and peace have kissed" (Ps 85:10)
The point is, for me, I saw after a season of struggle the true possibility for the rigorous "rightousness" or "stern justice" of the Old Testament to be reconciled with the revelation of Peace and Love of the New Testament. Another scripture mentions that the "Lion shall lay down with the Lamb". Poetically and metaphorically, this is what happened in my heart as I came to see some different things in scripture I never considered. I am opening the question for discussion. While I am aware that not everyone will respond to this using scripture, and that neither should I expect it, I want to make the point that when discussing an internal matter of consistency within a worldview or faith, whatever is seen as authoritative within that system must be the primary source of reference.
Are the ways of God as recorded in the Old Testament antithetical to the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament? If so, is a cogent synthesis possible?
Just for a possible direction for discussion, I have some interesting thoughts about the differing functions of Law and Grace, coupled with the idea that if God's revelation is partial rather than total, and progressive rather than stationary, an apparant inconsistency might have a genuine reason behind it, and perhaps is not an inconsistency at all. A catepillar, cacoon and a butterfly are three things which are hard to synthesize until the fact of metamorphosis is observed.
[This message has been edited by Stephanos (12-19-2002 01:57 AM).]