God in the Old Testament is often portrayed by critics as being different in character than God in the New Testament.

Is this a valid observation?




"The God who blessed armies and sent them out is the same God who gave us his son? "




This raises the perennial idea that God is one way (bloodthirsty) in the O.T., and another (loving) in the New. The greater point being this inconsistency suggests either:

1) Contrary to Scripture, God's character does indeed change because the two actions are inconsistent, and or...

2) The Bible contains an error in falsely including both themes if only one is characteristic of God. Either way, it would seem the Bible loses. Also called into question is the basic goodness of God.

First, the record of God using Israel as (essentially) a tool of his judgment, the scene with Abraham and Isaac, Christ coming not to judge but to save sinners, etc…have all been part of the Bible since it first coalesced. If these are obvious contradictions (read errors), then it should be peculiar that no one has removed these or that they were accepted in the first place. They haven't been removed because these are not contradictions. I hope you'll see the justification for that as you continue through this site.

Second, to believe God is all vengeance in the O.T. is to forget his deliverance and care of the Israelites out of Egypt, his blessings and forgiveness towards David, his countless rescues of Israel from its many captures and occupations, the earthly glory given to Solomon, etc.

Likewise, to believe God is all love in the N.T. is to forget his promise to return in flaming judgment, the casting of millions (billions?) into hell, Jesus' condemnation of the Pharisees, Jesus driving money changers et. al. out of the temple with a whip, Jesus' solemn warnings for all who don't follow him, and much more. Thus to believe God has been portrayed as black and then white in the respective halves of the Bible is a false perception.

Third, in light of the preceding, is the earlier assertion correct that there is no consistency with God?

There is consistency within his character, though I admit it may take a little study to see this clearly. Consider that God warned Adam and Eve in the beginning that sin would bring death. Obedience would yield blessing. You reap what you sow - a constant biblical theme. Well, they did sin. Most of the good they and their ancestors then received after that point can be considered God's mercy, and most of the bad only justice. A judge who enforces the law can also be a judge who loves. The actions taken in the name of each may be different, but they are not inconsistent or incompatible.


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See also:

Isn't religion to blame for most of history's killings?

The authority of God

How could a merciful God order Israel to kill...?

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