The changing face of God

Believers often argue that God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. However in some ways the God of the OT and the Christ of the NT seem very different. I guess my first question is to ask if I am correct in this belief?

If I'm wrong, then please explain what I'm missing: the wrathful, vengeful god of the OT put cities and nations to the death to get them out of the way of his chosen people. He also put his chosen people through the wringer a time or two, as punishment for annoying him. With this god we have a pretty old fashioned message: the offer of paradise, with rejection leading to destruction. Jews are the favoured ones and its all about the relationship of God to his chosen ones. Its a Jew-centric world and God really only rates the Jews as being worth anything.

In comparison the NT god is more loving, caring, and accepting of other peoples. However there is a price to pay when God brings in a wider reaching sinister element with his invention of Hell after coming to Earth. The consequences of ignoring God suddenly get larger and more all-encompassing. Jesus offers eternal paradise for followers, but introduces an element of punishment for those who reject him. More direct punishment than merely the oblivion of the grave, but eternity to repent lost opportunities.

Firstly how can these two be manifestations of the same thing? Secondly don't you think its interesting how, when the israelites were a fighting nation, their god was a god of war giving them carte blanche to kill off their enemies and steal their land and women,
but when they were a conquered nation he became a god of salvation, hope, putting things right and being part of the group? More importantly the NT God offers a way to "get back" at injustice for a people living under tyranny and opression. Jesus offers the possibility that evil done in this life, defined by not believing in his message, will lead to punishment in the next. What better religion for powerless people?

Is God here a reflection of the people rather than the other way around? If we were still writing holy books today what do you think they would you think they would be completely lacking contemporary influence from issues that affect us now?

How do we pull any "message from god" in these writings from the massive tangle of cultural influence and the things the Jewish people were going through at the time they were written?

Of course holy books vary according to the circumstances of the people to whom they were given, and that would hold true regardless of whether they were divine or human in origin.

God is smart enough to give people things which are relevant to their situations. In the OT or Quran the slaughter of one's enemies is endorsed in places, because those passages were given to people trying to survive and flourish as political entities. Turning the other cheek just doesn't cut it when you want to prosper as a nation in the ancient or medieval world. Killing and conquest were pretty essential.

For the early Christians, however, that kind of thing would not be relevant or useful. They were living as a powerless minority amongst great powers, and so of course God would give them advice suited to their situation.

How then does this advice relate to where we are today? Why hasn't god provided further revelations?


I used to think that but if you get more and more familiar with the OT you will see that "seems" different is about it. 

The God of the OT is always the advocate of the poor.  He is the righteous judge who will hear the case of the poor and not be subject to bribes from the rich and powerful.  Things like a jubilee year speak to this.

I would say that you see a gradual revealing of God's nature in the OT which doesn't really come into focus until we meet Jesus.  However, most people are surprised to find that a great deal of the most profound sayings of Jesus are already in the OT and he is quoting scripture rather than saying something profoundly new.

If anything I would say the OT is teaching Jews to show the kind of compassion and love for each other which Christians will come to show for all mankind.

As far as the war stuff goes nothing was arbitrary.  If God was merely a destructive God of War like Mars you wouldn't see the specific demands like not being allowed to take a scrap of booty or even not leaving a single person alive.

Will God shorten the lives of humans for his redemptive purposes?  You bet.  All those who died in the flood would be preached to by Jesus.   If you think of God as Being who can control the whole universe but won't compell the human heart then you can see him working violently to effect a heart change.

"Why hasn't god provided further revelations? "

Spiritism is the Third Revelation.

"Spiritism is the Third Revelation."

Oh ok.