Busted Halo
googling god
The Busted Halo Question Box
Ask our spiritual experts virtually anything!
This is the place where you can ask all of those burning questions that you wouldn't dare ask in person. We will post questions here (using your byline only with permission); we guarantee an answer to everyone.

Have your own question? Then pitch it to us!

Caitlin Kennell Kim
Mary
Fr. Rick Malloy, SJ
General Questions
Fr. Tom Ryan, CSP
Ecumenical, Interfaith
Neela Kale
Culture, Moral Theology
Ann Naffziger, M.A., M.Div.
Bible
Mike Hayes
Swingman/Editor
 
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
Our readers asked:

Why is the Jewish God of the Old Testament so judgmental and violent and the Christian God of the New Testament so kind and loving?

Ann Naffziger Answers:

Certainly there are Old Testament passages that portray a harsh God that many of us would find difficult to accept. For example, God smites the Egyptians and indiscriminately strikes down their firstborn in Exodus, or God comes off like a bad parent who threatens punishment to followers in an attempt to coerce good behavior. Contrary to popular belief, though, some sections of the New Testament reflect similarly disturbing images of God. “Fire and brimstone” Christianity is a legacy of Matthew’s gospel in particular, because it is in that gospel that Jesus tells parables that conclude with various offenders being thrown “into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Mt 25:30).
On the other hand, there are many beautiful passages of a tender, loving, and just God in the Old Testament. These positive images include the Good Shepherd who sustains and protects (Psalm 23), the God who created us individually and calls us “precious” and “honored” (Isa 43:1-7), God as a parent who delights in an infant child, feeds him, and teaches him to walk (Hosea 11:1-4), God who is a “rock,” a “shield,” a “fortress” (the Psalms), and the figure of “Lady Wisdom” who prepares a banquet and invites all to come and eat their fill (Wisdom 9:1-6).
Suffice it to say, it is a misnomer to label the God of the Old Testament (who is the God that Jesus – as a Jew – came to know) negatively and the New Testament God a warm-and-fuzzy-type.

 
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmailfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail
The Author : Ann Naffziger
Ann Naffziger is a scripture instructor and spiritual director in the San Francisco Bay area. She has has written articles on spirituality and theology for various national magazines and edited several books on the Hebrew Scriptures.
See more articles by (96).
Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • Intuition Coach

    It’s posts like that that , motivates people to keep returning to a quality resource like this site. Thankyou .

powered by the Paulists