September 9, 2014
Bible Study day - always a Daily Intersection! Matthew chapter 5. The Beatitudes and Jesus' comments about the commandments. As we talked in the circle about God, Jesus, and the Law, the observation was made that God changed from the Old Testament to the New; that God evolved.
It is understandable where that thought comes from - the God described in the Old Testament seems full of anger, vengeance, and an either for me or against me attitude - I suppose you would say a God of LAW! Then came Jesus, and God seems to have mellowed and grace abounds.
My response was to counterpoint saying that God has not changed. It comes from God being the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Maybe I just don’t like to think of worshiping a God who can be swayed by humans or history or current events or good arguments. I prefer to think of worshiping a God who is way bigger than any of that.
What I didn’t think to say at the time of Bible Study was that the God described in the Old Testament basically used only the Law and the Prophets to reveal to humankind who God is. In other words, God was shown to humans in a sort of one- or maybe two-dimensional view: the Law said this is how you should act and obey God; the prophets said what was going to happen if you didn’t; and the sacrifices and rituals were meant to restore the relationship that was broken.
However, in God’s good time, Jesus was sent to earth to show us a fuller view of God: love, grace, forgiveness and the way for everlasting life. Jesus revealed to us in a broader way who God truly is. Now we know God through meeting, knowing and learning about Jesus - Who reveals grace; Who reveals forgiveness; Who is the fulfillment of the law - which is about relationship and community with God and with one another.
Therefore, perhaps God has not changed at all, but a whole new dimension of God has been and is revealed in Jesus. And we haven’t even mentioned learning about God through the coming of the Holy Spirit and how that happens on a daily basis.
Wow!! Lots to ponder!