Is God Bipolar?

As we slowly move toward a proposal for why the God of the Old Testament commanded the Israelites to engage in warfare against the the Canaanites, I am laying out some of the views that people have on this tough issue.

One rare view is that the name “Yahweh” in the Hebrew Scriptures represents two different beings: Jesus and Satan. When reading the Bible, the word “Yahweh” can sometimes refer to Jesus Christ and other times depicts Satan. See this article for a more complete explanation: Forgotten Key to Old Testament.

Apparently, one of the basic premises of this view is that ancient Israel cosmology had not yet developed to the point of being able to discern the difference between Yahweh and Satan. Ancient people, it is taught, believed that God was behind everything that happened, and so sometimes wrongly attributed the works of the devil to Yahweh. Today, since we know the difference between God and Satan, we can use the revelation we have received in Jesus Christ to tell the difference.

So according to this view, whenever we see Yahweh mentioned in Scripture (translated as Lord in most Bibles), we should use the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Gospels to determine whether Yahweh is referring to Jesus or to the devil. If Yahweh is doing, saying, or commanding something that appears evil, then Yahweh is the devil, but if Yahweh is doing, saying, or commanding something that looks like Jesus, then in these cases Yahweh is Jesus.

Proponents of this view do not argue that Yahweh is both good and evil, but that the term Yahweh represents two different beings, Jesus and Satan, and we must use later revelation in Scripture to determine when Yahweh refers to one or the other. God Himself, of course, is always loving and just, but sometimes the human authors of Scripture confused the true God as revealed in Jesus Christ with the actions of Satan in history, and referred to the actions of both as coming from “Yahweh.”

I, frankly, am opposed to this view.

Bipolar God

This would seem to create a lot of confusion about the text. It would seem that some would attribution certain actions of Yahweh to Satan while others would attribute them to God. If this position were true, it would be difficult to tell when “Yahweh” was referring to Satan and when it referred to Jesus. This could lead to lots of confusion about the nature and work of Jesus Christ.

Besides, this view also contains a rejection of the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, both of which I would like to retain. Though it might be true that the ancient Israelites had undeveloped cosmology, this is not true of God, and so for this view to be correct, we must either deny inspiration, or have God inspiring the authors of Scripture to write about Himself in inaccurate ways.

Have you ever run across this view? What do you think of it?

God of the Old Testament and JesusThis post is part of my ongoing series on how to understand the violence of God in the Old Testament. Specifically, I am trying to answer this question:

How can a God who says "Love your enemies" (Matthew 5:44) be the same God who instructs His people in the Old Testament to kill their enemies?

To see what I am arguing so far, click here.

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