This post continues to (re)summarize my proposal about how to understand the violence of God in the Old Testament.
However, I have two quick questions for you …
Now that I have returned to this series on the violence of God, the blog comments have drastically dropped off. While I was previously getting about 30 comments per post, now that I have returned to this topic, the posts have received only 1 or 2. I am trying to figure out why … So here is a two-question survey for your input:
Now on with the post …
One truth which Jesus revealed to the world is that the violent murderer of world history is not God, but the devil. Not only is the devil involved in some way or another with all the violence and murder in the world, but the devil then lies about it to humanity and gets us to blame God for what was done.
What is most surprising is how little we recognize violence as the devil’s work, and instead attribute most violence to God.
The Devil is a Liar
One of the primary lies of the devil is that God is a murderer. The devil commits violence, and get us to say “God did it. It’s God’s fault.” From the very beginning, this is the lie that he tells.
This was the lie of the serpent to Eve when the serpent asked her why God would put a tree in the garden from which she could not eat, or even touch. Aside from misquoting what God had said and raising doubt in Eve’s mind about the Word of God, the serpent was implying that whatever Eve did about the fruit, it was God’s fault for putting the tree there in the first place.
After Adam and Eve had eaten of the fruit, Adam proved that he was a quick learner. When God asked Adam why he had eaten the fruit, he too blamed God “The woman whom you gave to be with me …” (Gen 3:12). Adam not only blamed Eve; He blamed God because God had given the woman to Adam.
So you see? It was God’s fault again. Such satanic laying of blame upon God continues in the rest of Genesis and throughout the Old Testament. It is not God, but Satan, who is the god of violence (Girard, The One by Whom Scandal Comes, 55), and the original lie of Satan was that everything done in God’s creation was God’s fault and could be blamed upon God.
The Devil is a Murderer
But when we get to the Gospels, Jesus reveals what we should have known all along, that it is not God who is the murderer, but the devil.
The original lie is that everything bad is God’s fault. When we do evil, we blame God. When evil happens to us, we blame God. When evil happens to others, we blame God.
This blame game is something we learned from the devil since the very first human sin. The devil carries out the murders and lies about it, and as subjects to the god of this world, we follow in Adam’s footsteps and learn to blame God as well for the evil we do. Jesus shows this in numerous places in the Gospels, but one of the clearest is in John 8:44 where Jesus explains that the devil “was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him … he is a liar and the father of lies” (NIV).
One of the primary lies the devil tells is the lie about the origin and source of violence. The devil wants us to believe that God is at fault, that the bad things which happen in this world are because God is mad at us, hates us, and is out for bloody revenge. But in fact, the devil himself is largely responsible for much of the violence that happens in the world, and he loves nothing more than to carry out that violence and then frame God for it.
If this is so, why then does God allow it? Why does God let Himself get framed? Why does God inspire the human authors of Scripture to write about Him in violent ways? We will see why in the next post …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?
These are the sorts of questions we discuss and (try to) answer in my online discipleship group. Members of the group can also take ALL of my online courses (Valued at over $1000) at no charge. Learn more here: Join the RedeemingGod.com Discipleship Group I can't wait to hear what you have to say, and how we can help you better understand God and learn to live like Him in this world!