It has been about three weeks since I published a post on the book I am writing, When God Pled Guilty.
In case you are wondering, I haven’t forgotten about it!
To the contrary, I have been working on it like mad! And even when I am not studying, researching, reading, and writing on the topic, I am thinking about it. As they say, “A writer is working even when he’s staring out the window.”
So why haven’t I written any posts on the book for three weeks?
It is just that… well… I ran into some snags. Or maybe I should say that I ran into A snag.
What snag is that?
The biggest snag of all… Scripture!
I think many of you were predicting this! And no, I am NOT doing this to my Bible:
You see, up to this point in When God Pled Guilty, I have only been writing “theological theory.” I built a hypothesis that I wanted to test against Scripture. Though I have been a student of Scripture all my l life, I have always had difficulty with the violent passages in the Bible, and how to reconcile them with the loving portrait of Jesus in the Gospels. I felt that something was amiss, but could never put into words exactly what was wrong.
I knew I needed to re-study all the violent passages of Scripture, but to do that, I needed a framework upon which to build. It was a difficult challenge: I wanted to rework my understanding of several Scripture passages, but the theology I had been taught about God and Scripture would not allow me to do so. I first had to rework some of my theology so that I could then see if Scripture fit into it. I know this is a dangerous way to do theology, but it was the only way I could think of to proceed.
So I recently started writing down all my thoughts about how to make God look like Jesus. I started with what I knew about Jesus in the Gospels, and built a framework around Him. I basically asked, “If Jesus truly reveals God to us, then what sort of God should we expect to find in the Old Testament and how can we understand what is going on in our own world when such terrible things happen all the time?”
Based on these question, I built a theological framework. That is what I wrote about in the first several posts of this series. If you want to catch up, you can read these through the links below.
Note that while these posts will form the foundation for the book that I will eventually publish (target goal: early 2014), I have already radically altered and changed much of the material that was published in those posts. So even if you’ve read the posts, make sure you stay tuned for the book when it comes out, because much of the material will be new and presented in a different way.
So anyway, three weeks ago I finally started looking at some of the biblical texts I wanted to study in depth. I spent a week on the book of Revelation, and am pretty excited about some of the fruits of that study. I think that Revelation will easily support the idea I am presenting in the book. I am pretty excited about what I learned.
Then I spent a bit of time in Job. Same thing there. This book of Job is widely misunderstood! In the book of Job, God looks just like Jesus.
So then I started to study the flood account in Genesis 6. This is what snagged me. This is one tough text! I have spent hours researching Hebrew hiphil participles, the word hinneh with an imminent future participle, looking up textual variants, translating multiple verses in Genesis 6-8, and comparing the entire flood account with Mesopotamian and Egyptian cosmology. I know this might sound incredibly boring, but it is a big adventure for me. I LOVE this stuff.
But it is also frustrating. Every time I think I find a lead, I end up walking down blind alley and have to turn around and start over. I certainly have discovered a lot of cool stuff about Genesis 6-8, but very little of it helps me understand this text in light of Jesus Christ.
I know (roughly) how I am going to explain these chapters in light of my “Chaos Theory” but I am not fully satisfied with my explanation, and I keep hoping to find some other insight in the text that shows God behaving like Jesus on the cross. I see hints of it everywhere, but not the big piece of the puzzle that fits it all together in a coherent whole.
Probably I will just have to post what I’ve got, and move on, hoping that as I study more violent texts in the Old Testament, I might stumble across something that will help me further with the flood account.
And hey! If any of you are curious about the particular verses I am working on, here they are: Genesis 6:7, 13, 17; 7:4. And along with these verses, 2 Peter 2:5. Look them up and let me know what you think! Can you see Jesus on the cross in these texts? If so, how?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!