wright on the OT

I recently wrote a post about God in the Old Testament. I was trying to reconcile in my mind all the instances of violence and how that jived with Jesus’ message of peace in the Gospels. I have been reading N.T. Wright’s Evil and the Justice of God, and here’s what he had to say about it:

And yet since the garden, ever since God’s grief over Noah, ever since Babel and Abraham, the story has been about the messy way in which God has had to work to bring the world out of the mess. Somehow, in a way we are inclined to find offensive [violence in the OT, for example] God has to get his boots muddy and, it seems, to get his hands bloody to put the world back to rights. If we declare, as many have done, that we would rather it were not so, we face a counter-question: Which bit of dry, clean ground are we standing on that we should pronounce on the matter with such great certainty? Dietrich Bonhoeffer declared that the primal sin of humanity consisted in putting the knowledge of good and evil before the knowledge of God. That is one of the further dark mysteries of Genesis 3: there must be some substantial continuity between what we mean by good and evil and what God means; otherwise we are in moral darkness indeed. But it serves as a warning to us not to pontificate with too much certainty about what God should and shouldn’t have done.
The stories of conquest conclude with Israel, the people of the promise, embattled and rebellious but finally installed in the land. From then on, Israel is like a broken signpost still shakily pointing forward to the Creator’s purpose: to rescue his human creatures and complete the work of creation.

Wow. In other words, ask the questions but don’t ever get too certain that you have God all figured out, for certainly His ways are higher.

Have a good Sunday.

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