Angry, Crabby, and Snarky

MONDAY, JUNE 20, 2016

Making Sense of God's Anger

Our image of God will directly affect how we either pursue or avoid God. – David T. Lamb (Associate professor of Old Testament at Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania)

Key Bible Verse: “I will not accuse them forever, not will I always be angry, for then they would faint away because of me – the very people I have created.” (Isaiah 57:16, NIV)

Dig Deeper: Isaiah 57

“Whenever you read from the Old Testament, God is always crabby and snarky to everyone, but the New Testament isn’t about anger at all – it’s about love.”

This observation is made by Sam to her mother (Boopsie) in a 2009 Doonesbury comic strip, after she heard Rev. Sloan reading from the Bible about the wrath of God. Sam’s statement captures the essence of the supposed conflict between the anger of Yahweh in the Old Testament and the love of Jesus in the New Testament. As we look at old Testament passages focused on anger and love, we will have to decide whether Sam listens badly, Rev. Sloan reads badly, or Yahweh behaves badly.

The Old Testament speaks frequently about Yahweh becoming angry and sometimes even killing people in his anger. Doesn’t that undermine the idea of Yahweh as loving? This [week’s readings] will discuss the tension between divine love and divine anger. We might not completely resolve the problem, but we will better understand why Yahweh becomes angry and how his anger makes sense.

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