I had said (over at FB) that “the God revealed in Christ has a power that is neither coercive nor unilateral.
The God of the Old Testament would never turn the other cheek. Jesus presents to us a view of God that is a radical renovation of previous conceptions.”
As Christians we talk about god particularly not generically. We are not God-ians in a universal sense but Christ-ians in a specific sense.
My friend Ryan wrote a thoughtful response about reading the Old Testament. Here is Ryan:
In a way, the characteristics of God often portrayed in the Hebrew Scriptures appear to be incomplete. The reason I say that is because the writers and communities that formed those Scriptures were locked into a particular time and place and could only see dimly the pictures of God they were given. I do believe that it is not God that changes, but our understanding of who God is. So I would absolutely agree with your initial post, that in Christ we get the fullest picture of who God is, (i.e. power, grace, mercy, judgment) though we still see dimly because of 1st century culture and our own present one. What Christ does enable us to do is understand what we aren’t able to see in the Hebrew Scriptures without the reality of his incarnation. We can then reexamine the God described in the Hebrew Scriptures with a fuller picture of God’s unique character, through the lens of Jesus. This is truly a gift.
Part of the problem with our modern ways of dissecting Scripture are that we expect the fullness of who God is to be revealed in every single letter and word. This seems to miss the messy and real life process that was undertaken in writing these Scriptures to begin with. Communities of faith, albeit inspired by God, still had to wrestle with the inconsistencies of who they believed or wanted God to be, and who God actually revealed God’s self to be. Because we have the entire canon at our disposal we don’t see the centuries that it took to arrive at the understanding of Christ as the incarnation and fullest expression of God’s self. 1 Peter 1:10-12 provides this perspective, that it was never the intention of the Hebrew Scriptures to be the et. al. portrayal of God, but that when the Messiah was revealed he would make God known. Finally, that same Christ whose Spirit infuses God’s people, is continuing to make God known to us, in order that we might see less dimly and be given the grace of seeing God for who God truly is.
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