Is God a Moral Monster? Making Sense of the Old Testament God by Paul Copan
I finished this book yesterday and wanted to do one last post with a few thoughts I noted from the book. I'd love to hear your feedback on any of this!
"The Scriptures reveal a sufficient God, not necessarily an efficient one." (pg. 166)
I actually had to stop and think about this since our society values efficiency so much. I had to consider the fact that inefficiency isn't always a bad trait. Your thoughts?
Ever notice the Old Testament talk about utterly destroying all the people and animals including women and children and cringing at how God could command such a thing? This author makes a case for this being exaggerated language frequently used in ancient history. He gives examples from other sources such as Egypt's Tuthmosis III, the Hittite king Mursilli II, Ramses II, Moab's king Mesha and a couple of others. As the author states and maybe you've noticed in your own Bible reading, "groups of Canaanite peoples who apparently were 'totally destroyed' were still around when all was said and done (e.g. Judges 1)." He writes: "The archaeological evidence nicely supports the biblical text; both of these point to minimal observable material destruction in Canaan as well as Israel's gradual infiltration, assimilation, and eventual dominance there." (pg. 185)
What do you think?
In a later chapter the author suggests:
"Maybe the ideal 'God' in the Westerner's mind is just too nice. We've lost sight of good and just while focusing on nice, tame, and manageable. We've ignored sternness and severity (which makes us squirm), latching onto our own ideals of comfort and convenience. We've gotten rid of the God who presents a cosmic authority problem and substituted controllable gods of our own devising. We've focused on divine love at the expense of God's anger at what ultimately destroys us or undermines our fundamental well-being. ... Today's version of spirituality is tame and makes no demands on us. A mere impersonal force behind it all doesn't call us on the carpet for our actions. ... If we take God seriously, he will most certainly mess up our lives, make us uncomfortable, and even disorient us. After all, we can easily get accustomed to our own self-serving agendas and idols. The atheist has it almost right: humans regularly do make gods in their image. Yet the biblical God isn't the kind we make up. He refuses to be manipulated by human schemes. He makes us all -- including his true devotees -- uncomfortable, which in the end is what we truly need to overcome our self-centeredness." (pg. 193)
Do you tend to agree? Disagree? Share away!