Will the real god please stand up? September 16, 2005Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, faith, God, Jesus, Religion, spirituality, Theology.
In Hinduism, there is a multiplicity of gods including Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Sustainer), Krishna (Love, destruction of Evil), and even Shiva (Destroyer). In the Judeo-Christian faith, we claim to believe in ONE God yet there are great inconsistencies in the Bible concerning the description of God.
In the beginning, Elohim created the heavens and the earth. Elohim is a plural word for God and is used over 2,500 times in the Old Testament. The root of Elohim is El which is used 250 times. Other variations include El-Shaddai, El-Elyon, and others. God is also referred to as Jehovah or Yahweh almost 7,000 times in the Old Testament. There are also many variations of Jehovah including Jehovah-Jireh. However, my question does not relate to the many names of God.
Many of us have struggled with the Old Testament’s portrayal of God vs. the loving father image as portrayed in the New Testament. Many of us have also struggled with the concept of Jesus being God and with the concept of the Trinity being ONE God. However, my question does not relate to the Trinity or to the reconciliation of the characteristics of God between the covenants.
What then is my point? I would like to focus on the way God is portrayed in the Old Testament and even in the Pentateuch which was supposedly authored by one man, Moses.
If one reads the Pentateuch, they cannot help but notice that God is portrayed in many different ways. For example, Abraham’s God walked into his tent, consulted with him , and even bargained with him. This relationship with God even translated to his grandson actually wrestling with God (is that even possible?).
By contrast, Moses’ God was holy. One could not look on his face and live. He was present in a burning bush and spoke in thunder and lightning from a holy mountain. We could carry this study beyond the Pentateuch to the prophets, psalmist, and others and recite many other examples where the nature and characteristics of God are radically different.
So my question is this: Is God showing us different aspects of himself and how he related to different people in different ways or is the Old Testament simply a collection of holy scriptures containing different men’s views of God and specifically how they related to him based on their environment and outside influences at the time? More specifically, is the Bible God’s Word to us or our word about our perception of him?