LoboStele wrote: “For starters, there's a few obvious explanations to most of these situations: people disobeyed God. If God is really Who He says He is, then that makes Him the all-powerful, all-knowing being. When He says you should do something, it's in His prerogative to discipline people who insist on doing something different.
The bottom line is that disobedience and disrespect toward God has consequences.” This is no different than any other form of law or ruler throughout history. It doesn't make God "dickish". It makes Him somebody who expects to be treated for Who He is. Not much different than how a parent expects to be obeyed and respected by their children. And when the child does differently, discipline is given out, whether that's time out, a spanking, taking away privileges, whatever.”
By this “logic,” the firstborn sons of every Egyptian family were “disciplined” for one man’s choice. It was the Pharoah who refused to accept Moses commands as the “word of God” and to obey. But it wasn’t just himself or his own sons upon whom his “sin of disobedience” was visited but the first born son of every family in the land.
Many people use the OT commandment “do not kill” – a command that was quickly followed by a command to kill every man, woman, child and beast in Jericho — to justify condemning women who have abortions as “murderers.” “God hates the shedding of innocent blood,” they say, making a judgment of innocence or guilt the deciding factor in calling the shedding of blood of a “political enemy” an “heroic act” — completely ignoring the NT “command” to “love your enemies” — and the shedding of blood of an undeveloped fetus in a woman’s womb “murder.” Of what were the first born sons of every Egyptian family guilty? Being born under the government of a Pharoah who did not accept the commandments of a slave as the “word of God?” Upon how many generations does this “perfect god” lay the “sins of their fathers?”
If the Pharoah’s refusal to submit to Moses demands was a crime sufficient to make the children of his subjects guilty of disobedience demanding the penalty of death, would a young woman’s refusal to accept the command “thou shalt not kill” to mean she must bear a fetus to full development and birth be laid against the potential child in her womb making it also guilty of disobedience demanding death?
The problem isn’t “the god of the Old Testament,” it’s readers of the Old Testament who proclaim it to be a history of what God says about himself rather than a history of how a particular group of people attempted to define and explain God. THAT was what the Jesus of the New Testament came to correct – or more accurately to reverse. The idea that the scriptures were God’s view of man rather than man’s ever-evolving view of God. “Who sinned that this man was born blind,” Jesus was asked. “No one sinned,” he said in response.
Everyone sins, is born in sin and deserves death today’s “Christians” proclaim still trying to reconcile the irreconcilable wrath of the Old Testament God with the Love of the New. And not satisfied with the punishment of death, “god’s punishment” is made “eternal” so that some form of individual being with independent will is tormented for all eternity for a decision made “in the blink of an eye.”
The “letter of the law” always kills. The Spirit gives life. “I am the way, the truth and the life,” Jesus said and so are you. Not because you believe his death satisfied the vengeful lust of an angry God but because the One who is All and in All does not judge as man judges but loves unconditionally. Murder is not justified on the basis that a particular government or the apparent head of a visible government has “disobeyed God,” any more than football games and reality television shows are won or lost on the basis of who God loves the most or who is most “obedient to Him.” That is just one more of “satan’s” attempts to ascend to the throne of HE/SHE/THAT which “works” in and for the good of All seemingly independent parts.
IMO, anyone who attempts to justify the cruelty of the “god of the Old Testament” does so because he/she has – at some point along the way — accepted and believed that God is cruel and “his behavior” requires man’s intellectual justification. IMO, a “cruel god” is always only a projection of what we attempt to deny in ourselves. God didn’t decide the inhabitants of Jericho, the first born sons of the Egyptians or the children who mocked Elisha deserved death, men made that judgment, projected their own judgments onto God and wrote the stories to absolve themselves of responsibility which wasn’t theirs to begin with.