"God's Love in the Old Testament"   - Introduction







Welcome to “God's Love in the Old Testament”. Can I make some comments that I hope will help you understand how best to use this book.


If you lack time, you may wish to read through the 'Recaps' you'll see on the Contents page to catch the overall theme and message, and then come back at odd times and read the chapters through. If you are a serious reader, go for the chapters first of all. To catch the whole flavour, read the last chapter - but then go through the chapters to get the detailed argument.


Overall Aim:


Very often people ask if there are two Gods, one of the Old Testament and one of the New. After all, they say, the God of the New Testament is clearly a God of Love, but the God of the Old Testament seems to be an angry God of Judgment.


As a long-time reader of the Bible, I am left feeling that this sort of question simply reveals the lack of reading of the whole Bible, that soon becomes obvious in questioners. The purpose of this book is to show that when we carefully look at what is actually there in the Bible and take in what it says, we will realise that there is NOT this division. The God who is a God of love is as clearly there in the Old Testament as in the New – and I will prove it! That's what this book is about.



The Three Parts


You will see from the Contents page that there are three parts to this book.



Part 1: Approaching the Bible with Intellectual Integrity & Objectivity


Chapter 1: Shares what I have learned about people's questioning over the years. 

Chapter 2: Asks for an objective, ‘scientific' approach to the Bible and its contents. 

Chapter 3: Gives an example of a rational approach and then provides some helps in understanding the veracity of the Bible writers. 


These chapters are more particularly for those sceptics who tend to challenge the Bible with little thought or understanding, and so it aims at stripping away shallow misconceptions. If you consider you have strong negative views about the integrity of the writers of the Bible, this is essential reading for you. If you want to help such people, this is essential reading for you also.  



Part 2: Establishing Foundations for Understanding the Bible


Chapter 4: Introducing Love

Chapter 5: Questions of Love

Chapter 6: Introducing Goodness

Chapter 7: Realising History

Chapter 8: Realising Revelation

Chapter 9: God and the Rest of the World

Chapter 10: Blessed or Cursed, the Choice is Yours

Chapter 11: The Judgment of God as seen in the Old Testament


Chapters 4 to 11 are about bringing helpful understanding to just what the Bible says about overall themes. These then act as foundation stones to enable us to think more wisely about the specific incidents recorded in the Old Testament which, critics say, show up God in a bad light. These will form the content of the rest of the book.


Chapters 4 to 6 look at the themes of God's love and goodness declared throughout the Old Testament, which is strange if the critics were right about God's activities. Chapter 5 may be especially helpful in establishing what it means to say God is love.


Chapters 7 & 8 show why, when suggesting that God was involved in bringing the world into being, it is quite legitimate to suggest that He started off with primitive man who gradually developed and, as well, why it was legitimate for God to reveal Himself only gradually.


Chapter 9 picks up a misunderstanding that says the Old Testament is only about the Jews, and goes on to show how God was constantly working outwards through them to the rest of the world.


Chapters 10 & 11, possibly THE most helpful I believe, for seekers who worry about God's anger and judgment, seen alongside His blessing offered as a choice. If you take in the truth of the Bible declarations you may find yourself with a VERY different understanding which will help you understand all the subsequent chapters.

These chapters in Part 2 provide an essential framework or foundation for understanding the Old Testament. You may be tempted to jump straight to Part 3 but if you do you will miss essentials for putting everything else in perspective.



Part 3: Considering Complaints


The chapters in this final part largely speak for themselves. They pick up particular incidents that seem to upset the critics:

Chapters 12 & 13 – Was God unkind banning mankind from the Garden of Eden

Chapter 14 – What about the Flood? Was this the act of a harsh God?

Chapters 15 &16 – Pharaoh & the Plagues, a sign of a harsh God?

Chapters 17 & 18 - God's dealings with Israel in the Desert

Chapters 19 to 21 – The invasion of Canaan, a symbol of a harsh God?

Chapter 22 - The reasonableness of the Law

Chapter 23 - An Old Testament Hotch-Potch

Chapter 24 - Lessons for Learning


Each of these areas is one that sceptics say reveals a God who is harsh. I believe a careful examination of the evidence will show exactly the opposite!

At the end of each Part there will be a 'Recap' that forms a brief synopsis of the chapters within that Part. If you read nothing else, read these recaps. If you want a fuller explanatory comment, then please work your way through the chapters. The recaps will give the overall picture but if you want understanding and the ability to answer questions of others, then reading the chapters is essential. As I said above, chapter 24 overviews the whole book from the view of lessons to be learnt.


I hope you find this book instructive, challenging and helpful.



A Final Warning


This is a big subject for it covers many incidents that sceptics say show God in a bad light. Those sceptics provide shallow criticisms. If only they had taken the time and made the effort, they would not be sceptics. So, this book is all about countering those shallow criticisms but it will require both time and effort to do it.


In the past year or so I have heard, or come across, a number of criticisms of Christians who are too lazy to find out the truth. This has usually come with a plea for Christians to read and to equip themselves to stand up against the tidal wave of shallow attacks by crusading atheists. I would join my voice to such criticisms and such pleas. Whether you are a Christian, a seeker or a cynic, I encourage you to climb off the fence and set yourself a project of working through the material here to come to a place of informed understanding. We DO have answers. We just need to look for them. Come with me and join me in what I have found to be a most rewarding enterprise.


And Copyright

These pages are solely the work of Tony Thomas. While we recognise that you may prefer to copy and paste a page to read a Chapter in your own time, on your own computer and off line, we would request that you respect the following.

These chapters are here for open use by those wishing to consider and study this whole subject, but no part of the site should be copied or reproduced in any form for financial gain.



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