"God's Love in the Old Testament" - Recap 3



Recap 3 covering chapters 7 to 9




Recap 3 covering chapters 7 to 9


This is a synopsis of the second three chapters Part 2.  (If you click on any of he chapter headings they will take you to that chapter)


A. Overview


Chapter 7 – Realising History

7.1 Thinking about History, Revelation of God and Development of Mankind

7.2 The Reasonableness of this World View and some Analogies

7.3 Considering Changes in Mankind's Development

7.4 The Logical Consequences of our Worldview

7.5 Knowledge-Filled from the start, or Gradual Learning?

7.6 A Brief Sketch of some of the Developments of Mankind

7.7 Some Concluding Thoughts   .     

Chapter 8 – Realising Revelation

8.1 Reviewing History: the ‘need' for gradual revelation

8.2 Two Keys: God doesn't change but man's understanding of Him does.

8.3 The Gradual Revelation of God in the Old Testament

8.4 Listing the things learnt about God so far

8.5 Moving into the New Testament Era

8.6 And So?     

Chapter 9 – God and the Rest of the World

9.1 Isn't the Old Testament just about the Jews?

9.2 God's concern for the world from the Patriarchs on

9.3 God's concern passed on by the early leaders Moses & Joshua

9.4 God's concern for the world through David & Solomon

9.5 God's heart for the world conveyed through the Prophets

9.6 God's dealings with Gentile Kings using Daniel

9.7 Other Instances of Gentile Contact

9.8 The New Testament: The climax of God's concern for the world

9.9 And So?



B. Detail


Chapter 7 – Realising History


The thesis of Chapter 7:   A world without God makes history accidental and pointless. A world with God fits the worldview of history that is theistic. God would have had to make it a developing world, and that we observe through history.


There is often a derisory note about a God who would make an imperfect world, and how primitive man was unlikely to have been part of God's plan


We need to think about:

  • why God made the world in the way He did, (this chapter) and 
  • why He revealed Himself in the way He did (the following chapter).


God is the Creator of all things and   the world view that holds that proposition is reasonable and logical as far as the consequences of it are concerned.     


Considering analogies of a father trying to teach a very young son and the things that the son needs to learn before he can take over the father's business, help us see why the mankind developed through history and why god revealed Himself slowly.


Therefore there are two things we need to understand:

1. Mankind has developed or evolved in knowledge, understanding and ability to where we are today.

2. God who is all-knowing, has always existed, and is unchanging, but has only gradually revealed Himself to the human race.


It is important to understand the consequences of our worldview, i.e.

  • if there IS a God there are some logical consequences to be observed, and
  • if there is NO God, then the development of mankind is a meaningless, accidental chain of events which leaves us today with a lot of knowledge but no meaning.


 Questions that are sometimes asked are:

  • Why Did God make (IF He did) primitive man with hardly any knowledge so that life was so harsh?
  • Why didn't God input knowledge into mankind so that it ‘jumped' the primitive stage and all the difficulties that went with that period?


There are really only two possibilities:

  • God makes man as fully developed in thinking as modern man is, so that he didn't have to learn, and he didn't have to gradually develop (contrary to that observed in history).
  • God created primitive man and allowed and encouraged man to gradually develop in all the ways archaeology suggests (as observed in history).


When we look at historical developments we can see this latter option in scientific knowledge and in social development generally.


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Chapter 8 – Realising Revelation


We saw that:

1. Mankind has developed or evolved in knowledge, understanding and ability to where we are today. Much of the previous chapter was given over to thinking about this. 

2. God who is all-knowing, has always existed, and is unchanging, but has only gradually revealed Himself to the human race.


Now if we put these two together there are some natural outcomes, for example:

  • man's understanding of God was initially very limited,
  • God chose to reveal Himself to mankind, not by direct teaching, but by His interactions with individuals and peoples,
  • thus the revelation of God through the Bible comes very largely from observing the way He dealt with or interacted with individuals or peoples (mostly  Israel ),
  • man living three thousand years ago was very much more primitive and could only receive a limited understanding from God,
  • i.e. God would not have said some things to them because they would not have understood it,
  • similarly He also had to speak in certain ways to help them understand, ways that he might not have had to use with a more developed world,
  • yet, as we'll soon see, that was the only realistic option open to Him.


When it comes to religion, from a purely scientific point of view, all we have to go on are grave-goods and archaeological remains. The biblical documents take on major importance.


Two things to remember:

i) God doesn't develop ii) Our Understanding of Him does develop.


God revealed Himself to individuals with whom he formed relationships. It is through these relationships and the things that were said, that we learn most about God in the Bible.


The peak of this revelation was through the Son of God, Jesus Christ, but God has nevertheless continued to reveal things of Himself through Church history.

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Chapter 9 – God and the Rest of the World


God chose a particular nation, right from its outset, to reveal Himself through to the rest of the world. Throughout the Old Testament the signs are clearly there that   Israel   was to be a light to the rest of the world, who would see what was happening to them, and have their thoughts drawn to the God who was interacting with this nation.      


Everything about this nation – their founding grandfather, even their actual father, the way they came into being in Egypt, the way they were delivered from Egypt, the way they were led and given a new land to live in, the struggles they had there, the eventual exile and restoration – all this pointed to the reality and existence of the One God.


We see God's concern for the whole world being revealed through:

  • the Patriarchs
  • Moses & Joshua
  • David & Solomon
  • the prophets
  • Daniel's interactions with gentile kings
  • Rahab, the Gibeonites & Naaman
  • the whole of the New Testament.



C. And So?


In these three chapters we have sought to show how the biblical accounts ‘fit' what we know of the world generally.


We saw how it was natural and logical in history for God to create primitive man who had to learn and gradually develop over the centuries, right up to the present time.


We saw that, in line with the above, in respect of revelation , it was necessary for God to reveal Himself gradually to primitive mankind through the means of interacting with individuals and then with the nation called Israel and finally through His own Son coming from heaven.


We also saw there is a worldwide purpose on God's heart, that took Israel with the express intention of them being a light to the rest of the world and, finally, for them to be the environment into which He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to further reveal Himself and deal with the problem of Sin and unpunished sins.


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