Preferred Means of Conflict Resolution

Lengthy quote from Pete Enns, from a blog series he wrote over the Summer about the violence in the Old Testament. Ultimately he’s working up to asking what’s being communicated here: God’s actual violent character or the framework in which the ancient authors interpreted the events in their world.

Falling by the sword, famine, and pestilence–a common divine trifecta in the Old Testament–is how God will make his point to Israel, that he is a ”jealous God” (Second Commandment) and will tolerate no rival. Harsh physical punishment is how gets the message across.

. . . Violence toward human beings, which began in the flood story and extends through Israel’s story and the prophets, is not an occasional event but a character trait, a preferred means of conflict resolution.

The question we’ve been asking in these posts is this:

Do these episodes of violence tell us what God is like or is the picture of God in the Old Testament mediated for us through ancient tribal culture the Israelites and their neighbors participated in?

A follow-up question is how the gospel affects, one way or the other, how we answer this question.

via And Brief (and let’s hope final, but If I know me probably not) Comment on God’s Violence in the Old Testament.

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