Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Faith, Children, and the Old Testament.

I had a conversation with an incredibly intelligent and very dear friend last Saturday.  We talked about the Bible, the struggles to share Old Testament stories to children, and our own problems with a God of cherem (total annihilation).  This led me to thinking– how do people truly come to terms with the God of the Old Testament?  These are the approaches I can think of:

1. The easily accepting – a person reads the stories (likely without Biblical interpretation skills) sees the waters muddy a bit between the God of love in the New Testament versus the God of justice in the Old Testament and accepts it as that.

2. The retaliatory – a person reads the stories (likely without Biblical interpretation skills), views the annihilation as necessary, and believes it should apply to everyday life. Heck, these people may not even read the stories. Maybe they just want retaliation (think Westboro Baptist Church).

3. The struggling – a person reads the stories (with or without interpretation skills) and has an extremely hard time comprehending how a God of love can make such a shift from the Old Testament to the New.  They’ve read and understand that there are inconsistencies to the message.

4. The reluctantly accepting – a person reads the stories, understands the paradox, and after grappling with it, believes it to be part of God’s divine plan. This is derived of students whom have studied the Bible and, despite the inconsistencies, choose to let faith override and continue to believe regardless.

I find myself bouncing between the last two.  This was a topic I struggled with in college.  From what we studied, the reason God allowed so many things to happen in the Old Testament was because it was a primitive environment, it set the stage for Christ, it was a display of the God of wrath and justice, and at times it was a call to faith (Joshua- the battle of Jericho for an example).  I can logically reason with the explanations I have learned, but my heart cannot reconcile with them.  How will I teach my daughter about God?

For example: Noah and the Ark.  It can be told as this: God tells Noah to build an ark.  Noah has faith when no one else believes.  The rains come, Noah and his family are safe, and God honors their covenant.

That is how I heard the story.  I also didn’t think anything of the people being wiped off the face of the planet.  Why didn’t I? Because they were “bad.”  They were justified in their deaths. I want to say that God wept over them, but He was sorry that he made them.  Which is a whole other can of worms (can God regret when he is omniscient) that I wont get into.

All this is to say… I have a lot of thinking to do before I start really teaching my child.  I have a lot of thinking to do about my own faith.

Am I the only one that is battling with this?