Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Self-Harmony of the Bible - 5 (Part Six)

Is God a Warrior?
            In two places, the scriptures refer to God as a warrior. Israel sang: “Jehovah is a man of war, Jehovah is his name,” at Deuteronomy 15:3 (ASV). Further, David lauds God at Psalm 24:8 (NWT): “Who is the glorious King? Jehovah, strong and mighty, Jehovah, mighty in battle.” I affirm these points, so what will the skeptic say to move me to declare that the Bible contradicts itself? He cites Romans 15:33, highlighting that God is called “the God of peace,” and also 1 Corinthians 14:33 (NWT), which says of God: “God is a God not of disorder but of peace.”
            Yet, I have not seem him frame these as mutually exclusive options! The first two scriptures deal with literal warfare, however, the latter two have nothing to do with warfare; 1 Corinthians 14:33 deals with order during Christian gatherings! There is no contradiction. And it is impossible that Paul, who wrote both Romans and 1 Corinthians, thought of God as only a God of peace (a term the skeptic has a too simplistic view of). – Romans 2:5

Does God Get Angry?
            Phrases such as ‘my fury shall be poured out’ pepper the scriptures; Jeremiah 42:18 is such an example. “However, if this is the case,” the skeptic asks, “why does God say at Isaiah 27:4 (NWT): “There is no wrath in me?” Or, why could Nehemiah say of Him: “[Y]ou are a God ready to forgive, compassionate and merciful, slow to anger and abundant in loyal love, and you did not abandon them?”” (Nehemiah 9:17 NWT)
            The skeptic’s reference to Nehemiah is not valid; the skeptic can pretend that mercy cannot exist with rage, but such an erroneous statement is not incumbent upon us. Neither is his use of Isaiah 27:4 skillful. It clearly is not an absolute statement that God never has anger, nor was its audience all inclusive. It is part of a song that will be sung “in that [as of yet future] day . . . in the land of Judah,” which describes, not pre-exile Judah, but “[a] nation that is keeping faithful conduct.” – Isaiah 26:1,2
            This is, despite the skeptic’s interjection, harmonious with the God of Jeremiah 42:18. This fact is evident by what God himself says: “In that day you will certainly say: “I thank you, O Jehovah, For although you were angry with me, Your anger gradually subsided, and you comforted me.” (Isaiah 12:1 NWT) The lesson learned: God has fury, but it is not all consuming, and does fade; a God of mercy is he, yet not one who excuses without cause.

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