What’s With the Old Testament God?

In the early Church, some proposed that the Old Testament be entirely removed from the canon of Scripture, stating that it had nothing to do with the call to follow Christ. Some, taking this to an extreme, believed that there were actually two gods in the Bible: the angry, evil God of the Old Testament that created the world and tortured creation, and the loving, good God of the New Testament who came to set us free from the tyranny of creation and save us from the angry God.

Naturally, both of these stances were condemned as heresies, as there is but one God, but there is a part of me that thinks that these ideas live on even today. Ask yourself: would you prefer the God of the Old Testament or the God of the New Testament? If you think you can actually choose… we have a problem on our hands. They’re the same God.

But most don’t see it that way, at least not implicitly. Even among faithful Christians, there is this innate sense that the Old Testament God is angry and wrathful while the New Testament God is loving and merciful. This is not only unfortunate, but a complete misreading of the Bible, and something that I want to address in this week’s Catholicism in Focus.

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