jordanws wrote:I know I'm late to the party here, but I thought I would put in my two cents.... I'm new, so go easy on me!
I think a big problem with the Omnis is that they take a Hebrew relational God and try to squish him into a box made out of classical greek logic. I don't define my relationship with my wife through logical arguments - why should I try and define my relationship with my God that way? I honestly don't care if God is the uncaused cause or the most powerful of all beings - I care that he desires a relationship with me.
the Hebrew God often appears inconsistent to us today because we are continually looking for a God who behaves in the way we expect a God with the omnis to behave. Is it possible that we have based our ideas about God on Greek thought and philosophy, rather than on what Scripture actually says about God?
While I agree that too much philosophizing about God will drive one mad, once you limit your ideas about God to the Bible you have to deal with, well, the Bible. There are parts of the Bible I like and parts where I call shenanigans. Serious shenanigans. Like, I'd rather throw those parts out then accept that God actually ordered those things.
I don't think it's an either/or. To me, the Bible, especially the OT, is a series of human-written, 'inspired' (meaning to me, we're meant to have them the way we have them), books about God relating to humanity, and humanity trying to comprehend God. There are a couple places where God specifically spells out things that I have a hard time comprehending, but most (that I've read, at least), are humans thinking they're doing what God asked. We assume God condones it because it's in the Bible, but maybe this is an unwise assumption. For example, in Exodus 32, Moses is on the Mountain and Aaron allows the people to make a golden calf, and then use it as an object to worship YHWH. God threatens to destroy them all for turning away from him, but Moses argues with God and convinces God not to destroy His people. Moses then goes down and kills a lot of them by his own volition.
I like this story for a few reasons. First, God changes apparently changes his mind in response to Moses' pleading. He goes from angry to subdued - not something that fits within the Greek 'omni' box. According to the philosophies we've built around God, he can't change his mind. This story (and others, for example when Abraham argues with God's messengers about the destruction of Sodom) refutes that idea of a completely static God.
Second, I think this story is pertinent because after God changes his mind, he issues no command to Moses to do anything to those worshipping the false idol. Moses is the one who enacts vengeance, showing that he lacks the restraint he pleaded for from God.
If I look at other stories, such as Emery's favorite, the Amalakites and Saul, it makes me wonder what the result would have been if Saul had shown humanity and asked God to allow him to not destroy the amalakites. Or perhaps Saul went and killed all the men; what would have happened if he spared the women and children, and then went to God and said 'out of my mercy, I have spared these people - do not turn your wrath towards me.'? Would God have turned his anger from Saul? We don't know, because Saul chose to keep the animals and plunder, showing that at his heart he had neither obedience nor mercy, but power and greed.
Of course a lot of it is inference, but I don't think it's that much of a stretch in light of the evidence. In the OT I see a God engaging with a ornery and stiff-necked people, trying to shape them into a people worthy of being called the People of God, with not much success.
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.