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What is the purpose of the old testament?

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by arno_ed, Feb 23, 2015.

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  1. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    I'm no expert, and it's probably foolish for me to try and explain my understanding in the limited way required on a bbs. But I'll give it a shot.

    I think one part of it is that the important part is the message behind the stories and not necessarily the details. So yes God in his bet with Satan did horrible things to a good guy. The message is that staying true to your principles and beliefs even in tough times is a good thing. That's true even if there's an easier way out by abandoning your values.

    It's kind of like how Robin Hood has a message against tyranny. It isn't to glorify taking weapons and robbing and stealing from passers by.

    The other reason some of the heroes of the OT do such horrible things might be to show that despite how horrible some of these "heroes" are they are still chosen by God and can serve a good purpose. So even greatly flawed people can still do great things and be loved by God.

    Another thing that shouldn't be overlooked, is that the people who wrote the stories lacked some understanding and enlightenment that we have hopefully gained since they were writing those stories.

    Jesus himself claimed that he didn't come to change the OT but to fulfill it. So if we look at the actions of Jesus they aren't mass killings and selling wives off etc. They would go along with the messages that the bloody examples were trying to prove.

    If that's the fulfillment of the OT then it makes sense that the messages behind the stories were what was important all along.
     
  2. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    I'll defer to Richard Dawkins in "Unbelievers": asking the purpose is stupid.
     
  3. dback816

    dback816 Member

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    Why worship a tyrant then?
     
  4. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    But what would that mean? I'm not a christian, but if I really believed in Jesus as my salvation, then don't I need to believe I need accepting? So, then I need to embrace original sin at least at a meta level. So, I've started to accept some of the OT mythology as real, even if not literal. And then what should I make of him ordering the jews to commit genocide in the promised land? That that came from some different God? If the OT God is false, the OT establishment of original sin is invalidated. If the OT God is a different God, it undercuts monotheism in general. I find the church's approach of explaining the OT as divine justice and the NT as mercy derived from the crucifixion. That's a much easier way to square the circle than figure out how you fit 2 omnipotent gods in the same universe.
     
  5. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    ". . . .slaughters for fun and profit and other sick things ruling us . .. . "

    Seems like that describes the Government

    Rocket River
     
  6. SamFisher

    SamFisher Virtuous

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    Yeah, no.

    The God of the OT is a lot more like ISIS/ISIL/Daesh.
     
  7. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Insider Newsletter™ 2X Diamond Member

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    The NT is built on the OT. Jesus's legitimacy comes from it and IIRC, the book of Isaiah prophesied the coming of a Savior and His foretold life.

    I'm pretty sure this question will evoke different answers by different sects of Christians. Evangelicals will claim its very important to understand the OT as it is still God's word (what that means also provides different answers...). Some of the European Catholics, maybe the more theological ones, will talk about the allegorical or philosophical meanings like Kierkegaard and the sacrifice of Isaac. Or maybe they'll just be all about the Gospels

    In any case, you can't wash away Original Sin without a good swig of Jesus juice.
     
  8. ipaman

    ipaman Contributing Member

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    I posted earlier Marcionism, which was created by Marcion of Sinope, tried to answer your questions and tie it all up with a pretty ribbon on top. However he was declared a heretic and excommunicated. But he is viewed as one of the fathers of Christianity and the NT. As an early leader who also studied the OT, he concluded that Jesus and OT god were conflicting. He reconciled both and IMHO it reconciliation was perfect. His answer was a dualist approach, ditheism. Who am I to argue with an early Christian (before it was something) who thought and saw the issues between OT/NT and reached his conclusion.

    Plus his conclusion fits perfect with dualism which I always found to make the most sense logically. For example, I could never understand why the Satan/Devil was so feared/hated when if not for him the whole dogma falls apart. You need a Evil Satan to have a Good God, they need each other because alone they mean nothing. Hot needs Cold, Sweet needs Sour, etc... So in that regard Satan shouldn't be feared/hated, but admired.
     
  9. bingsha10

    bingsha10 Member

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    When people criticize the old testament they are really criticizing Judaism since that's all they got. If you want to understand how it's relevant to today, go study some commentaries on it by actual Jews.

    What, you're not going to? What a surprise.
     
  10. SamFisher

    SamFisher Virtuous

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    Look as far as a fable invented by a bunch of primitive screwheads it's perfectly fine, as far as those things go. It does the job.

    Hell some books like psalms are legit pieces of literary value in their own right.

    Its definitely not as good as modern fantasy writing, and most of the fables therein are inferior, imo, to their classical Hellenic counterparts. But that's to be expected insofar as it was a far more advanced society.

    And no, I don't need to "talk to actual jews" to arrive at this conclusion. Now that's just dumb. I'll talk to my Jewish friends when evaluating bagels or towns on long Island.
     
  11. cml750

    cml750 Contributing Member

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    The Old Testament tells us how hard it is for a person to get to Heaven on their own. We learn about how the shedding of innocent blood is the only thing that allows for forgiveness of sins. We also learn that the Jews are Gods chosen people and that all people of the earth will be blessed through the Jews. There are also many, many prophecies in the Old Testament concerning a Messiah that will come. Jesus in the New Testament is the fulfillment of those Messiah prophecies. The shedding of his innocent blood allows for the forgiveness of sins for anyone who will accept it and that Jesus is the way God blessed all the people of the Earth by simply accepting his sacrifice and resurrection. Jesus was / is / and forever will be "the Lamb of God".
     
  12. Air Langhi

    Air Langhi Contributing Member

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    If god is all powerful why did he have to come up with some convoluted way to forgive people's sin. He makes the rules right.
     
  13. dback816

    dback816 Member

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    Why did god invent all these diseases and natural disasters?
     
  14. Jimes

    Jimes Member

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    This is my understanding of how the Bible answers this (sorry this is kind of long, but your question demands some details).

    Start with the premise that true justice rewards right behavior and punishes wrong behavior. God, being just, cannot act against his own character and be unjust by not punishing wrong behavior, a.k.a. sin. This would be like a judge letting a condemned criminal go scot-free; justice would not be served.

    As JuanValdez mentioned, the Old Testament (and the New) affirm original sin, which means all people cannot help but sin and thus all deserve punishment. No one can meet God's standard of perfect obedience and love toward God and others (another attribute, holiness, demands this). We are in deep trouble unless we can get rid of our sin. However, if God were in some sense to "sweep it all under the rug", he would be violating his own self-attested attribute of justice, which he cannot do, being morally perfect/holy.

    So the unique thing about the Gospel (the message that Jesus lived in Israel 2000 years ago, was the Son of God and lived a perfect life, during which God, out of mercy for us, put/transferred/imputed our sins onto him on the cross, let him suffer and die in our place for those sins, and then raised him from the dead to show his acceptance of his substitution) is that it is really the only way for God to remain just in punishing our sin while simultaneously demonstrating love and mercy to mankind by providing a way out (at great cost to himself), since those who trust in what he did actually do have their sins removed in God's sight and thus no longer deserve punishment.

    In Romans 3, there's a part that goes:
    That last part says God is just AND he justifies (considers innocent) those who have faith in Jesus. He is holy, just, and loving. I am admittedly not that creative, but I can't think of any other way to prove all three things than the way God chose to do it.
     
  15. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    Just imagine a world before psychotherapy, bureaucratic government, constitutional law, book publishers, scientific method, movie studios or gender-equitable, non-subsistence economic systems and then try to convince all the alpha males to not rape and murder everyone.
     
  16. arno_ed

    arno_ed Contributing Member

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    I want to thank all the people who gave an honest serious reply. I did not start this thread to bash Christianity. I have 2 problems with the OT, first the way the god in the OT is totally different from the God in the NT, and secondly when people quote the OT to say what is right and what is wrong.

    So it is a warning? But not only God does crazy stuff, like I said Lots daughters also did crazy stuff, how is that a warning? But I do get your point. Thanks for the reply.
    This is the reason why I have so much problems with people quoting the bible in order to say what is and what isn't allowed (for example Gay marriage).

    I am having a hard time believing the Christian god is compassioned and loving when I read the old testament (or look at the world today). And if this is indeed the case and we should ignore the old testament (which I agree with btw) why put in in the bible.

    Well I asked this forum so if there is a Jew who would answer this I would appreciate it. But since there is clearly such a difference between the OT god and the god Jesus talks about I wonder how Christians handle that. And I have gotten a couple of nice serious replies (more than you can expect in the D&D actually. But I like your passive aggressive tone.

    Thanks for the reply. But that second sentence is pretty scary don’t you think. Shedding the blood of the innocent is the only thing that allows for forgiveness?
     
  17. arno_ed

    arno_ed Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the post. I do get the logic in what you are saying.

    I am having a harder time thinking of God as truly just and compassioned when there are so many terrible diseases young children suffer and die from. But that is a topic for another thread.
     
  18. Space Ghost

    Space Ghost Contributing Member

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    Assuming one approaches God as omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscient, the inherent mistake is to approach it logically. Man simply does not understand this concept. By definition, sure. By concept, no. A clique example is "Can God create a rock so heavy that he can't lift?"
     
  19. txtony

    txtony Member

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    You know if you try to approach quantum mechanic logically, it breaks down and make no sense. We still try to understand it logically, because what else is there we can do but that.

    I can understand the same approach to God. But if there is a God, it perfectly make sense to me that I can never understand God.

    And it also thus, make much sense to me, that any Religion that claims 100% rightness on their God is taking the limited human view.

    I would even said, if God is everything, than I see no reason why all the goods and all the evils is not within God. The idea that God has to only be good and "on my side" is an attractive thing that is by its nature, a human viewpoint.
     
  20. dragician

    dragician Member

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    I had the same question when I read Exodus.

    Chapter 4:21

    God harden the heart of the Pharaoh so that Moses can do show off his power?
     

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