Quotes to Chew On: Conflicting Depictions of God

benefit-of-the-doubt1“This is something like the way I believe we should respond when we encounter biblical narratives that depict God doing things we can’t imagine Christ doing. For example, I can’t for a moment imagine Jesus—the one who made refusing violence and loving enemies a condition for being considered a child of God—commanding anyone to mercilessly slaughter anyone, let alone an entire population that included women and infants. And yet, Yahweh is depicted as doing this very thing in a book that Jesus himself considered inspired, and thus a book that I, out of obedience to him, feel compelled to regard as inspired.”

“I submit it would be unfaithful to Christ and the relationship he has forged with us on the cross to allow this or any other narrative to call into question the loving character of God that he reveals. So too, it would be unfaithful for us to invest this or any similar narrative with the same authority we invest in Christ and to thereby conclude that Jesus only reveals part of God—as though there is a merciless violent streak in God that remains hidden behind the cross.”

“A more faithful response, I believe, is to instead assume that there must have been things going on behind the scenes that we are not privy to. And until we can ask him face to face, the faithful thing to do is to try and imagine what this “something else” might have been.”

Boyd, Gregory, Benefit of the Doubt: Breaking the Idol of Certainty, p.192, Baker, 2013

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