Did God Change?

I just finished reading the entire bible for the first time. And some things unsettled me.

For one, it seems like the god of the Old Testament has harsh rules and punishments, but the New Testament says we are forgiven if our hearts are in the right place.

So my first thought was, how could this be the same God?

But as I wrestled with this I realized, maybe God IS the same. And he just changes the way he interacts with us because just like any son or daughter, humanity needs to be treated differently as it grows into adulthood.

What I mean is that maybe when cultures were young strict rules and punishments were what God used to plant respect, self control, and good habits into us that would help us grow strong and survive into maturity. And around the time Jesus appeared we had become mature and aware enough to understand that corruption erodes nations, integrity makes great men and women, and certain things make our bodies thrive. And we were able to see that God had held punishments blindly over our heads because there was no way for us to know that’s what would help us become what he knew we could be.

And so here we are. The 21st century. He has helped make humanity into a broad, powerful presence, wise and aware. Despite many mistakes, and whether for bad or for good, we have approached the knowledge of God- Enough so that He says you are ready to be my friends if your hearts are inclined to love me back.

So now we have a decision to make. We can respect the centuries of his careful discipline, and walk at his side as he promises to make us into a whole new type of being, fit for a whole new type of world that he’s made for us.

Or we can take everything we’ve learned, and everything we’ve been given, and go against his teachings. . . Like a son or daughter has the freedom to do when they turn 18. And we can keep doing it our own way, i suppose, until we eventually die and the world grows cold.

Thoughts?

August 1, 2013

9 Responses to Did God Change?

  1. Ali Fraze says:

    That’s a cool perspective, Ross. Makes me think for sure. Hey, I love the new color on your header art! And I just realized all the “Ross-isms” throughout the illustration. Makes me smile. :)

  2. Doug Boone says:

    The difference in the Old Testament was that God tried to help man with rules but that man could not fundamentally change because he was still burdened by sin. That all change in the New Testament because we are now transformed and not under the cover of sin. We are changed by the Holy Spirit and now we can see and experience God’s direction in a very different way. Jesus showed us that new way. So our relationship with our Heavenly Father has changed and how we experience Him has changed big time.

  3. Michaias says:

    I’m a random visitor, but I have an idea here. I’ll quote Alexandre Christoyannopoulos: “That is the sense in which Jesus ‘fulfils’ the law: he radically reinterprets it according to its original intentions.”

    Basically, the intention of the “eye for an eye” law, for example, was to place a limit upon revenge. It was intended to reduce violence from unlimited vengeance down to an equitable exchange. Jesus, then “fulfilled” the law by taking that intention even further, by not only limiting, but by eliminating violence altogether.

    • raw spoon says:

      I love it, Michaias! I think all these ideas so far wrap up neatly together. He teaches us the ‘why’ behind the old ethic so we can take it to its intended end. And we do so now with the help of the Holy Spirit. Thanks!

  4. Ryan says:

    Why is it so crazy to think that God has grown as a god? Perhaps in the same way we grow as parents to our children, he has grown into a bigger, more compassionate, more patient, loving god. He was getting pretty angry with us by before the end of Genesis … I find myself getting frustrated at my newborn, but each day brings me a new sense of patience and love, especially as his awareness and response to me becomes more acute.

    • raw spoon says:

      Yeah! Totally! I wonder if he grows in the same way like we see different sides of us coming out when new people come into our lives in new situations. And it’s cool seeing his compassion well up and overcome his anger.
      Yeah, i wonder if he does change in some way.
      He can still be the same yesterday today and tomorrow in his character, but maybe different sides of him come out as subjects with free will interact with him. Or something like that. Either way, it seems possible that we as a hanging human race need to be treated in different ways. Just like a parent realizes each kid needs a slightly different type of interaction.