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.
August 1, 2013