Genesis 15.7-16 – The God who is less than fluffy.
Posted: 22 September 2010 in Genesis

And he said unto him [Abram], I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it. And he said, LORD God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. And when the fowls came down upon the carcases, Abram drove them away. And when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and, lo, an horror of great darkness fell upon him. And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.

The God of the Bible is clearly not the God of so much liberal theology. The God of the Bible is the one who promises Abraham that his descendants will spend four hundred years as slaves in Egypt. This is the same Abraham, be it remembered, who is elsewhere described as God’s friend. The God of liberal theology, on the other hand, is the God whose sole concern is to make our lives as trouble free as possible. The God of liberal theology is likewise the one who is exclusively the God of love, never the God of wrath, and who promises universal salvation. The God of the Bible, on the other hand, is the one who tells his disciples that few will find salvation:

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it (Matt 7.13.14).

Belief in such a God leads straight into the “problem of theodicy”. The attraction of believing in a God whose concerns and motivations are exactly our concerns and motivations, is obvious enough. The problem with it is that it has little enough scriptural warrant. It is difficult to see how a theology, which ignores what the Bible has to say for itself whenever what it says for itself is found to be unpalatable, can reasonably be described as legitimate. It might be thought that the reintroduction of some objectivity into theology is long overdue.

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