I myself struggled with this question for a long time, being the son of a minister. I had a hard time, because my family called themselves Christians,
yet they IMO did not act at all Christ like. They came across to me, as OT Christians. Judging everyone, full of anger, vengence etc.. So I tried to
figure out why there was a difference in beliefs comming from the same Bible. When I looked at the big picture, I determined that there definately are
OT Christians, and NT Christians. I was even able to see that Republicans tended to be OT Christians, and Democrats tended to be NT Christians. Just
look at the political parties platforms, and it is mirrored in them. Democrats are for social programs, or helping the less fortunate. Republicans
preach self reliance and accountability etc.. So I wanted to figure out why it is that way.
So I started to study what you are describing here. If you look at the God portrayed in the OT, like you stated, he is a God of vengence, judgement
etc.. It is shown all through the OT. Adam and Eve kicked out of Eden, the flood of Noah, the Tower of Bable, the Isrealites wandering through the
desert for 40 years, etc. etc. etc.. Then I looked at the NT after Jesus's arrival on the scene. As also has been stated, it was a 180 degree shift
in my mind from what was being taught in the OT. Things like love your enemy as yourself, turning the other cheek etc. etc. etc.. So I was at the same
point you are at now, trying to reconcile these distinct differences and why they exist.
The conclusion that I came to for myself was this. I tried to put myself in God's shoes, and understand what he must have felt at the time etc..
Imagine yourself being a father or mother if you aren't already. If you love your son or daughter very much, you tend to want the best for them. It
also pains you very much to see them going through trials and tribulation. I am sure after God created Adam and Eve, that he was very disappointed in
their disobedience of his guidance in the Garden of Eden. If it were me, I would be very upset with my creation as well. I created them, I know what
is best for them, yet they want to ignore my guidance. So he booted them from the garden, and basically said fine, you don't want to listen to me?
Then you can figure all of this out on your own, without my guidance.
The story as I stated before continues all throughout the OT. God commanding man to adhere to certain rules and guidlines, and man continually
ignoring God and his will for man. So he passes judgement for their disobedience, through the great flood, etc.. Many people may disagree with what I
am about to say, but I found the false statements being taught by many OT Christians about their faith. I.E. God is all knowing, God is perfect, and
doesn't make mistakes etc.. Why do I say this, which I know is a bold statement? I read the story about Moses being on top of the mountain, while the
Isrealites were wandering the desert. Moses while on the mountain was given the 10 commandments for the children of Isreal to follow.
After receiving the 10 commandments, Moses went back down the mountain to deliver God's commandments to the Isrealites. When he got back down the
mountain, Moses found that the Isrealites in his absence, had created a golden idol and were worshiping it, and other things not of God. As you can
imagine God wasn't very pleased with this turn of events. When Moses went back up the mountain to talk with God, God was pissed to say the least. God
wanted to destroy all of the Isrealites for their disobedience of him. That's when Moses stepped in, and actually confronted God's decision. Moses
told God, you can't destroy the Isrealites. You made a promise to them, that if they followed you out of their captivity, that you would lead them to
the Holy land. If you destroy them now in this desert, who will follow you then? Basically saying that if you break the promise to the Isrealites, who
will ever trust your promises in the future?
God listened to what Moses was saying to him, and in the end he didn't destroy the Isrealites in the desert. In essence, God changed his mind because
of a mans intervention. So here's a question for you all. How is it that God is "all knowing" if this actually took place? Wouldn't God have known
that the Isrealites were sinning, while Moses was carving the 10 commandments into stone? Why wasn't he mad then, why continue to have the 10
commandments carved out of stone, if God knew they were only going to be destroyed by Moses, when he saw what the Isrealites were doing, when he came
back down from the mountain? Also if God is perfect an doesn't make mistakes or mis-judgements, why did Moses have to talk sense into God, and show
him the error in his decision?
After reading this, I started to realize the teachings that were being taught in the church that weren't exactly acurate. So over time I came to a
conclusion. To be honest, it came from, for the lack of a better term, a near death experience that I experienced. Durring this experience, I realized
the limitations of the spiritual world. What do I mean by this? When you are in the spirit world, you are able to know everything. But "everything"
is limited to that that is. You can not know what hasn't taken place. You can not know what has not already existed. You know what is, and anything
that is, is derived from what has already taken place. For those that have experienced the Universal Mind, you will probably understand what I mean by
In the spirit world you are able to see all. The limitation of the spirit world though, is that there is no physical. You can wish, and hope, and
pray, and alot of thinking. But without the physical body, you can't DO anything. It is a very emotional existance, with no means of doing anything
about anything. Can you imagine being God, and not being able to force your will upon your own creation, when you know it is in their best interests?
I'm not saying God has no recourse at all. He does have control over the air, water etc., like what we humans call Mother Nature. But that control is
limited. It is like trying to paint a portrait with 6 inch brushes.
Now imagine, not being able to control your own creation. All you can do is see the error in their ways, but you can't force the correction to make
everything right. So the conclusion I came to, was that God wasn't able to truely understand man, and why they were doing what they were. You only
know what you know, and everything you know is through your experiences, or watching others experiences and learning from them. My opinion is that
after all of the trials and tribulations of trying to force man to do Gods will, God probably realized that to truely understand man, he had to become
man. That is when Jesus entered the scene. Jesus was a part of God in human form. Through Jesus and his experiences on Earth, God was able to
understand man and his ways. When Jesus was on the cross, Jesus was still relaying this information to God, so that he could understand. God was mad
when they were in the process of killing his own son. Jesus told God "forgive them for they know not what they do". Jesus understood the problems of
man, and through his understanding, God was able to understand as well.
IMO that is why there is the 180 degree shift in the nature of God in the OT, to the God of the NT. They are both the same God. God changes and
evolves in his understanding, just as man does through his life. If he didn't change and evolve in his understanding, he would have never listened to
Moses on the mountain, when Moses told God that he couldn't destroy the Isrealites in the desert. He would have just destroyed Moses right then and
there, for having the nerve to question him and his decisions. Isn't that how he delt with man all through the OT? He was growing in his
understanding of man, and it continued through Jesus.
The question that you have posed in this thread, is also IMO the biggest problem facing man today. We have fundamentalist Muslims, Christians, Jews,
etc.. Fundamentalists tend to follow the OT. The Jewish people follow the first five books of the Bible, the Muslims also follow the first five books.
It explains why Jews are more OT in their views of life, and how it is to be lived. Fundamentalist Christians also are this way, following the
teachings of the OT with little reguard for the teachings of Christ in the NT. It is the difference in these teachings from OT to NT, that is causing
all of the strife in the world today. Democrats can't understand why the Republicans are so "cold hearted", and don't appear to have any
compassion for their common man. The Republicans can't understand why the Democrats are "girly men", or "bleeding heart liberals". It's because
the two sides are adhering to different teachings in the same Bible.
Fundamentalists, are the terrorists trying to adhere to the strict teachings of the OT. How women are to be subservant to man etc.. They are also the
Evangelists teaching their hatred of gays, etc.. What's kind of ironic about it, is the Evangelicals in the US etc., say the the Fundamentalist
Muslims are living in the dark ages and need to catch up with the times etc.. When they themselves are the same to NT Christians following the
teachings of Christ. They all wonder, why don't the Evangelicals follow Christs teachings? Why are they teaching their hate of everyone that doesn't
agree with them, which goes against all of Christ's teachings. They feel that the Evangelicals are living in the dark ages spiritually as well. It is
even reflected in Conservative view points, and Progressive view points. If everyone would "catch up with the times", and follow the teachings of
Christ, Mohammed, Buddha etc., the world would be a much more loving, and compasionate place to live. Like U2 says in their song, they are "stuck in
a moment, and can't get out of it". IMO they have failed to progress and evolve, as God has obviously done throughout time. I am so greatful for the
compassion God has given man throughout this process, for which he never had to do. I am glad God evolved into a God of love, compassion, kindness,
goodness etc.. It is our only saving grace.
If this rings true for you, own it for yourself. If it doesn't, I hope that you find your own path, as it is in all of our best interests.
Peace to you all,