Does the Old Testament reflect who God is?

Serious and MATURE conversations about Christianity
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Kesarahk
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Re: Does the Old Testament reflect who God is?

Postby Kesarahk » July 20th, 2017, 3:47 am

Done and done. :) I had to think hard about a couple of the posts but ultimately they fell into either "what would you do if your Christianity was challenged to this extent" OR "what is Christianity anyway."

If I goofed and missed one, holler.

split from this topic:
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=23138

Edit: fixed typo. X)
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Re: Does the Old Testament reflect who God is?

Postby Kesarahk » July 24th, 2017, 7:03 pm

So, I have a couple questions for you and your wife, so I can understand where you're coming from.

Sabalanor wrote:But the old testament talks about women being of less value than men.

...

Leviticus has a lot of examples.

...

There are others, but my wife was the one doing a lot of the reading and getting really discouraged by all this.


Have you or your wife looked into ancient Near East culture at all? That is the context for these writings. I've only managed to read one book on the subject, but it made a big difference in my understanding of the Bible. (Thursday night study has been enlightening too. Threshing floors, who knew...)

Sabalanor wrote:There seems to be a difference in value of women vs. men,


Does different treatment automatically mean different value, even in Western culture?

Sabalanor wrote:and no real clear way to rectify that in scripture easily if you believe that they are equal (which everyone should agree with).


Now, isn't that interesting? There are in fact cultures that most emphatically do not agree that they are equal.

I agree that they are equal. But why should everyone agree? Where does that idea come from? What do you think?
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NeoJabez
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Re: Does the Old Testament reflect who God is?

Postby NeoJabez » July 25th, 2017, 2:15 am

I'm still trying to figure out why churches should embrace LGBTTQQIAAP, LGBTQQIP2SAA, or LGBTIQCAPGNGFNBA, whatever the acronym is today. (Look it up, they can't even decide among themselves.)

Increasingly, I think that that group of people is trying to get everyone around them to accept them for their sexual limits and identities, and less for WHO THEY ARE. If a person is defined by their sexual proclivities or by their identifying as a possum, I think they need to talk about that with someone behind closed doors, not on the nightly news from under a protest sign. I don't have an unreasonable, clinical fear (phobia) of homosexuals, but I get really tired about hearing them equating their struggle to that of, say, the Civil Rights Movement, and then calling everyone who doesn't agree with them bigots. That's simply going too far.

It's not bigoted if you happen to focus on some other hot button issue instead, like many people I know. I know someone who fights tooth and nail to defeat sex trafficking and human trafficking, modern day slavery, as it were.

So, yes...churches can be more loving to such people, but we don't have to do it at Gay Pride parades with our children. We should seek to do it in our every day lives, and in our every day relationships. No, not facebook...Up close and personal, without a device between us.

Having said all of that, and shifting gears slightly, I'd really like to point out that GENDER ROLES do not devalue or otherwise upset the equality of men and women. This is one of the biggest arguments people have about inequality of the sexes. Equality doesn't mean sameness. Different roles don't decrease our value as people.

In Genesis, it says that God created Eve from the rib of Adam. Not from his head, or feet, or anywhere else. From his side...To stand by his side...equal...What do your ribs do, by the way? They are close to your heart and other vital organs, and protect them.

Galatians 3:28–29 says: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

You have to understand that there are places in the Old Testament where these 'rules' you mention that seem demeaning to women might actually be there for another reason entirely.

Check this out, from gotquestions.org:

GotQuestions.org wrote:Some argue that the Bible does not, in fact, teach gender equality. In particular, several Old Testament passages regarding the treatment of women are disconcerting to modern ears. For example, Deuteronomy 22:28–29 and Exodus 22:16–17 seem to command that a victim of rape marry her attacker. But the reality of those verses is a bit more complex. These laws stipulate that a man who had sex with a single woman, essentially negating her opportunity for marriage, must pay the appropriate bride price and marry her. He was not permitted to ever divorce her, despite whatever legal allowances for divorce were found in other laws (Deuteronomy 24:1–4). Note also that the woman was not forced to marry the man; her father could refuse to give her in marriage, but the man would still pay the bride price. These laws were meant to punish the man who violated a virgin and to protect the woman from further exploitation.

Many of the laws in the Old Testament regarding the treatment of women had to do with protection of women living in a society in which they did not have as many rights or opportunities as men. Because societies are made up of people who sin, many social laws have to do with mitigating evil. The laws on divorce are an excellent example. In Matthew 19 Jesus explains to the Pharisees that God did not command divorce, but rather it was permitted “because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning” (Matthew 19:8). Similarly, the Old Testament laws that seem to suggest a lesser status for women are better understood as legal provisions in a society in which women were already treated as lesser. It is not God who sees women and men as unequal in value, but humans who choose to mistreat one another.


I understand how a casual read of the Bible can lead one to believe that women are relegated to a lesser position than men, I can understand how a casual reading of the Bible could lead one to believe that certain acts of charity and support in the New Testament might be misconstrued as "socialist"...But if you really, truly get down to the nitty-gritty research, study, and learn the context of the times when the Bible was written, sometimes new truths emerge.

I, personally, would not be who I am if not for being raised by a FAMILY of strong women. Women who made it clear they loved you, even when they ruled you with an iron fist. Women who stood next to their husbands all of their lives, until death parted them, living as examples of true partnership.

Honestly, the only men I've seen who truly devalue women are from the latest generation of youth. Guys who think women want to see photos of their genitals, or guys who think that making jokes appealing to the lowest common denominator will win them a date. Guys who tell everyone they think a woman's place is in the kitchen, making them a sandwich. These guys are not worthy of a helper, they need a therapist. (OR JESUS!)

Yeah, I've heard those sorts of jokes before this latest generation, when I was growing up, but only from guys who didn't have wives, who were always single. Guys who never understood the real dynamics of being a part of something bigger, something powered by love and respect, something that could stand the test of time, with God's Blessing.

And on the socialism topic...I'm trying very hard to stay away from that. If you are relatively young, and you honestly believe that democratic socialism is a new and exciting spin on old socialism, good for you. I expect I probably can't sway you from that position easily, and would only make myself look stupid, irascible, or inflexible by trying. But I will say that what you deem socialism is not and has not EVER been practiced in the Bible, in Heaven, or anywhere else. I hear there are some prominent National Socialists hanging out in Hell, though.
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Re: Does the Old Testament reflect who God is?

Postby Michael Fedora » July 25th, 2017, 10:28 am

I'm going to +1 Kesa here. Context is always important.

I want to say the biggest thing to consider, in everything, is who God is. If every time you read scripture that is challenging to consume, and it feeds doubt, that is kind of a big problem! It goes along the lines that we can "know" his thoughts and ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), and that we can judge them as "good" or "bad".

You have to come to an understanding that God is good. Not that "whatever he does is good because he decides to do it", or that there is some standard that God himself has to live up to; God cannot be evil, or bad, or unfair, or unjust, or unloving. It is impossible for him. And when we have that perspective, verses like this, instead of inspiring doubt, are simply a challenge to figure out why God did this, and as we seek the answers to those challenges we learn more and more about God's character (in a more concrete way -- it is one thing to "know" something, to have head knowledge of it; it is another to see it in work, especially in places where it seems controversial).

Though what I'm saying might seem "cultish" and "illogical" to the outsider, all logic has givens - if you cannot accept God as incontrovertibly good, then I suggest you reconsider why you are a Christian in the first place. This faith is not something that is "subscribed" to - it is a re-inventing of your life, by humbling your self at the foot of the cross and following the way as taught by the Son and as revealed by His Spirit through the Word. Not by what we deduce with our own biases, or what we like, or what "seems" good to us.

If that last paragraph came off as harsh and not understanding to your situation then take it with a grain of salt - it was more to a general populace :wink:.
Arca Jeth (SW Legends) wrote:"The enemy has found me, Ulic, but the enemy knows only darkness. I know something that enemy does not… I know the Light."
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Re: Does the Old Testament reflect who God is?

Postby NeoJabez » July 25th, 2017, 2:24 pm

Very well said, Mike Fed.
If serving is below you, leadership is beyond you. - Anonymous

Coram Deo, Soli Deo Gloria

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