God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist?
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God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist?

InterVarsity Press / 2011 / Paperback

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God has a bad reputation. Many think of God as wrathful and angry, smiting people right and left for no apparent reason. The Old Testament in particular seems at times to portray God as capricious and malevolent, wiping out armies and nations, punishing enemies with extreme prejudice. But wait. The story is more complicated than that. Alongside troubling passages of God's punishment and judgment are pictures of God's love, forgiveness, goodness and slowness to anger. How do we make sense of the seeming contradiction? Can God be trusted or not?

In God Behaving Badly David Lamb unpacks the complexity of the Old Testament to explore the character of God. He provides historical and cultural background to shed light on problematic passages and to bring underlying themes to the fore. Without minimizing the sometimes harsh realities of the biblical record, Lamb assembles an overall portrait that gives coherence to our understanding of God in both the Old and New Testaments.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 192
Vendor: InterVarsity Press
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 8.25 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 0830838260
ISBN-13: 9780830838264

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Publisher's Description

God has a bad reputation. Many think of God as wrathful and angry, smiting people right and left for no apparent reason. The Old Testament in particular seems at times to portray God as capricious and malevolent, wiping out armies and nations, punishing enemies with extreme prejudice. But wait. The story is more complicated than that. Alongside troubling passages of God's punishment and judgment are pictures of God's love, forgiveness, goodness and slowness to anger. How do we make sense of the seeming contradiction? Can God be trusted or not? David Lamb unpacks the complexity of the Old Testament to explore the character of God. He provides historical and cultural background to shed light on problematic passages and to bring underlying themes to the fore. Without minimizing the sometimes harsh realities of the biblical record, Lamb assembles an overall portrait that gives coherence to our understanding of God in both the Old and New Testaments.

Author Bio

David T. Lamb (D.Phil., Oxford) is associate professor of Old Testament at Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania. He previously worked in campus ministry with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and has taught extensively in various crosscultural contexts. He is the author of (Oxford).

Publisher's Weekly

In this welcome analysis of what he calls the "bad reputation" of Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, biblical scholar Lamb (Righteous Jehu and His Evil Heirs) confronts head-on scriptural passages from which readers have drawn negative conclusions about Yahweh's nature. Addressing arguments and examples that buttress atheists' "anti-God sentiment" and prompt Christians to distinguish between Yahweh and the New Testament's Jesus, Lamb wrestles with texts that portray Yahweh as arbitrary and violent. He examines their literary, biblical, and cultural contexts, and explores ways that contradictory images "can be faithfully reconciled without downplaying the tensions." Thoughtfully explicating troubling passages, such as Yahweh smiting Uzzah for touching the Ark or Lot offering his daughters to be raped, Lamb cites cross-cultural comparisons and offers analogies (for example, he equates the Ark's danger potential with plutonium, necessitating rules for handling). While emphasizing the overarching witness of the Bible that God is "slow to anger," Lamb encourages readers to probe disturbing passages with an open mind, read feminist theologians, and engage in prayerful conversation. Some analyses prove more compelling than others; nevertheless, this book will challenge, comfort, and provoke reflection. (June) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.

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