“The Lord is a man of war; Yahweh is his name.“ – Exodus 15.3.
Yahweh was a man, no doubt looking remarkably like the bearded sage asking us to worship him.
If we believe the Bible, he has body parts: eyes and a face (‘they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity hid from mine eyes’ – Jeremiah 16.17); nose and a mouth (Psalms 18.8); lips, tongue and breath (Isaiah 30.27,33); loins (Ezekiel 1.27); even ‘back parts’ (Exodus 33.23). He also has several ‘human’ emotions, manly appetites, and a worrying disposition towards pathological violence.
Yahweh feels regret for his own evil (‘And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.’ - Jonah 3.10); and grief (at the wickedness of men) (‘and it grieved him at his heart’ - (Genesis 6.6). He actually gets down andwrestles with Jacob, dislocating his thigh (Genesis 32.24). He forgets (he goes on calling Jacob ‘Jacob’ even after re-naming him ‘Israel’ - Genesis 35.10, 46.2). He practises favouritism (choosing the Israelites ‘above all people’ - Exodus 19.5; but he just does not like Cain or Esau!). He holds grudges (‘I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation’ – Exodus 20.5).
For an omniscient god he is surprisingly unknowing (‘They have set up kings, but not by me; they have made princes, and I knew it not.’ – Hosea 8.4). And for an omnipotent god he has his limitations (‘The Lord was with Judah; and he drove out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had chariots of iron.’ - Judges 1.19).
And after his creation of the world, he even has to rest from his labour (‘And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work’ - Genesis 2.2) – to the endless bemusement of pagan critics, whose own gods didn’t need to rest!
I just don’t understand. There are supposed Biblical scholars who take every word of the Bible literally who claim that God is perfect, omniscient, all-powerful, all-loving, etcetera. And yet there are clear, unambiguous statements in this book that demonstrate beyond all possible doubt that he is not. This isn’t really a matter for interpretation. IT’S RIGHT THERE!
The only way I can even begin to make sense of it is with the Orwellian concept of double-think; the ability to hold two contradictory thoughts in the mind at the same time.
I really don’t find the book frightening…it’s just a 2000 year old book and is about as flawed as one might expect for a book written by the average literate person of the day. But the people of today who look at it and see miracles…I just don’t get it. :/