“…he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” (Jn. 14:9)
Skeptics and critics of the Bible attempt to separate the God of the Old Testament from the God of the New Testament, using the strategy of divide-and-conquer.
In attempting to impugn the character of Jehovah, for example, by citing the God-directed military tactic of the complete destruction of certain groups of peoples and cultures during the Israelite conquest of Canaan…one indirect, by-product casualty of this critical interpretation…is the undermining of the moral authority of the biblical narrative stories of faith in the Old Testament.
I find this particular line-of-argument in biblical criticism to be short-sighted historically, and simplistic in its naïve appraisal of human nature. As such, it distorts the real truth about God.
Looking backward in history as recently as World War II, few people I think would critically question the military tactic of the Allied forces—British and American—of conducting day and night aerial bombing of the major cities of Germany toward the end of the war…indiscriminately killing hundreds of thousands of civilians…in a concerted effort to bring the conflict to an end.
If sympathy and compassion for civilians tempered and scaled-back this aerial bombing campaign…adding possibly 6 to 12 months to the duration of the war…allowing Hitler to perfect an atomic bomb, destroy the cities of London and Moscow, and change the outcome of the war…the verdict of history now in hindsight would be most severe.
One particular episode in the Victory At Sea documentaries chronicling WWII shows scores of stranded Japanese sailors floating in the Pacific Ocean, shipwrecked following a major naval battle, fanatically refusing to be rescued by an American ship. Elsewhere in these documentaries, as Allied forces moved north up the chain of South Pacific islands toward Japan, defeated Japanese soldiers left behind and stranded on these islands…refused to peaceably surrender.
Is it reasonable, out of a misdirected sense of humanity, to ask American, Australian, and New Zealand soldiers to risk their own lives to “rescue” fanatical Japanese soldiers who refused to lay down their guns and surrender?
The correct tactical military calculation was made at the time to leave tens of thousands of Japanese soldiers behind to die of starvation and disease on these isolated Pacific islands…rather than to expend thousands of Allied soldier’s lives and to tie-up needed resources in a costly effort to “forcibly” get these enemy soldiers to surrender.
The evil of fascist domination of the world…originating from spiritual darkness…was totally expiated by the overwhelming defeat of World War II Germany and Japan.
Both Germany and Japan today are strong allies of the free-world. But would a remnant of undefeated Nazi Germany and Imperialist Japanese regimes…still in existence up to our present day…be allies for political and economic peace and security for the free-world…given their initial worldviews of domination and oppression of freedom?
The history altering conflict of WWII was fought over restoring and maintaining the essential free-world principles we value and cherish.
I understand the bias of unbelief that does not think the God of the Old Testament exists. That cynical bias is expected.
It is the weakness of this particular argument railed against the God of the Old Testament that is surprising…given the clarity of the very recent global struggle of WWII in terms of moral absolutes…to thoroughly and decisively rid the planet of the threat of tyrannical fascism…a struggle my own father participated in as a B-17 crew member of the American 8th Air Force…flying bombing missions over Germany, stationed out of England.
If we value our way of life…as opposed to dictatorial fascism…to the point of justifying the massive aerial bombing of civilian cities in Germany to avoid the unimaginable evil of Adolph Hitler possessing and using atomic bombs to perpetuate his regime of terror from 1945 onward in time…due to not diligently prosecuting the Allied war effort to the fullest extent…would it be unreasonable to allow the morally and culturally advanced Israelites and their armies the same benefit-of-the-doubt in prosecuting their war effort to the fullest extent in Canaan…to continue their way of life?
This ancient strategy of cultural survival in the Old Testament…finds an exact parallel in recent modern history.
Bible skeptics and critics blithely assume that the Canaanite folks were all reasonably good and kind fellows posing no threat to the existence and survival of the monotheistic culture of the newly forming nation of Israel…approximately 3,200 to 3,400 years ago…with its beautiful Mosaic system of laws.
In our current culture of postmodern relativism regarding truth, World War II argues contrarily that being in the right means something…that there is such a thing as goodness in this world and that it is worth fighting for…to borrow a line spoken by Samwise from the movie series The Lord of the Rings.
Why is this line of discussion important to Christians?
If journeys of faith are indeed factually supernatural creations of God first inaugurated through Abraham (Gen. 12:3), then the last thing that “spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12) wants is for people to enter into their predestined, God-composed journey of faith life-scripts…as the divinely crafted, functional vehicle leading to the discovery of the all-truth of John 16:13 and the liberated freedom of John 8:36.
If the false notion that Jehovah in the Old Testament is not of the same high moral caliber as Jesus in the New Testament…as a result of biblical interpretation biased by radically skeptical unbelief…this notion will permeate our culture and seep its way into the Christian church…undermining the value and worth of the narrative stories of faith in the Old Testament as powerful examples for stepping out into God-led adventures of faith today.