A common assertion among unbelievers that causes doubt is that they can’t connect God in the Old Testament to God in the New. In the Old Testament, they see God full of vengeance and wrath and God in the new as all love and mercy. Some see Christianity as illegitimate because they see it as Christianity piggybacking off Judaism making up their own God from those roots, and after all God is supposed to be the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8, Hebrews 1:12, Psalm 15:4, Malachi 3:6). Some Christians have explained this away by saying that humanity was under the Law in the OT and we are now under grace since the NT times. But is this backed by Scripture?
When first going through the Old Testament, it’s easy to see a genocidal, racist, hateful, dictator deity, especially when you are going through verses selectively and/or that’s what you’ve already been told to expect this behavior from God in this time. A closer look however will show this is not the case.
A good starting place here is the book of Psalms.
Psalm 21:3 For You meet him with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of pure gold upon his head.
Psalm 21:5 Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way.
Psalm 33:4 He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.
Psalm 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!
Psalm 13:5 But I have trusted in Your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation.
Psalm 25:10 All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, To such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.
Psalm 52:8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
Psalm 36:5 Your mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.
Psalm 25:6 Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old.
Psalm 36:7 How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.
Psalm 48:9 We have thought, O God, on Your lovingkindness, In the midst of Your temple.
Psalm 63:3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.
I know that may seem like a lot of verses, but that is but a mere fraction of the verses describing the love, mercy, and goodness of God in this one book of the Bible. Psalm 136 alone follows the mercy (love in some translations) of God from the time of creation to Israel’s captivity, and arrival in the Promised Land. Now to some that may be enough, but others may need more than just a few people describing God. To help cement the issue let’s analyze some of God’s actions themselves.
We’ll start from the very beginning in Genesis 1. God creates the universe in 6 days and rest on the 7th. In this alone we see goodness of God. He creates everything man needs for survival before ever creating Adam, the first human. We also see God set the example for humanity of the Sabbath, a day of rest (Exodus 20:10-11). Fast forward a tad to Genesis 3, Adam and Eve (the woman God made from Adam) sin against God by eating from the one tree, they were forbidden to eat from in Eden where God had placed them. God has told them the penalty of their disobedience, death, and when they hear God approach in the garden, they hide themselves. God seeks them out and not in a vengeful way. He made the first move in reconciliation not man. This is a theme throughout Scripture: God moves first.
John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me drawsthem, and I will raise them up at the last day.
1 John 4:10,19 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 19We love because he first loved us.
This theme plays out over and over, from the calling of the Patriarchs of Israel (Genesis 12,