So this is what I have been reading about the most lately. When I get something in my head.. A question or somthing.. that is what I will study.. and lately it has been the differences between the God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament. Let's face it...they are really freaking different. The OT God is violent and vengeful and hateful and the NT God is loving and full of forgiveness.
In my reading I have found that there are two explanations for this.. One.. is from "Mainstream" Christianity claims that they are the the same God. And gives many "excuses" for why they are so different. To me.. that is all they are.. excuses. No one knows for sure. Everyone has their opinions. But to me.. it sounds like they are grasping at straws.
The other explanation is from "Gnostic" Christianity. They believe that the reason they are so different is because they are two completely different beings.
Here is some of what I have been reading..
The Mainstram Excuses..
Why is God so different in both testaments?
You see the Old Testament is filled with occurrences of God’s judgment upon sinners - the plagues of Egypt, Sodom and Gomorrah, King Nebuchadnezzar, David’s adultery with Bathsheba, and the list goes on. In fact if you start reading through the first five books of the Bible, you might get the impression that God is very strict, impatient, angry and wrathful. The New Testament can give the impression that God is a God of love and grace. So which is true? Is God a God of judgment and wrath or a God of love and grace? Actually He’s both.
Another thing to remember is that in the Old Testament, God’s chosen people were under the law. Now we live under grace meaning that all mankind’s sins have been paid for once and for all by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. No longer do we have to make our own atonement for sin as they did in the Old Testament because it has already been done for us.
So it is not necessarily a situation where God is uptight in the Old Testament and is now laid back in the New Testament. In fact if you read through the Book of Revelation, you will see more of God’s wrath poured out upon unrepentant sinners than anywhere in the Old Testament. So remember, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Old and New Testaments represent different times in history as well as different covenants between God and man, and yet they both show not only God’s judgment and wrath but His grace and love as well.
As far as the command of God that the Israelites kill the nations in the promised land, there is much we do not know. We know that they were evil nations (Leviticus 18:1-25). we know that this is why God allowed and commanded the Israelites to destroy them. But what we do not know is what God had done to try to get them to repent before. I think it is an unwarranted assumption to conclude that God did nothing to bring them to repentance. Remember God does not change (Malachi 3:6). He is presently longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). If he is longsuffering now, he was always longsuffering. Just because we do not know how God dealt with those nations doesn't mean he never dealt with them.
The difference seems so striking that many Christians (and countless non-Christians) generally think about the God described in the Old Testament and the God (Jesus) described in the New Testament as being two entirely separate Beings. But They weren't! God (the Father) and Jesus are simply different presentations of the very same One God. Later Christians (around 300 AD) developed the concept of the Trinity (One God Who appears as though having Three Personalities) in order to find agreement in these issues. Within that concept, God (the Father) and God (Jesus) are Two of the Three Individuals who make up the Trinity (with God, the Holy Spirit, being the Third).
How can we then reconcile God's apparent anger and harshness in the Old Testament and Jesus' Gentleness in the New Testament?
I think an answer might be in the types of people that He was dealing with at the time. During ancient times in the Old Testament, about the only thing that got people's attention was raw power. The most powerful warrior would conquer territories and become King. When a more powerful person came along, that King was killed and the new person became King. Authority was almost synonymous with power.
Given such a prevailing attitude, it makes sense that God didn't actually change. He simply presented a different view of Himself. He presented a spectacular Creation in Genesis, and He regularly "smote" whole armies in an instant to permit victory for His favored Tribes.
Consider a human father who finds the need to reprimand a young child. He might easily attempt to seem extremely harsh and powerful, in order to get necessary lessons across.
By the time that Jesus Walked on Earth, men's attitudes had advanced (a little).
Now for the Gnostic Point of view..
Marcion , c.85-c.160, early Christian bishop, founder of the Marcionites, one of the first great Christian heresies to rival Catholic Christianity. He was born in Sinope. He taught in Asia Minor, then went (c.135) to Rome, where he perfected his theory. In 144 he was excommunicated from the church. He then formed a church of his own, which became widespread and powerful. Marcion taught that there were two gods, proclaiming that the stern, lawgiving, creator God of the Old Testament, and the good, merciful God of the New Testament were different. He considered the creator god the inferior of the two. Marcion also rejected the real incarnation of Christ, claiming that he was a manifestation of the Father. Though generally seen as one of the most important leaders of the somewhat loosely defined movement known as Gnosticism, he did not share some of the main premises of other Gnostic sects. He believed in salvation by faith rather than by gnosis; he rejected the Gnostic emanation theory; and he sought truth in his own truncated version of the New Testament, which included only 10 of the so-called Pauline Epistles and an edited version of St. Luke. He completely rejected the Old Testament. He explained in his Antitheses that since Jewish law was often opposed to St. Paul, all passages in the Bible that suggested the Jewish foundation of Christianity should be suppressed, even including such statements by St. Paul (see antinomianism ). Marcionism emphasized asceticism and influenced the developments of Manichaeism , by which it was later absorbed. Its effect on orthodox Christianity was to cause a canonical New Testament to be assembled and promulgated and the fulfillment of the Old Law in the New Law to be clearly enounced
Mainstream Pauline Christianity has a problem with The Bible. The Old Testament is completely different to the New Testament. The God of the Old Testament is murderous, demanding, jealous, vocal, interfering and debates with it's people. The God of the New Testament, however, appears largely removed, is highly spiritual, peaceful and reasoned. Hundreds of Christian books have debated what the causes are of this difference.
Christian Marcionites resolved the difference thusly: They believed in 2 Gods. The God of the Old Testament was actually a different God to the (better) God of the New Testament.
"As we have seen, Paul claimed that a person is made right with God by faith in Christ, not by doing the works of the Law. This distinction became fundamental to Marcion, and he made it absolute. The gospel is the good news of deliverance; it involves love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, reconciliation, redemption and life. The Law, however, is the bad news that makes the gospel necessary in the first place; it involves harsh commandments, guilt, judgement, enmity, punishment, and death. [...]
How could the same God be responsible for both? Or put in other terms: How could the wrathful, vengeful God of the Jews be the loving, merciful God of Jesus? Marcion maintained that these attributes could not belong to one God. [...]
The God of the Old Testament [...] was not evil, but he was rigorously just. He had laws and inflicted penalties on those who did not keep them. But this necessarily made him a wrathful God, since no one kept all of his laws perfectly. Everyone had to pay the price for their transgressions, and the penalty for transgression was death. [...] "
Bart Ehrman, "Lost Christianities", p104-105
This situation, with the God of the Old Testament being involved with the world and laying down laws, would change when the other God, who had so far not been involved, took pity on mankind and decided to try to save us.
The Salvation Given by Jesus
"The God of Jesus came into this world in order to save people from the vengeful God of the Jews. [...] He paid the penalty for other people's sins, to save them from the just wrath of the Old Testament God."
Bart Ehrman, "Lost Christianities", p105
Early Christians had many opinions on the nature of Christ. Marcion's was that Christ was an appearance of a Human, in order to trick the Old Testament God. Only another God could obey the OT laws perfectly, and only a person who followed them perfectly and then sacrificed himself could end the rule of the Old God. So the God of Jesus, the NT God, appeared on Earth pretending to be a Human. The Good News was spread that Jesus had indeed come and made himself the perfect sacrifice. The power of the OT God was reduced, and now began the age of pisces, the NT God.
Paul wrote that Jesus did indeed only come 'in the likeness of flesh' (Rom.8:3), and by having faith in Jesus you escaped the wrath of the OT God. Jesus said that a tree is known by its fruit (see Luke 6:43-44): "Good trees do not produce rotten fruit, and rotten trees do not produce good fruit". Marcion realized that this applies to the OT: The Old Testament God, who says that he "creates evil" (OT Amos. 3:6), cannot have produced the New Testament. To say otherwise is to ignore the words of Jesus and Paul.
In Pauline Christianity, the reasons for the crucifixion of Jesus are a little vague and confusing. If the Old Testament God was the same as the New, and it wanted to save more people, then it could merely have chosen to do so. There was no need for an 'ultimate sacrifice'. Being the supreme God, it could save whoever it wants, whether or not Jesus came to Earth and died on the cross. Marcionite Christianity did not have this problem; there was a clear reason why Jesus died: To trick the OT God out of it's power.
The Near Demise of Marcionism
At one point, the early Christian writings that were collected by Marcion, along with his own writings, were all destroyed. A domineering early Catholic Church, the Pauline Christians, committed themselves to a long-term campaign against these early Christians. Tertullian produced five volumes attacking Marcionism and distributed them throughout the Roman Empire. The honest intellectual and rational approach of Marcion to the Old Testament and the saving grace of Jesus were lost, burnt and oppressed by the more violent and aggressive Pauline Christians. It is ironic that in the name of 'good works', Pauline Christians murdered and toruted those who believed differently to themselves... if it is true, as Jesus says and as Marcion pointed out, that good trees do not produce rotten fruit, then have we ended up with a rotten tree grown from a rotten fruit, instead of the real Christianity as espoused by Jesus?
If it is Christian duty to 'turn the other cheek', 'resist not evil', 'love your enemies' and 'love your neighbours as yourself', then it is clear that the Pauline Christians, who eliminated Marcionism and got to choose the books of the Bible, were not the true Christians
In Pauline Christianity, Jesus died for rather mystical reasons. It does not make sense to state that Jesus died so that people could know Jesus - as people such as Moses existed before Jesus died on the cross. Nor does it make sense to say that Jesus died so God could forgive, or lower the wages of sin: As God could do that whenever it pleased. Ebionite Christianity did not suffer these problems: Animal sacrifices were made to God but were never perfect; only when (finally) a human who followed the Law perfectly sacrificed himself, was the ultimate sacrifice made, thus ending the need for sacrifices. This introduces no new logical problems into God's story, whereas the Christianity we know today struggles to explain why Jesus was sacrificed at all.
Marcion (c. 84-160 A.D.) was raised in the Church. His father was bishop of Sinope in Pontus. He subscribed to anti-Jewish and Gnostic philosophy which he said represented the "true gospel". Then he and his followers set about to start "their own denomination" without regard to The One True Church then in existence. He combined Christian teaching with Gnostic philosophy, attempting to bring this philosophy into the Assemblies as valid doctrine while adding his own "revelations". Some of his teaching was similar to Doceticism (which denied the True Humanity of Jesus).
First of all, Marcion had a problem with the G-d of the Old Testament as he compared Him with the New Testament. He rejected Election and Predestination in agreement with the Gnostics. He could not reconcile these things.
The Gnostics believed in "two gods", one a "lesser god" that had created us and the entire material universe (this was the "Predestinating and Electing god" of the Old Testament), and the "Supreme Father" (whom the Gnostics called the "god" of the New Testament) who was Totally Spiritual (and did not Predestinate anyone). The "Supreme Father" had nothing to do with "the flesh" either. That had been created by the "lesser god of the Old Testament".
In the time of the Old Testament Yahweh was the war god of the Jews.
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people, and hang them up before the LORD against the sun, that the fierce anger of the LORD may be turned away from Israel."Num 25:4
Then Yahweh comes in the flesh and says the opposite. We are told to love all our enemies and give them all big hugs in Jesus' name. Why do people not see the hypocrisy here? You cannot have it both ways. Also how can the son represent the father when he preaches the total and complete opposite of what his father stands for, and that is war and extermination. Jews exterminated non-Jews then the Christian Romans picked up the ball and started up again the same extermination doctrine. Today the Jewish Illuminati banking system has a choke-hold on the Vatican so the residing power today is the Zionist Illuminati. Needless to say they control all the churches and religions. They get mankind to war over man-made doctrines and exercise all power and control over them through religion and doctrines. Believe one wrong doctrine and you will burn and scream in the lake of fire forever. Talk about mind control!
Gnostic Christians do not have a need to convert others to their religion because they have none. They have long realized that people who seek God have different life experiences and learn at different speeds. Gnostic knowledge becomes the wind in our sails that drives us on to greater and deeper truths of our understanding of God. We are set free from the church chains a spiritual doctrines of darkness. Since we are born God's children, we need not worry about having the "right doctrine" to be saved. God's children are here not to be "saved" but to learn from the Father. If we are children of God, then at death we go on to higher levels while the evil go to lower levels. Salvation is in us. It is the small still voice that leads us unto all truth. We have no need of dead writings and dead churches. Christ is in us leading us in our physical journey of spiritual growth and personal revelation.
What Gnostics get rebuked for is that they do not believe that Jesus was God in the flesh on the earth which is the foundation of literal Christianity. If you do not believe this, then you are sent to a fiery lake of fire where you will scream and squirm in pain for eternity. This for the crime of not choosing the right doctrine. Is this a God of love? Literalists say that God did not create hell for mankind, so why is mankind sent there?
In my opinion.. the Gnostic reasoning makes more sense..