Two Gods to Rule Them All

The Difference between OCG and the Biblical God

There is a marked difference between what I read about God in the Bible and what many Christians seem to believe about God in the orthodox Christian church. (When I use the term Orthodox here I am using it quite narrowly. I am referring to the God worshipped in evangelical and charismatic churches. However, the same principle is true throughout all of Christianity). The glaring contrast between these viewpoints has led me to a two God theory. Allow me to explain: within Christianity I see two Gods, not two actual Gods but two views of God which contradict one another. Just to clarify I am in no way talking about the Trinity here, that’s an issue for another time. Firstly there is the God of Christianity: an all loving, all-powerful God who is completely and utterly good. This God only acts out of love and is perfectly wonderful in all of his ways. This is the God that we see manifested through Jesus Christ as the God-Man and the God that we see as integral to liberation theology. This is the God that most Christians worship on a Sunday morning. I refer to this God as the Orthodox Christian God (OCG).

Then there is the God that I see in the Bible. This God is not quite so wonderful, he doesn’t come across quite so well when one reads scripture. But that’s not really a problem because most Christians don’t read Scripture anyway! The details of this God are often glossed over in sermons and very infrequently talked about in Christian circles. This God can be quite malicious, malevolent, envious, hateful, petty and archaic. It is the significantly less shiny God that appears when we pull back the magnificent veneer of the Orthodox Christian God. I refer to this God as the Biblical God: the actual God that you get in Scripture. This may sound like a harsh analysis, but I will provide a lot more detail on this when I move on to later articles.

The two gods: the God that exists in the Christian mind, and the God that exists on the pages of the Bible, are incredibly divergent. Allow me to provide some examples: the OCG is unchanging, he always remains the same. But clearly not on his views of salvation which vary dramatically between the Old Testament, which doesn’t even mention an eternal salvation, and the New Testament which is all about it.

The biblical God causes natural disasters in order to punish civilisations. It would be reasonable to then suggest that the Indonesian tsunami, the sinking of the Titanic or even 9/11 were caused by God as a punishment for the sins of various nations. If you disagree that God would involve himself in these things then you aren’t worshipping the biblical God.

Christian doctrines express God as being immutable, he never changes. In fact, not only does he not change, but he cannot change, for if God was changed then God would not be God because the essence of himself which makes him God would be changed. This concept of immutability is a derived factor which was established by the church several hundred years after the last writings of the New Testament. It is doctrinal, and based in tradition rather than scripture. There are scriptures which confirm the concept, but also scriptures which completely deny it, thus it is a good example of OCG versus biblical God. The scriptures below are primarily taken from the NASB, italics added.

Exodus 32:14

So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.

Gen 1:31

God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. (Among his creations was man).

Gen 6:6-7

The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.”

—-

1Sa 2:30-31

“Therefore the LORD God of Israel declares, ‘I did indeed say that your house and the house of your father should walk before Me forever’; but now the LORD declares, ‘Far be it from Me—for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me will be lightly esteemed. ‘Behold, the days are coming when I will break your strength and the strength of your father’s house so that there will not be an old man in your house.

2Ki 20:1

In those days Hezekiah became mortally ill. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die and not live.’”

2Ki 20:4-6

Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him, saying,

 “Return and say to Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of your father David, “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. “I will add fifteen years to your life, and I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake and for My servant David’s sake.”’”

Amo 7:3

The LORD changed His mind about this.

“It shall not be,” said the LORD.

Jon 3:10

When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

Clearly, this doctrine of immutability is flawed. The God of the Bible very clearly does change his mind. What about another of the orthodox Christian God’s key characteristics: omnipotence. Omnipotence is the idea that God has all power and that God can do absolutely anything as long as it is not internally contradicting, i.e. God cannot make a curry so hot that he himself cannot eat it! While there are many entertaining examples like this, we can simply turn to the pages of Scripture to find a contradiction to this idea.

Jer 32:27

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?”

Mat 19:26

And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Luk 1:37

“For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Not so fast!

Jdg 1:19

And the LORD was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron. (KJV)

Mar 6:4-5

Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and among his own relatives and in his own household.” And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them.

It is also apparent that God cannot forgive anyone either. If God could forgive people then he would not have needed to send Jesus to die on the cross, because instead of having to pay a blood sacrifice to redeem mankind God could have just forgiven mankind and everything would be good. But God should have known this, because apparently he knows everything. Let’s explore the doctrine of omniscience.

Pro 15:3

The eyes of the LORD are in every place,

Watching the evil and the good.

Heb 4:13

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

But hold on…

Gen 3:9

Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?”

Gen 4:9

Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” And he said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Gen 18:20-21

And the LORD said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave. “I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”

Exo 12:13

‘The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

Num 22:9

Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?”

2Ch 32:31

Even in the matter of the envoys of the rulers of Babylon, who sent to him to inquire of the wonder that had happened in the land, God left him alone only to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.

Hos 8:4

They have set up kings, but not by Me; They have appointed princes, but I did not know it. With their silver and gold they have made idols for themselves, That they might be cut off.

Alright, so the OCG isn’t doing terribly well so far! But surely he is omnipresent right? God is everywhere, and every when at the same time, so to speak. God exists at all points in time and space simultaneously, doesn’t he?

Heb 4:13

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Psa 139:7

Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your presence?

But…

Gen 11:5

The LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.

Gen 18:21

“I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”

1Ki 19:11

So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

It is apparent then that the Bible is conflicted over its internal message. Is this really some kind of devious divine plan, or is it just the mistakes of human authors who were unable to put together a coherent theology. Some proponents of Christianity may suggest that these mistakes in the presentation of God’s character are just representative of the human handprint upon scripture, and that they make it more real. This answer also conveniently covers the tar pit of errors present in the work. It is a confirmation bias of the first order. So using Occam’s razor I ask a simple question: which is more likely? That the Bible represents the true divine Word of God (a supernatural being that cannot be proven), despite the fact that it is full of errors and contradictions, or that it is a work written by fallible humans who couldn’t get their story straight?

I ask you to think about your own faith, if you are indeed a person who has faith, ask yourself some questions. Who is it that you think God is? What is the make-up of the being that you turn to in your prayers? Are you asking for assistance from the horrific character of the Old Testament who has no qualms about genocide, slavery and rape? Or are you asking the wonderful, loving God of your orthodox faith?

What this shows is that by and large Christians are not worshipping the God of the Bible. Rather, they are worshipping a God that is a construct of their own mind based upon a collective impression formed by tradition and a shared morality. In the modern age, most people who are not mentally ill would find it extremely difficult to worship the actual God of the Bible because he represents a Bronze Age barbaric perspective on life, which is completely irrelevant to civilized people living in the contemporary world. So the biblical God has been civilized, dramatically, so that his title and status are attached to a concept developed by conjoining Christian tradition and reformed current views. This God is completely acceptable, a God of absolute love who will always forgive you for whatever you do – unless you blaspheme the Holy Spirit. But this God does not cohere with the God of scripture, not even with the depiction of Jesus.

2 thoughts on “Two Gods to Rule Them All

  1. Your point is well made- indeed there truly is a disparity between the Biblical God and the Orthodox Christian God. I am definitely sharing this one on my Facebook page! I wonder how many Christians will take the bite because you have argued this position very well.

    Like

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