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A God of wrath—or of Love?

From The Christian Science Journal - April 18, 2012

I love the Bible, but I admit I used to struggle with some of the passages in the Old Testament—the ones that describe God’s destruction of Israel’s enemies or of Israel itself. Those that attribute the elimination of entire populations to God’s wrath.

A couple of years ago, while I was reading Second Chronicles, it suddenly struck me that this concept of God as vengeful, and the cause of misery, sickness, and death, simply results from a misunderstanding of God. The ancient Hebrews saw God as a personal, tribal God, who, if appealed to and obeyed, would protect Israel by destroying her enemies, such as Pharaoh and his army, who chased Moses and the Israelites across the Red Sea. 

It appeared that God was indeed wreaking havoc on the Egyptians as punishment for their captivity of the Israelites. Pharaoh and his army, bent on the Israelites’ destruction as they escaped slavery, were engulfed by the waters of the Red Sea and destroyed, while the Israelites landed safely on the opposite shore. Wasn’t this clear evidence that God was destroying all of their enemies?