About five or six years ago, Dan Barker (a former evangelical pastor turned atheist) wrote a book lashing out at God. Amongst other nasty things, he called God a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
Now think back to the God Job met in the whirlwind at the end of the book of Job. I don’t think the God pictured in that account worries much about what humanity thinks of Him. We are the ones who will suffer for such thoughts. He won’t because what we think of Him won’t change anything. He doesn’t need to defend himself.
God will not force anyone to serve Him. If someone wants to call Him a malevolent bully that is up to them.
However, I think it is only fair to note that God does have two sides to Him.
On the one side,
God is merciful, as the introductory passage from Deuteronomy states. Those who love Him and serve Him voluntarily will continue to live under His mercy.
But God has another side,
— His holiness and hatred for sin, which these verses also portray. This is the side of God that often makes the problem for today’s society.
Many people, even Christians, think God has a neutered personality — like the benevolent grandfather CS Lewis talked about. But that is not what God is like. God is not worried about political correctness or trampling on people’s toes. He is a man’s God, if you want to say it that way. A friend of mine wrote me recently…
Just been thinking about God this morning here in my office while I work. He flat scares the wits out of me… He’s no sissy, emasculated, cuddly thing. He is awesome.
Human leaders of democratic nations worry whether voters like them. They worry about re-election and approval ratings. Sometimes they make changes to their platform to maintain their popularity. Popularity means more than being right.
People don’t understand real leadership anymore. That is one reason that they don’t understand God.
God is on a constant balancing act between mercy and justice. All of us deserve punishment, but God would rather give us mercy. Because of this, He always offers mercy first. But when people reject mercy, they must live with the other side of God.
Does God get angry?
Does God get angry when someone tortures an innocent child?
Does God get angry when someone calls Him a malevolent bully to His face?
But His mercy and patience precede His anger and justice. People see this and they fool themselves into thinking that God either doesn’t exist, or He is some sort of a pansy that they can manipulate as they please.
Society today goes by feelings, not by facts. Punishing sin doesn’t seem nice, so we try to deny God His right to punish sinners. But that isn’t how things work. Someday there will be a culmination of all things, and God’s anger will fall on those who have deliberately snubbed their noses at him.
Hebrews 10:26 – 39 speaks of this, saying, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
We have done a serious discredit to society and the church by trying to hide this side of God. We do not need to be ashamed of Him. He’s not the family black sheep or local madman. He is not a genocidal murderer.