THE FIRST FAMILY
WAY TO LIVE_DOT I (GOD) // CHAPTER 5
Who is this God? Is he malevolent or benevolent? Is his plan good or evil? How can Abraham or you or I trust him?
Let’s imagine that someone approached you and asked to be your best friend. But before you became their friend, they wrote up a contract filled with all the things they were going to do for you. They’re going to make you successful, care about what you care about and be in your corner. In the part of the contract that described what was expected of you, it said that this contract was not based on anything having to do with your ability to be a friend to them. You have a part to play, but even if you don’t play your part, the terms of the contract stand, and your new friend will fulfill their end of the bargain. They will do their part no matter what you do.
This sounds too good to be true. How can you trust them? You’ve never spent any time with them. It’s like getting a marriage proposal on a blind date. “Let’s slow down here and get to know each other first.”
Here at the beginning of the story, the start of the Old Testament, there is a covenant. A promise made. Through the rest of the story, God shows us how he holds up his end of the bargain. This story also shows humanity’s pathetic attempts and failures to hold up ours. God asked for some simple things out of Abraham and his descendants, but as we are learning, simple ≠ easy.
Let’s say this person with a “contract of friendship” directed you to their “friendship reviews” website where you can see what they had done for other people that they had signed contracts with. You see that they are a five-star friend. No fake reviews, all real people. Millions of them. Reviewers would say how time and time again, this person came through for them and was there for them. They would say how there were so many times that the reviewer themselves was a bad friend, but this person did not change who they were because of that. How much confidence would that give you?
The Old Testament represents thousands of years of human history. It shows us many things about ourselves as humans. The greatest thing it shows us is the nature and character of God himself and how he deals with us and our failures. It is God’s version of yelp. If you read the Old Testament, you will find time and time again God’s attempts to show humanity his plan and get us to play a part.
Richard Dawkins, a renowned biologist says that God is “arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”[i] That is a lot of adjectives. You may be inclined to agree with him.