Tuesday, September 17, 2019

God in the Dock

This phrase, God in the Dock, a book title used by C. S. Lewis, is the title of the last of the 6 part BBC series with Diarmaid MacCulloch, A history of Christianity. You can watch the videos here.

While this is a thickly painted and informative series, he has a careless error in his text in the last film. He associates the doubt expressed in the Old Testament with anger from God. This is a false association. God is never angry at doubt. Particularly not with the doubt MacCulloch says is expressed by the human about 'eating the apple'. Anger is certainly used to describe a human, but never of God in Genesis. And though in that epitome of religious dialogue, Job, anger is used by the friends and by Job to describe God, this is evidence only of their own sense of God. It is not part of God's self-description in that book.

It is of course obvious that anger is attributed to God and even prayed for in the Psalms (56:8). But generally, though the anger of Yahweh/God burns in (or against) the people, God / Yahweh is described as slow to anger. And what is such anger in response to? This is a bigger question not answered in an early morning post, but I suspect we would find it is a failure of the people to hear, a failure to listen, a failure to care. Doubt is not the issue.

(I note that I never used the word wrath in my translation. That surprises even me. Another one of my avoided words, though I did use it as a sub-domain name within the domain of trouble.)

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