Was Dawkins right about the angry God?

This episode is a repost of a talk by Iain Provan from his epic series on the ‘Old Testament Reloaded’ in 2011.  Originally titled ‘Who is God?’ we have renamed it ‘Was Dawkins right about the angry God?’ because that is fundamentally what Iain concentrates on. It is wonderful talk that is foundational for any Christian’s faith. With his characteristic understated Scottish style, Iain brilliantly lays down the most basic foundation for our faith – the notion that God is not only eternal and sovereign but that he is fundamentally good and on our side.

I have covered the topic of the ‘angry’ God in my Breakfast with Jesus talks on Jeremiah, and this talk covers similar territory but far more comprehensively with a sweep right across the whole OT. On the way Iain confronts some of the ‘problems’ we have with the impression of the so-called ‘angry’ God.  He claims that the overarching and primary character of God, and of God’s relation with creation, is that he is good and intends to bless and can be relied on to bless. So any other attribute, like holiness or anger, have to be framed inside this notion of the goodness and self giving love of God.

Interestingly on the topic of the so-called Fall, Iain comes to a very similar conclusion as Andrew Baartz did on our “Cross and Creation” series. He claims that the ‘sin’ of Adam and Eve was not so much pride etc but suspicion about God that he is not intending good for us.  Listen also for his very interesting comments on ‘holiness’.  Iain explains that ‘holiness’ in the OT is characteristically associated with salvation not judgment. That is, God’s ‘holiness’ is evidenced, not so much in judgment, but in how he rescues and saves his people – and also in how his salvation extends globally.

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Iain Provan

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