What about the God of the Old Testament? He wasn’t so “peace and love”?
Bono: There’s nothing hippie about my picture of Christ. The Gospels paint a picture of a very demanding, sometimes divisive love, but love it is. I accept the Old Testament as more of an action movie: blood, car chases, evacuations, a lot of special effects, seas dividing, mass murder, adultery. The children of God are running amok, wayward. Maybe that’s why they’re so relatable. But the way we would see it, those of us who are trying to figure out our Christian conundrum, is that the God of the Old Testament is like the journey from stern father to friend. When you’re a child, you need clear directions and some strict rules. But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross.
While I wouldn’t choose his exact words, there is something very raw and almost objective about the Old Testament. The good, the bad, and the detestable are all lined up in plain sight; history is told as is.
God can appear rather disturbing at times, but of course that’s because we want him to be a push over. If any reasonable person places himself or herself in the role of God, who is repeatedly ignored and defied, then it’s possible to see that he truly is patient, willing to forgive, and loving even in his judgment. God’s goal all along is restoration, but his materials, human beings, are not always willing to cooperate.
That isn’t to say we can dust off our hands and call it a day when it comes to the Old Testament. There is a lot of tension, there are many disturbing facets to the story, and I don’t expect to figure all of them out on this side of heaven.
What can say for certain is that the God of the Old Testament was pushing toward the coming of Christ in the New Testament. That has been his goal all along. He himself was not satisfied with the situation of Israel in the Old Testament.
The coming of Jesus, his sacrifice, and his love are not a sudden departure from the Old Testament policies. Jesus is the destination of the Old Testament.