The God of the Old Testament vs. the God of the New?

Some people find it difficult to reconcile the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New. They say the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath and that the New Testament presents us with a radically different portrait of God.

In this week’s lessons we learned three fundamental truths about our reality:

    • God loves us.
    • We are sinful.
    • We are being restored.

Our ability to believe that all these things are true is based on how we see God. If He is what He says He is, then we can trust Him with the details. But if our view of God is confused, we’re going to find it more difficult to trust.

Some people find it difficult to reconcile the God of the Old Testament with the God of the New. They say the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath, the sender of plagues and of destroying angels, who would rather blot the name of His people out of His book of life than forgive. By the same token, it is said that the New Testament presents us with a radically different portrait of God: one of love, self-sacrifice, and inclusiveness.

What do you think? How do you reconcile these contrasting views? Can both be true? Is one of them misunderstood?

How do we know that the Old Testament God is the same God of love we see in Jesus
Christ in the New Testament? Perhaps, it is not the different characteristics of God that need reconciling but our view of Him.

The same God who sent destroying angels also sent manna. The God of the Old Testament not only created us and preserved us, He laid the foundation for our redemption. How could we even begin to know that Jesus was who He claimed to be unless the Old Testament first told us when, where, and how to expect Him?

Let’s take a look at some Old Testament passages about what God was like. Read aloud Genesis 1:26–31; 2:21–25; 3:15; Isaiah 53.

Jesus says that the Old Testament Scriptures testify of Him (John 5:39). What does this suggest to us about the unity of the two Testaments in conveying God’s message of love?*


* Adapted with permission from the iFollow Discipleship Resource, ©North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.