Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God [NOOK Book]

Overview

Is the God of the Old Testament nothing but a bully, a murderer, and an oppressor?

Many today--even within the church--seem to think so. How are Christians to respond...
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Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God

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Overview

Is the God of the Old Testament nothing but a bully, a murderer, and an oppressor?

Many today--even within the church--seem to think so. How are Christians to respond to such accusations? And how are we to reconcile the seemingly disconnected natures of God portrayed in the two testaments?

In this timely and readable book, apologist Paul Copan takes on some of the most vexing accusations of our time, including:

God is arrogant and jealous
God punishes people too harshly
God is guilty of ethnic cleansing
God oppresses women
God endorses slavery
Christianity causes violence

Copan not only answers the critics, he also shows how to read both the Old and New Testaments faithfully, seeing an unchanging, righteous, and loving God in both.

"This is the book I wish I had written myself. It is simply the best book I have read that tackles the many difficulties that the Old Testament presents to thinking and sensitive Christians. Paul Copan writes in such a simple, straightforward way, yet covers enormous issues comprehensively and with reassuring biblical detail and scholarly research."--Christopher J. H. Wright, international director, Langham Partnership International; author of Old Testament Ethics for the People of God

"Lucid, lively, and very well informed, this book is the best defense of Old Testament ethics that I have read. A must-read for all preachers and Bible study leaders."--Gordon Wenham, emeritus professor of Old Testament, University of Gloucestershire

"The New Atheists have attacked the morality of the Old Testament with a vengeance. In honesty, many Christians will confess that they struggle with what looks like a primitive and barbaric ethic. Paul Copan helps us truly understand the world of the Old Testament and how it relates to us today."--Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College

"Copan takes on current New Atheist biblical critics and powerfully addresses virtually every criticism they have raised. I know of no other book like this one, and it should be required reading in college and seminary courses."--J. P. Moreland, distinguished professor of philosophy, Talbot School of Theology; author of The God Question

"There's virtually no scholar I'd rather read on these subjects than Paul Copan. This handbook of responses to tough ethical issues is able to both diminish the rhetoric as well as alleviate many concerns."--Gary R. Habermas, distinguished research professor, Liberty University and Seminary

Paul Copan (PhD, Marquette University) is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida. He is the author or editor of many books, including When God Goes to Starbucks.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441214546
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/1/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 61,373
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Paul Copan (PhD, Marquette University) is the Pledger Family Chair of Philosophy and Ethics at Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida. He is the author of several popular apologetics books, including Is God a Moral Monster? and lives with his wife and five children in Florida.
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Table of Contents

Introduction 11

Part 1 Neo-Atheism

1 Who Are the New Atheists? 15

2 The New Atheists and the Old Testament God 20

Part 2 God: Gracious Master or Moral Monster?

3 Great Appetite for Praise and Sacrifices? Divine Arrogance or Humility? 27

4 Monumental Rage and Kinglike Jealousy? Understanding the Covenant-Making God 34

5 Child Abuse and Bullying? God's Ways and the Binding of Isaac 42

Part 3 Life in the Ancient Near East and in Israel

6 God's Timeless Wisdom? Incremental Steps for Hardened Hearts 57

7 The Bible's Ubiquitous Weirdness? Kosher Foods, Kooky Laws? (I) 70

8 The Bible's Ubiquitous Weirdness? Kosher Foods, Kooky Laws? (II) 79

9 Barbarisms, Crude Laws, and Other Imaginary Crimes? Punishments and Other Harsh Realities in Perspective 87

10 Misogynistic? Women in Israel 101

11 Bride-Price? Polygamy, Concubinage, and Other Such Questions 110

12 Warrant for Trafficking in Humans as Farm Equipment? (I): Slavery in Israel 124

13 Warrant for Trafficking in Humans as Farm Equipment? (II): Challenging Texts on Slavery 135

14 Warrant for Trafficking in Humans as Farm Equipment? (III): Slavery in the New Testament 150

15 Indiscriminate Massacre and Ethnic Cleansing? The Killing of the Canaanites (I) 158

16 Indiscriminate Massacre and Ethnic Cleansing? The Killing of the Canaanites (II) 169

17 Indiscriminate Massacre and Ethnic Cleansing? The Killing of the Canaanites (III) 186

18 The Root of All Evil? Does Religion Cause Violence? 198

Part 4 Sharpening the Moral Focus

19 Morality without a Lawgiving God? The Divine Foundation of Goodness 209

20 We Have Moved beyond This God (Haven't We?): Jesus as the Fulfiller of the Old Testament 216

Discussion/Study Questions 223

Notes 235

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Customer Reviews

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  • Posted October 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Great defense of God's character in the Old Testament

    Atheist warrior Richard Dawkins famously called the Old Testament God "a . . . bully." Rather than replying to this frenzied accusation with similar flourish, Christian philosopher and ethicist Paul Copan presents an argued, nuanced reply. His tone is considerate, thoughtful, and modest. The contrast between him and Dawkins could not be greater. More important than the tone of Copan's response is the content. Copan has provided a wealth of information and a number of ways to approach the questions Dawkins and others raise. The book is divided into chapters, each dealing with one of the major attacks atheists and others bring against the God of the Old Testament and the ethics of the Bible. In the first two chapters he surveys the current status of the debate, identifying the New Atheists and their major arguments. The next three chapters answer attacks against the character of God himself, including his supposed selfishness, arrogance, uncontrolled rage and jealousy, and unreasonable demands, especially illustrated in the story of his command to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac (later rescinded). I was impressed by his discussion of Abraham, especially by the way he brought in the whole biblical theology of the Abrahamic covenant and the development of Abraham's faith. We should not treat the OT narratives in isolation from their context, as Dawkins and others do. Most of the book deals with the laws and customs of the Hebrews in OT times, as shown in the OT. Dawkins considers them to be silly and weird. Copan does a good job showing the purpose for these laws, especially for the ceremonial laws, which taught covenant truths, and for the judicial or civil laws, which were adapted for the time and place of the ancient Israelite people. Comparing the OT laws concerning marriage and slavery, for example, with those of other nations of the period shows that the OT is far advanced over its surrounding cultures. In the beginning God created humans perfect, with perfect standards. But after sin took its toll, the "hardness of your hearts" that Jesus mentioned required that God give them less than ideal laws, in order to deal mercifully with them. Copan convincingly shows that many of these OT laws were temporary, but very good in their circumstances. Several chapters are devoted to marriage and warfare laws. Again, the OT far surpasses the rest of the Ancient Near East in ethical clarity and humaneness. The ideal comes later, in the New Testament and in the teachings of Jesus. But the OT laws themselves are much better than the New Atheists make them out to be. Copan demonstrates that, correctly interpreted, these laws are humane and just, especially in the cultural milieu in which they are found. Copan concludes with several chapters relating these studies to the modern debate and to our own times. While this is not the main thrust of the book, he does provide good arguments showing the positive good that biblical faith has brought to the world. He also demonstrates that morality, as such, requires a moral Governor. The God of the Bible, revealed in Jesus Christ.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2013

    First book from Copan, that I have read. Not bad and would consi

    First book from Copan, that I have read. Not bad and would consider reading his other books though I would prefer a more scholarly version even though it was written to be very accessible by the general public.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 27, 2011

    great book

    finally, someone who tackels the difficult questions keeps God a holy God. thanks Paul!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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