Making Sense of The Old Testament God. According to some estimates, 200,000 people were killed and over 3,000,000 were displaced. But at key points the standard evangelical views are not the most plausible readings. This is an excellent book that should be in the personal library of everyone who has more than a passing interest in the topic. My last resistance to the idea of God’s wrath was a casualty of the war in the former Yugoslavia, the region from which I come. Paul Copan's Is God a Moral Monster? Paul Copan’s Is God a Moral Monster? First, Copan occasionally refers to God as “other-centered” (e.g., pp. The question is one that cannot be avoided and must be confronted honestly and thoughtfully. He enters life eight feet tall and enormously strong but with the mind of a … There were a few places in the book where I thought Copan would have done well to concede the difficulty of some of the problematic O.T. Reading through Is God a Moral Monster? Part 3 is by far the largest section in the book as it spans chapters 6-18. Copan takes as his starting point the new atheists with their trumped up charges against the morality of the Judeo-Christian God. Paul Copan responds to the New Atheist stance that the God of the Old Testament is a “moral monster.” I agreed with only about half of Copan’s conclusions, but his book was well-written, informative, and fun to read. He does make this general point at times, as when he says, “For anyone who takes the Bible seriously, [the] Yahweh-war texts will certainly prove troubling” (188). He is also a professor in Palm Beach Atlantic University. 1141 Words 5 Pages. This is my review of Paul Copan’s Is God a Moral Monster?Making Sense of the Old Testament God (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2011). Copan begins by attempting to make sense of the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac. My second quibble is less significant and essentially a matter of emphasis. Episode 277/278 – Is God a Moral Monster? He also challenges the accusation that Christianity causes violence. So says Gordon Wenham and Christopher J.H. In most cases that works fine. Then in part 2 I’ll outline some examples of this syndrome and close with some final conclusions. “Is God a moral monster?” This is the question apologist Paul Copan seeks to answer in response to the harsh criticism from New Atheists about the monstrous God found in the Old Testament. For those who are willing to approach the text sympathetically, Copan’s treatment of these thorny issues is richly rewarding. This viewpoint is even making inroads into the church. The forums in the Christian Congregations category are now open only to Christian members. Finally in Part 4 Copan goes on the offensive, arguing for the necessity of God for objective morality (chapter 19) and defending the centrality of Jesus as God’s final word in Christian revelation (chapter 20). To represent the Old Testament moral code in isolation of this is a gross distortion of Scripture and a complete Christian ethic. Paul Copan’s book, Is God a Moral Monster: Making Sense of the Old Testament God, is the best apologia I have read for the disturbing actions and characteristics of the God of the Bible.I had read a lot on this subject and did not expect to find anything new, but I was surprised to find exactly that. Again, these are really minor complaints, especially when you consider the breadth and depth of the discussion in Is God a Moral Monster? Creation out of Nothing, How Do You Know You’re Not Wrong, Is God a Moral Monster?, That’s Just Your Interpretation, “True for You, But Not for Me”, When God Goes … Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2011. Clearly alternative readings seem to be stronger on this issue. Since I’m going to spend the bulk of time focusing on points of disagreement I’ll begin by placing those criticisms within context. I was thrilled, therefore, to hear of Paul Copan’s latest offering, Is God a Moral Monster? Indeed, I am not aware of a better book from an evangelical perspective on apologetics and Old Testament ethics. No approach to the text is perfect.”. Making Sense of the Old Testament God. Paul Copan. That is the perspective of the governing party that he represents. Copan argues that God is not arrogant for demanding worship (chapter 3), and that jealousy is appropriate for a divine being (chapter 4). The monster is Victor Frankenstein’s creation, assembled from old body parts and strange chemicals, animated by a mysterious spark. But Copan counters that that it is not always wrong to take innocent human life. is a welcome entry to the literature with twenty short, engaging and informative chapters that provide a first-rate apologetic treatment of a broad range of issues from curious biblical dietary laws to the Israelite relationship to slavery and genocide. You may purchase Copan’s book here.This review may be freely distributed, reposted on your personal blogs and websites, printed off, emailed to friends and enemies, or completely ignored. This review should be read as a supplement to Copan’s book. According to this accusation, God is a “moral monster” since He “created” evil—or because He neglects to do anything about evil. Christian members please remember to read the Statement of Purpose threads for each forum within Christian Congregations before posting in the forum. Copan is to be commended for this superb work. As such, it is the job of the press secretary to present the government’s policies and actions in a winsome manner. attempts a bold apologetic of the Judeo-Christian God's moral status in light of the recent attack on the biblical Old Testament by the so-called new atheists. But whether or not readers agree with Copan’s approach to each particular problem passage, his book is sure to educate and edify. My central problem with Is God a Moral Monster? In chapter 6, he argues that the Old Testament law doesn’t represent God’s ‘ideal’ but is rather a step in the ‘redemptive movement’ of Scripture. Anyone familiar with the writings of the new atheists is aware of their penchant for taking potshots at Old Testament ethics. In the simplest terms, … Please review our current Faith Groups list for information on which faith groups are considered to be Christian faiths. The book is good enough that I am leaning toward including it in the future as one of the four textbooks in the seminary apologetics course I teach (and that, dear reader, is high praise indeed). In this book, Copan interacts with the likes of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris in a gracious but firm way, seeking to put the record straight about the God of the Old Testament. Paul Copan wrote Is God a Moral Monster?to address many of the New Atheists’ charges regarding God as He is presented the OT. It is also evident later in the New Testament, such as in some of the teachings of Jesus. This section deals with a broad range of topics beginning with the appeal to incremental revelation in history as a means to explain the Bible’s “ubiquitous weirdness” (chapters 7-8). What we find in many of the Old Testament laws and regulations are either temporary concessions to human sin (e.g., regulations regarding divorce, slavery, and polygamy) or God’s punitive response to human sin (i.e., God’s commands to destroy certain Canaanite people groups). He describes his flight from Victor’s apartment into the wilderness and his gradual acclimation to the world through his discovery of … Is God a Moral Monster? Copan systematically addresses each of the above objections and more. Copan is a distinguished evangelical apologist who received his PhD from Marquette University. In sum, what Copan offers is an informed, patient, and crucially nuanced treatment of the Old Testament moral code. A little bit of spin is par for the course in politics. This would be inappropriate, since God deserves everyone’s primary respect and concern, including his own. A recent string of popular-level books written by the New Atheists have leveled the accusation that the God of the Old Testament is nothing but a bully, a murderer, and a cosmic child abuser. Scripture’s moral “ideal” when it comes to all human relations, as Copan notes, is found in Genesis 1:26-27, which affirms humans as divine image-bearers who should work together in harmony. Copan is to be commended for this superb work. Making Sense of the Old Testament God. He can be a caring God, or He can be a scary God. 55:8). This cannot be stressed enough. Of course, as Copan rightly notes, the new atheists are not interested in nuance, so his responses to their objections are unlikely to change their minds or, for that matter, soften their inflammatory rhetoric. The press secretary’s mandate does not extend to admissions like the following: “I think my government’s policy is weak on this point. Filed Under: The Tentative Apologist Tagged With: Is God a Moral Monster?, new atheism, Old Testament ethics, Paul Copan, Copyright © 2021 • Randal Rauser • A Steady Site. Is God a Moral Monster? Copan, Paul Is God a Moral Monster? … There is no passage where God condones actual human sacrifice. That’s exactly why God is wrathful against some of them. Of course one could still object that it is wrong for God to ask such an extraordinary thing of Abraham, even if it is just a test. is a great example of one stop shopping: get all your major OT apologetic problems addressed in one place. Their opinion carries weight, as does the exuberance of a galaxy of other excellent scholars found at the end of this blog post. Even many Christians struggle to understand some of the Old Testament laws, as well as God’s commands to destroy the Canaanites. Scribd is the world's largest social reading and publishing site. Part 2 mounts a defense of the depiction of God’s character in the Old Testament. Perhaps most significantly this section takes on God’s demand to sacrifice Isaac (chapter 5). When the Israelites disobeyed God and sacrificed their sons and daughters, the Bible says they sacrificed them to demons (Psalm 106:37). Indeed, at key points the weakness of those ideological commitments shows through like the thinned knees on a worn pair of jeans. But I was disappointed that Copan did not concede his (or anyone’s) inability to completely resolve the moral problems presented by a few other passages. But it is disappointing when you sense spin on a topic like ethics and the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2011 Introduction Paul Copan is a Christian theologian, apologist, and an author. 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