Can God Possibly be Angry?
I’m about to finish Jesus Against Christianity: Reclaiming the Missing Jesus by Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. Incredible book! (More coming on that later.) His central point about the nonviolent God revealed by the nonviolent Jesus is absolutely crucial for a healthy faith both personally and on a community, societal or global level.
The point for today’s post is that God can be totally nonviolent (against the “common sense” of most people) if God is unthreatened and loves unconditionally (as “orthodoxy” and most Christians state).
So earlier today I saw that Kathy Escobar’s latest blog post, “Underneath Anger”, here, is closely related to nonviolence. It’s part of a “synchroblog” and links to another great post by Michael Roden titled “Anger is not a Godly Emotion”, here. By the title Michael means God does not have such an emotion, not that we should expect ourselves never to have it.
The logic is very tight. He is correct.
However, this raises major issues for most Christians, which I address in the comment I posted on the thread as follows:
Great article! Important insights on the source and control of anger. And I fully agree: God has no occasion for either fear or anger.
But, for “believers” and all readers of Scripture this immediately raises the question, “What about all the passages in which God IS angry, jealous, punishing, vengeful?” Either one must jettison the kind of God you rightly describe or acknowledge that Scripture writers often projected HUMAN emotions and traits onto God… created God in our image.
Even the way Jesus is sometimes “quoted” and portrayed in the Gospels and in Revelation shows this same distortion. It creates irreconcilable contradictions in what he said and was. It really leaves us no choice than to recognize the human flaws in the Bible; and to do the emotionally and intellectually HARD WORK of “critical reading” of the Bible. Only then can we have intellectual integrity in discerning that the “revelation” in it is of the truly unconditional, unthreatened love that is God’s nature… which precludes ANY anger, wrath, punishment, coercion, etc.
How do you deal with the biblical passages and the common conception of most that God is often angry, either with us personally or with our society, our world?