Why does the God of the Old Testament sound so mean and cruel?

Posted on February 26, 2008 at 8:00 am

Bible

Follow Gramps:

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail
Print Friendly

Gramps,
I was wondering why in the Old Testament God sound mean, cruel, and his continence is almost with childlike jealousy. The God I have been taught about all these years is a kind loving father. Who loves me and wants me to be happy, who will carry me if I fall, who loves me unconditionally.
I spoke with my father and was reminded of former teaching, that the God of the Old Testament was Jehovah or Jesus Christ in the spirit before his mortal sojourn. Can you help me? I want to be able to place peace in my heart and once again know and understand the loving God I have always known. Why is the God of the Old Testament and vengeful and cruel God?
Cynthia, from Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Dear Cynthia,
Except for the Genesis introduction, the Bible deals mostly with the children of the House of Israel. They began their national identity as slaves in Egypt for 430 years (Exo 12:31). ( Some Bible scholars set the date of Jacob and his family going into Egypt at 1706 BC and the exodus at 1491 BC, which would make the sojourn in Egypt a total of 215 years). Nonetheless, Moses was called of God to lead the children of Israel to freedom and to teach them the principles of the gospel. The Lord called him up on Mt. Sinai for forty days and gave him the law of the gospel written on two stone tablets. When Moses came down from the mount and approached the people he saw that they had returned to the idolatrous practice of the Egyptians and had made themselves a golden calf to worship. In his anger at witnessing such a sight, Moses broke to pieces the two tablets contains God’s law for them. So he returned to the mount for another forty days while God had him prepare two more stone tablets upon which the Lord wrote again the words of the law.
From that time on, Israel struggled greatly for obedience to the Lord’s commands. The writings of all the prophets of the Old Testament are more than anything else chastisements for disobedience. It is not that God was not a loving, caring God, but that He was training a wicked and disobedient people. His loving kindness is there, but it may be overshadowed by the necessary chastisements and punishments that God had to impose in order to preserve and save the people.
Here are some of the attributes of the God of the Old Testament for which you may be searching—

For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt (Deut 7:6-8).

When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them (Deut 4:30-31).

And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation

(Ex 34:6-7).Just for examples.
Gramps

Summary
Article Name
Why does the God of the Old Testament sound so mean and cruel? - Ask Gramps - Q and A about Mormon Doctrine
Author
Description
The God I have been taught about all these years is a kind loving father. Who loves me and wants me to be happy, who will carry me if I fall, who loves me unconditionally.

Follow Gramps:

Before becoming a Bishop, is it required to be on a High Council first?

October 25, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, Is a man required to serve on the High Council before he is considered a candidate for the calling of Bishop? I was advised by a (more)

Why were the deaths of the early Apostles so brutal?

October 24, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, I was interested in the life of the remaining Apostles after the death of the Savior.  As I researched their lives I was stunned and shocked (more)

If a man is of a certain tribe, are they automatically called to be a Bishop?

October 22, 2014 9:00 pm

Question Gramps, I heard that it has been stated that some people have been told by their patriarch that they are not of Ephraim or Manasseh but of (more)

Is Mormon underwear magic?

October 22, 2014 5:00 am

Question Gramps, I am not a Mormon, but a Born Again Christian faithfully attending a Protestant church.  I have recently been involved in a study in which we (more)

Why was the purchase of slaves allowed during Biblical times?

October 21, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, I have been discussing matters of misinterpretation with Bible versus with friends and was wondering, why are there parts of the Bible that allow the purchase (more)

If my father is the Branch President, can I repent to someone else?

October 20, 2014 5:00 am

Question Gramps, Hello.  I have broken the Law of Chastity and the Word of Wisdom. I’ve been doing better and reading my scriptures and praying for forgiveness but (more)

How many Priesthoods are there?

October 19, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, How many priesthoods are there?  I know there is the Aaronic and Melchezidek, but someone mentioned there was also the Patriarchal Priesthood? Don   Answer Don, (more)

Will the church rescind the ban on coffee due to Alzheimers studies?

October 18, 2014 6:00 am

Question Gramps, I am a member and wonder why the church does not rescind the ban on coffee when scientific studies over the past 20 years have shown (more)

Can physical intimacy and spirituality be compatible?

October 17, 2014 11:37 am

Question Dear Gramps, When I am reading my scriptures or saying my prayers, I have no interest in physical intimacy with my spouse.  And when we do come (more)

Is God a respecter of persons sometimes?

October 16, 2014 12:47 am

Question Gramps, Why does the Lord seem to bless some of the faithful with prosperity? It seems that others who are faithful and also pay their tithes and (more)

In the Princess Bride, should Wesley have pursued a married woman?

October 15, 2014 10:28 am

Question Dear Gramps, Was it appropriate for Wesley from the Princess Bride to pursue a married woman? Fezzik   Answer Fezzik, The question is not whether Westley was (more)

How can I learn about the church as a teenager?

October 13, 2014 12:04 am

Question Gramps, Hello. I am 16 and I have zero affiliation with the church. I was interested in learning about the Mormons, so I got a copy of (more)