Are there two Gods in the Bible? Comparing the biblical God of the Old Testament to the God that Jesus called Abba is difficult. The representation of God in the Old Testament as compared to the New Testament seems to indicate two entirely different Gods, not one in the same.
The God of the Old Testament is wrathful, vengeful, tyrannical, and violent. He condones violence, injustice, stoning, sacrifices, and annihilations of people including women and children. He demands strict obedience of his laws and issues severe punishments when those laws are violated; whereas the God of the New Testament is loving, kind, giving, and merciful. He longs for reunion with his creation and is gracious in providing his divine love and mercy. Except for the teaching of the hell doctrine this God has no resemblance to the OT God at all.
These depictions are not of the same God regardless of how adeptly written apologetics try to convince me that they are.
The two variations of God once troubled me. But once I concluded the bible was not inerrant I began to understand the varying portrayals of God for what they are, which is merely expressions of “God” as he is seen through man’s eyes. The God of the bible, in either the OT or NT, is the personification of what the writers and storytellers believed him to be. It is the same as how God is represented in articles, movies, books and blogs today. In every instance God is a representation of how the writer perceives him, either as loving and just or wrathful and vengeful.
Current writings about God always include content that expresses variations of God is, God wills, God says, God wants, God does, God needs….all from the imagination and perspective of the writer. One writer expresses that God has condemned or convicted him, another writer expresses that God has empowered her, while still others write about how God has been merciful, loving and just or has given them specific revelation of some kind. This is no different than how the biblical writers wrote about their God and explains why God is differently portrayed in the testaments. The OT writers lived in the harsh times of early civilization. They saw God as vengeful and wrathful as evidenced in the survival hardships and social brutalities that they endured. In the NT, writers saw a different God, one who loved, and was merciful toward them during times when the ruling hierarchies marginalized them. The God we write about today is very different from either of these Gods. He is personal to us, and we equate him to a benefactor, a friend or a parent.
As for all of the “will of God” assigned to him: Is it likely that there were homophobic writers projecting their own disdain for homosexual sex as a loathing by God? Most likely. Is it possible that kings who thought themselves in communion with God and who wanted to conquer and destroy an opposing tribe claimed it was God’s mandate? Probably so. Does any of this mean that God commanded, willed, or even approved such acts? Who really knows. What is known is that since humans have believed in God and have had the ability to write they have claimed God’s will equal to their own.
All believers have their own impressions and discernment of who and what God is and eagerly share this personfication of God with others. But we don’t label him as the projection of our assessments and impressions; rather we express the attributes of the God we design as the gospel truth…because to us it is.
In summary I am not suggesting that the bible, or the differing versions of God, does not have spiritual value. The bible has a considerable value in teaching how people throughout the ages have utilized their beliefs and faith in the supernatural to direct their lives. I can learn about patience and perseverance in the story of Job. I can learn about rising from despair in the story of Joseph. I can learn about being compassionate toward others in the stories of Jesus. And from it all, I can learn that God is to each what he is needed to be.