Is God a moral monster?

Binding of Isaac, by Caravaggio (Uffizi)

The Old Testament raises some tricky questions of morality  for people living in the contemporary world, at least in the west. The alleged 'genocide' of the Canaanites is one that I hear frequently. It isn't only people who are not Christians who have questions about it; Christians often feel embarrassed about these parts of the Old Testament. However, I am am convinced that there are some very good responses to these issues. I tried to outline a few responses in the first of a series of four sessions tackling difficult questions during Above Bar Church's Discipleship School in the autumn of 2014.

Paul Copan has, in particular, given a great deal of thought to this issue in his book Is God a Moral Monster? (I borrowed his title!). I learnt a great deal from him, not just from this book but from spending a little time with him at an apologetics conference in Sweden where we were both speaking. His more recent book, Did God Really Command Genocide? came out just after I gave this seminar, but I'm sure that will be even more thorough. I haven't had chance to read it yet. Chris Wright's The God I Don't Understand is also extremely helpful, and I found some useful insights in David Lamb's God Behaving Badly, which is, like Chris Wright's book, very accessible.

Here are the slides for this seminar. It wasn't recorded, unfortunately.

© Tony Watkins, 2020
The Tony and Jane Watkins Trust oversees and supports the ministries of Tony and Jane Watkins in Christian training, education, and communication. It is a charity registered in England and Wales, no. 1062254.
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