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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Is God an angry individual?

The "Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God" model is familiar to most Christians (even if they've never read the tract). Indeed, many Christians view God as being and angry and wrathful entity bent on vengeance. I believe that this view of God arises from a superficial understanding of Scripture.
The Hebrew word "charon" is used to describe God's anger in the Old Testament. It implies heat or a burning intensity. (Strong's Concordance) However, it is interesting to note that of the forty-one times that the word is used, most of those instances are people using the word to describe their perception of God. In fact, there are only five instances where God is purported to be speaking of himself, and all of them are referencing the execution of Divine Judgment. Isaiah 13:13, Jeremiah 49:37, Ezekiel 7:12-14, Hosea 11:9 and Zephaniah 3:8. Moreover, in the verse from the prophet Hosea, God declares that He will NOT execute the fierceness of His anger.
The phrase "mine anger" occurs thirty-three times in the King James Version of the Bible. Once again, all of those usages reference the execution of Divine Judgment (a decision to punish people/nations for continuous law breaking). Six of those thirty-three references are statements to the effect that God will not pour out the full force of His anger/wrath. Isaiah 10:25, 48:9, Jeremiah 3:12, 32:37, Hosea 11:9 and 14:4 Hence, on closer inspection, it appears that God's anger is always tied to the administration of Divine Justice, which has been planned into God's schematic for dealing with mankind. Unlke human anger, God doesn't suddenly lose His temper and zap someone - That's simply not how God operates (at least not from the perspective of Scripture).
I count ten references in the KJV to God as being longsuffering or patient. I counted over twenty references to God as being merciful and six uses of the phrase "slow to anger" regarding the Divine character. To be sure, as part of God's plan for us, there is a Day of Wrath appointed at the conclusion of man's and Satan's reigns on this earth. Nevertheless, the characterization of our God as an angry, wrathful and bitter individual is simply not an accurate representation of Him/Her!

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