Greg Boyd is back on the show! This time he’s tackling the thorny issue of violence in the Old Testament. How is it, for example, that the God revealed in Jesus loves his enemies and lays down his life for them, when the God we see in the Old Testament seems to routinely kill his enemies? What does that tell us about the nature of God, and the nature of the Bible? Greg is certainly the man to ask, as he’s just published a 1492 page book on this very subject, The Crucifixion of the Warrior God.

Image provided by ReKnew Used with permission.


Cross Vision: How the Crucifixion of Jesus Makes Sense of Old Testament Violence

The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Volumes 1 & 2


Apologies and Explanations



“He had this cruciform character when he breathed scripture…Shouldn’t we read scripture expecting to find, perhaps, portraits of God that are ugly on their surface. With these portraits we must expect that we’re going to have to, by faith, look through the ugly surface to behold this humble God stooping to bear the sin of His people and thereby take on the appearance, an ugly appearance that reflects the ugliness of that sin.”

“The Cross reveals what God’s always been like… always been revealing Himself by stooping to bear people’s sin and that … is why we find these ugly hideous portraits of God throughout the Bible.”

“The Lord says… ‘if you will trust me you will never need to rely on the sword, you’ll never need to fight’. So, every time Israel uses a sword you can know that it’s reflecting their lack of faith in Yahweh.”


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  1. I’ll listen to this podcast with interest.

    To me, I think the question of why the Old Testament God is violent is moot, as archeology has shown the over-the-top bloody battles didn’t occur as described in the Old Testament. In fact, on more than one occasion, the Old Testament has the Israelites laying siege to a city that didn’t exist at the time. Men lie. Archeology doesn’t.

    It seems to me that the Pentateuch just what the Jews SAID happened, and they weren’t writing history, I think. They were writing nationalistic propaganda about their theocratic state. (“Hey, we rock. Let’s say we’re God’s chosen people. Get someone to write that down!”)

    The hallmarks of said propaganda:

    God chose the Jews above all people upon the face of the earth (Deuteronomy 7:6)
    God wants the state of Israel to rule the world (Deuteronomy 15:6)
    God wants the Jewish state of Israel to commit genocide against the gentile people around them. (Deuteronomy 7:2)

    It all seems so . . . likely. Governments do this kind of shit all the time.

    But if we’re going to keep reading the Old Testament, the question I have is why do we let the ancient Israelites get away with that? Such hubris! Progressive Christians certainly don’t let America get away with that. They foam at the mouth over imperialism and Making America Great. We need to call out the God portrayed in the Old Testament as vile.

    It seems to me the men who wrote the Pentateuch didn’t care about the picture of God they were painting for “humanity.” They just wanted to show that Israel had God’s sanction in the present moment in their neighborhood. God Bless Israel! I really don’t think they believed any of that shit actually happened. Why would they? Their experience of God was the same as ours: He’s pretty much uninvolved—certainly not opening up chasms in the good earth to swallow up fifthly sinners.

    The writers of the Old Testament weren’t stupid.

    But they were human. Yeah, there’s a lot of great stuff in the Old Testament, but there’s more silly stuff, which is exactly what you’d expect from a book written my numerous men who were literally and figuratively all over the map.

    At least that’s what I think.

  2. Matthew Stemp May 13, 2017

    It is a shame that Greg Boyd has spent so much time writing these volumes in defense of the indefensible. He is doing his best with an evangelical hermeneutics, but it cannot be sustained even with his applaudable Christocentrism. The fundamental problem is that his conception of revelation involves a God who is hidden behind the material and the textual, a God who cannot be seen “naturally” when we look at Jesus on the Cross or when we read the Scriptures.

    But it is not only the violent God who is done away with by the Cross, but also this “spiritual” and “metaphysical” God. God is revealed by the crucified Jesus not mysteriously behind him or through him, but in and as that dying, dead and decaying body. And yes, alleluia, God is also revealed in and as the living, breathing, inspired Christ who is written upon the resurrected body we call the Church. Now there’s a more interesting starting point to begin thinking about the nature of Scripture (and especially the “Old Testament”) in a radically Christ-centred way, without the need to defend the actions of a god that doesn’t exist.

  3. Nolan Aug 16, 2017

    Any Sherlock Holmes fans? I just finished “the valley of fear” in which ‘spoiler alert’ a detective (not Holmes) infiltrates the ranks of an evil society, giving impression that he is among and for them, and that he might be the strongest and worst. In the end, the enemies are overthrown, baffled, and upon reflection can see the marks of one who was not only deciding them but unmasking them and removing their power. I noticed on a quick glance through, it is clear where it wasn’t before the character had never changed. All appearances of evil were exactly the opposite….

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