Atheists continue to get a lot of mileage out of telling us that God in the Old Testament was some sort of ogre, blasting away at people for no apparent reason. They then contrast this with the New Testament, telling us that Jesus was some sort of all-loving, all-forgiving, all-accepting person, like a rich uncle that brings presents on your birthday. Supposedly, there is some difference between a hate-filled God of the Old Testament, and an all-loving God in the New Testament.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Those that say this merely show their ignorance of the Bible. They are either deceived and have not read the text, or read it with filtered glasses so that they only see the portion they want, or they are intentionally spreading falsities because of their own bias.
The claim about God being unfair to the people of Canaan has already been dealt with (see here). But in general, a quick search shows the following terms in the Old and New Testaments:
|Term||Old Testament||New Testament|
|Hell / Hades||19||24|
So as these numbers point out, just by a simple measurement of the terms, the New Testament speaks more about Hell and Hades than the Old, especially when you consider that the Old Testament is over twice as long as the New. In fact, most of our theology about people going to Hell comes from the New Testament. What might surprise you further is that most of the teaching about Hell comes from the lips of Jesus Himself, for Jesus spoke a great deal about people going to Hell.
The Old Testament has a great deal to say about God’s love, mercy, forgiveness, and how much we receive blessings from God. Have you read the Psalms lately? The New Testament presents God causing the deaths of many more people than in the Old Testament. Have you read the last book in the Bible lately?
So all of this talk about the Old Testament presenting a different view of God than the New Testament is so much hogwash. In general those who claim such a difference are showing a great mishandling of the Bible. Whether they are intentionally deceiving others or merely deceived themselves I do not know. But I do know that to continue to make such claims is intellectual dishonesty, for the Bible presents a balanced view of God throughout the Bible, including a very loving God in the Old Testament and a very firm and judging God in the New Testament. A complete study of this is too lengthy to be done here, but I submit the following handful of verses as support.
Psalm 13:5-6 (Old Testament)
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
Psalm 25:6-10 (Old Testament)
Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!
Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the LORD are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Matthew 13:41-42 (New Testament)
The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 5:22 (New Testament)
But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.