The Bible itself is a dynamic text full of poetry, prose, history, law and myth all clashing together in a cacophony of voices. We are presented with a warrior God and a peacemaker, a God of territorial allegiance and a God who transcends all territorial divides, an unchanging God and a God who can be redirected, a God of peace and a God of war, a God who is always watching the world and a God who fails to notice the oppression against Israel in Egypt.

 

 

In the Bible we find a vast array of competing stories concerning the character of God that are closely connected to the concrete circumstances of those who inhabit the narrative. Just as personality tests offer us an unrealistic image of ourselves as a single whole, overlooking the fact that we are not only many different things in many different situations but also changing over time, so Western theology has all too often reduced the beauti­fully varied and complex descriptions of God found in the Bible to a singular reading that does violence to its vibrant nature.

 

 

The result is not an account that is hopelessly ideological, but rather a text that shows the extent to which no one ideology or group of ideologies can lay hold of the divine. The text is not only full of fractures, tensions and contradictions but informs us that fractures, tensions and contradictions are I all we can hope for.

 

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