Before I move on from Marcion to talk about “Gnostic” understandings of Christ — all in this long thread on where the Trinity came from — I’d like to return to an issue I mentioned briefly in my first post on Marcion, that in many ways his views are alive and well among us. As I have said on the blog before, I have known Christians over the years who in fact have views in many ways close to what Marcion taught. These people would, of course, deny they have anything like the touch of the heretic about them. But at the end of the day, their views are not so different. Maybe they are not as extreme as he was, but they do seem to be dwelling on the fringes of his camp.
First, I have known a lot of Christians who think that the Old Testament has a God of wrath and condemnation and the New Testament has a God of love and mercy. Students say this to me with some regularity. The God of the Old Testament gives difficult laws that no one can possibly follow (how, exactly, are you supposed to keep from “coveting” anything??). And then he condemns people for not keeping them. But no one *can* keep them. So that doesn’t seem fair. The Old Testament God is a God of wrath.
Jesus, on the other hand, proclaims a message of forgiveness, not condemnation. The God of Jesus is the God of love. He loves the world, he loves everyone in it, he loves the sinner. He has mercy on the sinner. He forgives the sinner. He welcomes the sinner. This is a different portrayal of God. The New Testament God is a God of love.
If pressed, of course, these people would say that, literally speaking…
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