The New Atheists and others like to pull stories and verses from the Old Testament out of context and use them to vilify God and Christianity. They point to the killing of men, women and children as well as some of the Laws of God to 'prove' their accusations. Paul Copan has courageously taken up the challenge to answer these charges in his book: Is God A Moral Monster?
Mr. Copan is not afraid to tackle all the difficult questions. He stresses that we must understand not only the Biblical context of such sections of Scripture but also the historical and cultural context. For example, in the story of Joshua conquering Jericho, he points out that Jericho was a military target, not a civilian city. He also shows from Scripture and history that statements like 'killing all the men, women and children" were common expressions of complete victory, not necessarily literal statements.
While I applaud Mr. Copan's efforts to defend the Bible, and he does have many good points, I do have some serious objections to this book. My objections revolve around Mr. Copan's understanding of the Law of God and its application in modern society.
Take this statement for example: "The same goes for the law of Moses: it was never intended to be enduring. It looked forward to a new covenant Jer. 31; Eek. 36. It's not that the Mosaic law was bad and therefore needed to be replaced. The law was good Rom. 7:12. but it was a temporary measure that was less than ideal; it was in need of replacement and fulfillment."
This seems to me to be a direct contradiction of Jesus' statement: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will be any means disappear from the Law until everything has been accomplished." Matt. 5:17-18, NIV
God is eternal. His Word is eternal. Just because we may not understand some of the laws or how they apply to us today does not mean they are invalid. In my opinion, this type of reasoning undermines Scripture. It doesn't believe God is capable of creating moral laws that would apply to all humanity for all of time. I explain my position on the Law of God in my free course: Master Life.
While Is God A Moral Moral Monster? is an interesting book to read and makes many valid points; in my opinion, it has serious errors. A person can not truly defend God's character and the Scripture while doing away with Biblical Law.