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Why was the New Testament not written as is from the start?

Postby Never Stop Learning » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:21 pm

Why was the New Testament not written as is from the start?

Just to give some background. I was raised in a Christian household but have been struggling with my faith for a long time. I ask questions simply to understand better. I was taught that God knows the future and the past. Especially our future. [this might be wrong as I continue to question everything I was taught and read at a greater rate than I can reach answers] So my question is: If God is omnipresent and knows everything why dose the OT and NT differ in the first place. If God knew that we would be sinners and that he would have to send his Son to die for our sins why go through all the trouble to have all the OT rules just to contradict Himself with the NT and in the process confuse people like me? In other words why have all the rules and laws in the OT to just change it so that we are now bound by the new covenant. Thanks for any input.
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Re: Why was the New Testament not written as is from the sta

Postby jimwalton » Sun Mar 10, 2019 2:25 pm

> If God is omnipresent and knows everything why dose the OT and NT differ in the first place.

First of all, omnipresent means He's everywhere at the same time. I think you mean "omniscient," which means He knows everything.

Why do the OT & NT differ? Only because God reveals Himself progressively: a little at a time in appropriate amounts. He always reveals enough of Himself to be known by anyone (Rom. 1.20), but progressively in sequence. To Adam (Gn. 1-2), then more to Noah (Gn. 6-9), then more to Abraham (Gn. 12-15), then more to Moses (Ex. 3), and more and more (through Exodus), then more through the prophets (the rest of the OT), until in the fullness of time He revealed himself in a person, Jesus (the Gospels), after which Paul (pretty much the rest of the NT) explains to us a lot more so we understand Jesus better. It's not a matter of either/or (OT & NT), but of both. They only differ because one points to Jesus and the other explains Jesus.

> If God knew that we would be sinners and that he would have to send his Son to die for our sins why go through all the trouble to have all the OT rules just to contradict Himself with the NT and in the process confuse people like me?

From the beginning of time God had made the plan of sending Jesus. It was just as much a part of the OT as of the NT. All the "rules" were the revelation of God in a particular people (the Israelites) playing itself through history. It was done that way to (1) reveal God in history, (2) teach them in their cultural context about God, and (3) to teach us (after the fact of Jesus) about how God reveals Himself in history.

But there are no contradictions between the OT and the NT. It's a matter of progressive revelation, and of prediction and fulfillment. If you're confused, let's talk more.

> In other words why have all the rules and laws in the OT to just change it so that we are now bound by the new covenant.

Jesus fulfilled the law in that He did what the law failed to do: showed people how to live. The law was a temporary measure—God wanted to tell His people that they should have certain attitudes. He did that by commanding actions (the law) with the idea that they would see the attitudes behind them. They failed. Christ, on the other hand, preached the attitudes (Matthew 5) but more importantly lived an example of the proper attitudes (Philippians 2.5-8) as well as the proper actions (John 8.46), thus accomplishing what the law failed to accomplish. So the rule of thumb now is to follow Christ’s example. We can, in that sense, ignore the law, because if we follow Christ’s example, we’ll get the actions of the law and the attitudes of the heart. Since the law was supposed to reflect the right attitudes, starting with the right attitudes will more often than not bring about actions that are in keeping with the law. But we don’t do them because of the law; we do them because that is what godly attitudes bring about. So all of the law was fulfilled in Christ and our behavior now is not based at all on the law but on Jesus’s example (cf. Romans 13.8-10). The coinciding with many points of the law is to be expected, but we are not living by even that section of law.

The "rules" of the OT tell us a LOT about God and His values, priorities, and person. They will an important role that would have been missed is God didn't go through that step. Jesus, didn't "change" it, per se, but fulfilled it. With the foundation of the "rules" we can understand the life. Without the life, it would all be rules; without the rules, we wouldn't understand the life.

Maybe this would help: let's play football. First, let's just play; I won't bother to tell you the rules. Silly, right? Second, let's learn the rules, but never play. Stupid, right? The NT makes better sense of the OT; the OT is explained by the NT.
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