God Doesn’t Do Waste, Or Does God?

I’m not one to go picking theological fights with the likes of Rowan Williams, but I do have some questions about his New Year’s message. The Archbishop, who is “first among equals,” of the world’s 77 million Anglicans, brings the basic message that in our disposable culture we moderns consume, and waste, much, from plastic […]

I’m not one to go picking theological fights with the likes of Rowan Williams, but I do have some questions about his New Year’s message.

The Archbishop, who is “first among equals,” of the world’s 77 million Anglicans, brings the basic message that in our disposable culture we moderns consume, and waste, much, from plastic bags to personal relationships.

This isn’t what God does, thank heavens, Williams writes:

“Christians, like Jews and many other religious people too, talk a lot about God as ‘faithful’. God is involved in ‘building to last’, in creating a sustainable world and sustainable relationships with us human beings. He doesn’t give up on the material of human lives. He doesn’t throw it all away and start again. And he asks us to approach one another and our physical world with the same commitment.”

But to me, this doesn’t quite ring true. The God of the Old Testament was willing to flood and dispose of the world entire, save for one honest man named Noah and a mangy menagerie. In the Book of Exodus, God threatens to destroy the stubborn Israelites until Moses pleads for mercy.

“I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

I can cite numerous other examples of prophets and kings beseeching God not to throw their people to the dogs. Sometimes God shows mercy, sometimes not.

Now my question is: Is that Old Testament God still around, or did the New Testament make that God disposable?