March 25, 2001 / Volume 1, Issue 3
THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
A God of war or a God of peace? Moses recorded, "The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name." (Exodus 15:3) Paul wrote, "Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen." (Romans 15:33) How can God be "a man of war" and "a God of peace" also?
Is there a contradiction?
Any statement taken out of context can be miscontrued, and set at odds with another context liberated statement. Thus, consider the context of Exodus 15:3. After 400 years of captivity in the land of Egypt, the Lord delivered His people by His servant Moses. As the Israelites departed, the Egyptians pursued. All of God's people having safely passed through the Red Sea on dry ground, the Lord caused the waters of the sea to crash upon the Pharaoh's armies, destroying them. Thus, Moses and the children of Israel broke out in song, glorifying the God of their salvation. As they sang, they declared, "...The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name."
In Romans 15:33, Paul speaks of "...the God of peace..." He is able to effectuate peace between men of different nations (Colossians 1:20-22; Romans 5:1). He has provided the means by which man can have peace with God (Ephesians 2:13-16). So great is His peace, that it "...surpasses all understanding..." (Philippians 4:7).
Moses saw God as "...a man of war...", having been witness to the deliverence of God's people from the Egyptians. Paul proclaimed Him to be "...the God of peace...", mindful of the reconciliaton which He bestows through Christ Jesus. Two entirely different perspectives of the Lord, but both 100 % correct.
There is no contradiction.
This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible