In the Song of the Israelites, after they have passed the Red Sea, it says that “The Lord is a Warrior”.

Wolfhart Pannenberg, a famous German theologian, says: It is only gradually that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob becomes the One God of all the world.

This text belongs to the starting point. There are images of the Lord as a warrior God in the Hebrew Bible. Some historians of the Hebrew Bible have said that Yahweh originally was a God of War, and later developed into the God we know from Christianity and later Judaism.

I think the OT reads more easily this way than by trying to harmonise very different texts and images of God. A concept of gradual, historical revelation also makes it much easier to deal with difficult texts, which are theologically or ethically problematic.

My primary need is not a God of war. I wish for other ways of solving conflicts. In Congo, maybe, or in Sudan, people might need a champion or protector, but also in these places, peace is the real need.

People with a high view of every biblical text’s relevance might find it more problematic reading these texts than I. Being a historically conscious reader of the Bible has its advantages.