I want to open a real debate on the ideas of God in the Bible. Many people, who professed to be Christian, still has a primitive and even dangerous conceptions of God. So we must clarify some things once and for all!
The Bible must be read at different levels, more or less profound, more or less corresponding to the reality of things. When I speak of reality I am referring here to the nature of God in itself unknowable. In the Bible we find different conceptions about this.
According the scholars, the Bible was written between the VIII BC and II AD. In the antiquity people had a primitive idea of God. But this is not a general rule. In fact, the prophet Hosea – who lived in the VIII century BC – had a very positive idea of God, related to mercy and to defense of the poor. However, approaching to the birth of Christ, God’s idea begun to change. In the Book of Wisdom – a book of the Old Testament – God is presented as a life’s lover and he doesn’t enjoy about the man’s ruin (e.g. Wisdom 1 and 11). The images of God are part of the kaleidoscope of Bible’s authors conceptions.
Many of the Bibles authors had been exiled to Babylon and experimented upon himself the failure of having entrusted to politicians (the kings of Israel and Judah) more than to God. They thought that God had abandoned them and punished them through the exile … but the exile was due to wrong human choices and not to an evil sent by God! If you don’t consider these human factors you misunderstands the nature itself of Bible and Religion!
Obviously things are not as linear as I have described, because in every book are recognizable various redactional stages, in Wisdom’s book too. Even in it authors speak about punishment, but always in reference to the past, as a back-prophecy about human behavior (for example, the Egyptians, e.g. Wisdom 18) who caused many problems in the past. A past that can become again a sad reality in the present!