Matthew Lynch – Flood and Fury

Matthew Lynch – Flood and Fury

In this episode, Kenny and Matt Lynch discussed passages in the Old Testament like the flood and the conquest of Canaan, that on the surface contain moments of troubling violence. But Matt contends that a closer and slower reading of passages like these can actually reveal a critique of violence and show us more of the goodness and mercy of God. We hope this episode will help bring some clarity to some of the difficult questions raised when we read the Old Testament, particularly in light of the God we see revealed in Jesus Christ.

Dr Matthew Lynch is associate professor of Old Testament at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. Before that, he was Dean of Studies and resident Old Testament expert at WTC. He is the author of First Isaiah and the Disappearance of the Gods, Portraying Violence in the Hebrew Bible, and most recently, Flood and Fury: Old Testament Violence and the Shalom of God. Matt is also the co-founder of the OnScript Podcast, which focuses on providing engaging conversations on the Bible and theology, and we highly recommend you listen to them as well.

Episode 18 Outline:
  • Start-01:31 – Introduction.
  • 01:31-04:54 – Welcome to Matt and 3 questions.
  • 05:03-13:33 – What led you to write Flood and Fury? Is the Old Testament a language we don’t understand anymore? How has our discomfort around the passages of violence contributed to our general inability to connect with the Old Testament? What kind of approach you would advocate for when reading violent texts?
  • 13:41-30:36 You help to sharpen our focus on the contrast between shalom and violence presented in Genesis 1–11. How does this reframe the dilemma God faces in the flood narrative? In reading the Book of Joshua, can you help us make sense of how God would command Israel to totally destroy the Canaanites, including men, women, children, and animals?
  • 30:45-34:02 – I was struck by your observation that Jesus shows us the kind of person it’s possible to become with a deep immersion in, and understanding of, the Hebrew Bible. That must mean there’s hope for us as his disciples? How does the character of God revealed in Jesus act as a culmination of the Old Testament narrative instead of being in conflict with it? How would you encourage people to engage more with the Old Testament?
  • 34:02-End – Close and further information.
NEXT EPISODE – Jack Johnson on an Exploration of Prayer

What do we do with a God who sanctions violence?    

Old Testament violence proves one of the most troubling topics in the Bible. Too often, the explanations for the brutality in Scripture fail to adequately illustrate why God would sanction such horrors on humanity. These unanswered questions leave readers frustrated and confused, leading some to even walk away from their faith.

In Flood and Fury, Old Testament scholar Matthew Lynch approaches two of the most violent passages in the Old Testament – the Flood and the Canaanite conquest – and offers a way forward that doesn’t require softening or ignoring the most troubling aspects of these stories. While acknowledging the persistent challenge of violence in Scripture, Flood and Fury contends that reading with the grain of the text yields surprising insights into the goodness and the mercy of God. Through his exploration of themes related to violence including misogyny, racism, and nationalism, Lynch shows that these violent stories illuminate significant theological insights that we might miss with a surface reading.

Flood and Fury challenges us to let go of the need to rescue the Old Testament from itself and listen afresh to its own critiques on violence.

Buy Flood and Fury HERE.

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Matthew Lynch – Flood and Fury

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