My father used to hit me. He would daily leave my mother to raise us kids, and I once saw him kill a helpless animal with his bare hands. With that information you could understandably come to the conclusion that my father was a tyrant.
But listen to some missing information. If I ever lied or stole, my dad cared enough to correct me on the seat of my learning, and for that I greatly respected him and stayed on the straight and narrow. The reason he left my mom each day was to work hard as a carpenter and provide food for our table. And that animal he killed…it was a large bird that had been struck by a car and had been left to die on the side of the road. He put the poor animal out of its misery, and it grieved him to do so.
With that knowledge you can now see that my dad wasn’t a tyrant. He was a loving and kind father.
Richard Dawkins believes that God is more than just a tyrant. He said:
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
But there’s some missing information he’s not giving you that changes everything…for those who will listen.
This same morally perfect and holy Creator (whose seeming harsh judgments were always “righteous and true altogether”) became a morally perfect human being. He did this to save us from the same just wrath that spilled upon the wicked nations of the Old Testament. Most of us know that Jesus of Nazareth gave His life as a sacrifice for the sin of the world. What they don’t know is that we violated God’s Law (the Ten Commandments) and justly deserve the wrath of the moral Law, but Jesus paid our fine in full. That means that God can legally dismiss our case. He can commute our death sentence and let us live forever, because our fine was paid by Another who then rose from the dead.
The same holy God who considers lust to be adultery and hatred to be murder, made provision for His great love and mercy to be extended towards those who repent and trust in the Savior. For the Christian, the cross of Jesus Christ shows that God isn’t the wicked tyrant that foolish and ignorant men make Him out to be. It is the missing information that changes everything.