Did God tell Moses to kill a man for picking up sticks on the Sabbath? That’s the question raised in a debate between Steve Chalke and Andrew Wilson for Premier Radio. Wilson answers the question in the reformed evangelical way by saying ‘yes’. This is a problem. If this happened, God is unchanging, and the Bible reveals him then he has to be a God who will kill people for arbitrary reasons.
Chalke answers the question differently.
The Bible is a narrative that reveals God via progressive revelation, and Jesus is the pinnacle of this revelation. When we understand this we see that Moses’ view of God was incomplete and tainted. What he heard God say was interpreted through this imperfect lens and subsequently and man was killed in the name of God when he should not have been.
We do not have to tie ourselves in knots by believing that the Old Testament perfectly reveals who God is. The Bible is a library of various accounts of who God is that eventually converge on Jesus. He gives us the correct lens to view God through.