excerpted from “the Gospel According to Moses” by Athol Dickson
Paradox of Fertility – God commands to be fruitful and multiply yet chooses barren women to birth his people…Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel. A nation born of barren wombs.
Paradox of Obedience – Abraham is commanded to sacrifice his son which contradicts God’s command not to commit murder. God condemns the act of building golden calf, a graven image (idol) yet commands them to melt down and fashion cherubim for the ark…also a bronze serpent to look upon. God commands Israelites not to seek revenge then orders them to destroy the Midianites in the name of vengeance. It seems to obey is to disobey at times.
Paradox of the Promise – God promises to “give” Canaan to Abraham but then he must pay dearly for a burial spot for Sarah and later Israelites must fight and die to take it. How could it be considered a gift when it must be bought with gold and lives?
Paradox of Blessing – God promises Abraham that “all peoples on the earth will be blessed through you and your offspring,” yet before entering the promised land he commands Abraham’s offspring to completely destroy the pagan people living there. That’s more of a curse for those people.
Paradox of Omnipresence – God is said to be omnipresent but the Torah is filled with descriptions of him coming and going on earth.
Paradox of the Red Heifer – throughout Mosaic law people must be ceremonially pure before they BRING sacrifices to the temple and priests must be purified before they can OFFER sacrifices at the temple. It’s clear sacrifices are to be made at the altar of the tabernacle only. BUT Numbers 19, the red heifer sacrifices reverses everything. It’s outside the camp, the priests must be purified after it and people are purified as a result of the offering.
Paradox of Justice and Mercy – Torah defines justice as “show no pity. Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth…” It is an unforgiving standard, yet elsewhere scripture tells us we should “act justly and love mercy”
New Testament paradoxes – p. 69 NT is full of Jesus’ paradoxical statements. Love God with all your heart…but them love your neighbor as you LOVE YOURSELF. They he commands them to HATE father, mother, wife and children, brothers, sisters, even his own life.