An argument for a fuller conception of the biblical God, emphasizing the deity’s fearsome judgment.
Debut author Yohn contends that the prevailing understanding of God today is a sanitized one. The emphasis on God’s love, tolerance, and mercy, he says, comes at the expense of acknowledging his unyielding demands for obedience and his promise of eventual judgment. Instead of looking to the deity for authoritative guidance, the author notes, far too many people rely upon their own vacillating opinions as their primary moral compass: “people speak what they want to believe is true about the Lord instead of how God has disclosed himself to them.” However, according to Yohn, it’s impossible to truly understand God, or navigate an often dark world, without accepting that one’s life culminates in a verdict on one’s earthly rectitude. The author scours the Bible to defend his depiction of God and discusses various ways in which one can interpret the titular fear. He also provides textual evidence for his view that God’s ultimate judgment is inevitable, and not one to be understood in allegorical terms. In Yohn’s interpretation, life is largely a morally grim trial, and the only hope for mankind is submission to God’s will. The author makes a compelling case that the biblical God is a more complex figure than often surmised, and that some Christian denominations whitewash the Bible’s austere worldview. However, a more sustained analysis of the differences between the depictions of God in the Old and New Testament seems in order, as well as an expanded discussion of biblical hermeneutics. Also, the author can be remarkably strident in his conclusions, labeling dissent “nonsense” and defining a “psychologically healthy person” as one who’s obedient to God.
A provocative, revisionist interpretation of the Bible, vitiated by hyperbolic overstatement.