The Violence of God and Theodicy: Exploring Through The Heavenly Council and Angelology in the Old Testament.
The God in the Old Testament is violent. As a result, the texts of the Old Testament were significantly influenced by a theological system that embraced the concept of theodicy. This paper aims to explore the theological framework of angelology, which expanded to provide further protection for Yahweh. Specifically, it focuses on the angelology found in apocalyptic literature that emerged after the Exile, serving as a defence mechanism for the monotheistic faith in Yahweh. And it seeks to support this argument by analysing the main passages of the heavenly council in the Old Testament.
Apocalyptic literature presents an expanded role for celestial beings, along with a postponed eschaton, allowing Yahweh to be shielded from the criticism and resentment of his people in various ways. Notably, these characteristics found in apocalyptic texts contribute to the theological system known as theodicy. The key passages of the heavenly council in the Old Testament, such as 1 Kings 22:19-23, Isaiah 6, Job 1&2, Psalm 82, Zechariah 3, and Daniel 7:9-14, consistently tackle the problem of evil and prominently feature divine beings, providing evidence of the close relationship between expanded angelology and theodicy.
Interestingly, due to the monotheistic belief system, celestial beings that were suppressed unexpectedly assume prominent positions and engage in activities within the heavenly council texts. Simultaneously, they are portrayed as responsible for violence and evil. This contrasts with the monotheistic belief in Yahweh, who governs both light and darkness, offering a means to escape direct accountability for violence and evil. The apocalyptic literature that emerged after the period of captivity, marked by national disasters, and the composition of the heavenly council texts, influenced by personal and societal suffering, share a common problem - the crisis of monotheistic faith in Yahweh.
Ultimately, the ancient Israelite monotheistic religious system, facing instability, gradually incorporated elements of polytheism to provide stability amidst the crisis. Other divine beings served as protective shields, safeguarding Yahweh from fierce criticism.