Kristin Swenson, A Most Peculiar Book: The Inherent Strangeness of the Bible (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020), 59.
The Bible simply doesn’t portray a perfectly consistent, laudable, and powerful deity. In the Bible, even the nature of God is a messy affair. What’s a reader to do? First, recognize that the Bible blows away any effort to stuff God into a box of human making, the better to tote around and show off, or presume to quote with definitive confidence. The Bible itself undermines the popular declaration “God said it. I believe it. That settles it.”
What we can say is that the Bible portrays a God who is neither male nor female; who is both out there in cosmic neverland and right here, immediately, intimately present; who is punitive and forgiving, capable of experiencing a range of emotions, deeply interested and invested in the affairs of earth, and wildly, extraordinarily dynamic. In other words, the Bible’s representations of God reflect the Bible’s wide-ranging history, its literary diversity and the driving urge of human beings to find our place and purpose and to make some sense of it all.