Jay Bakker writing in “Fall to Grace” re: the judgmental God of the Old Testament vs. the forgiving God of the New:
So how do we make sense of these seemingly contradictory glimpses of God? Recent scholars …have suggested that we start by plotting God’s actions on a time line. When we do, we see that there’s a clear evolution in our descriptions of God – a trajectory that points inexorably from judgment and punishment in the distant past through time toward forgiveness and all-encompassing love. It’s not a divide between Old Testament and New, but rather a narrative that unfolds throughout the course of the Bible.
That’s right: Our understanding of God (though not God Himself) changes over time. And we find the fullest expression of His compassionate nature in Christ. By sending His only Son to live among us as a human, God revolutionized His relationship with us. he showed His true nature as clearly as He could: “Jesus,” [Brian] MacLaren writes, “gives us the highest, deepest and most mature view of the character of the living God.“