One of the Oswalt quotes noted last week demonstrates how unbelief can distort a scholar’s understanding of Scripture.
It is hard to understand how those who can assert that the theological function of this passage [Isa 36-37 / 2 Kings 18-19] is to claim that God acts in history can then assert with equal force that God did not act in this event (cf. Clements). If they do so to demonstrate that biblical theology is self-discredited, that is one thing. But to speak of the worth of the theology while denying its evidence is very odd indeed.
Oswalt, Isaiah, NICOT, 1:638, n.21
Other examples of this abound if one looks for them. Here are a few others.
In commenting on Ezekiel’s charge as a watchman, Zimmerli, Ezekiel, 2.185, speaks of ‘the complete irrationality of the divine activity.’ He refers to God’s first commissioning a foe against his people and then sending a watchman to warn them. ‘Such is the divine logic!’ says Zimmerli. This bold exclamation minimizes the justice of God in bringing judgment on the persistently wicked, the mercy of God in not taking pleasure in the death of the wicked (33:11), and the full responsibility of every human being for his own actions.
Robertson, Christ of the Prophets, 295, n. 30
Or note the contrast between the critical and evangelical commentators on Ecclesiastes 2:26:
Qohelet’s positive counsel rests under a cloud. The ability to enjoy life is not in anyone’s power, coming as a gift from God.
Crenshaw, Ecclesiastes, OTL, 89
The final verdict of ‘vanity’ refers to the arbitrary (from the human standpoint) action of God who does as he pleases.
Murphy, Ecclesiastes, WBC, 26-27
This verse does not present God as capricious but does relate to the biblical idea of the grace of God. To believe that one’s life is ruled by impersonal fate is intolerable; to believe that one’s life is controlled by a personal God is a comfort.
Garrett, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, NAC, 296
All these commentators are looking at the same data, but the evangelical sees God’s grace whereas the liberals see a capricious god.