Tuesday, 12 March 2013

An honest answer re the vicious God of the OT

Having previously repudiated God's wrath as barbaric and completely unworthy of a God of love, Miroslav Volf later changed his tune (partly I think given the horrible things he'd witnessed in his country of birth). Volf wrote:
Though I used to complain about the indecency of the idea of God's wrath, I came to think that I would have to rebel against a God who wasn't wrathful at the sight of the world's evil. God isn't wrathful in spite of being love. God is wrathful because God is love.
In other words, encountering reality can sometimes be a good corrective to faulty doctrine. It's like the comedian who once confessed to being very liberal, until he was burgled, whereupon, he found himself a supporter of capital punishment! When you think of some of the recent horrific stories in the Church (e.g. Cardinal O'Brien's confessions about inappropriate sexual behaviour) and outside it (e.g. the BBC and the Jimmy Savile debacle) you would have to be frigid soul to not want justice to be done and the perpetrators punished. When God encounters gross wickedness and perverse sinfulness, He doesn't respond by doting on the perpetrators in a grandfatherly fashion. No! God's fierce anger is kindled. As Psalm 7 says:

God is a righteous judge,
    a God who displays his wrath every day.
If he does not relent,
    he will sharpen his sword;
    he will bend and string his bow.
He has prepared his deadly weapons;
    he makes ready his flaming arrows.

Miroslav Volf is right: God isn't wrathful in spite of being love. God is wrathful because God is love.

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