EASTER SUNDAY–March 31, 2013
God is not nonviolent, in principle, regardless of the strange insistence by many theologians (especially from the peace traditions) that He is. Or what about the Deluge, or Sodom & Gomorrah, or the Ten Plagues on Egypt, or the curse lists of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 27-28, or Psalm 136, or the Exile, or the Destruction of Jerusalem and Second Temple in 70 A.D., or the Lake of Fire? And I’m just getting a running start! (Here see Caleb F. Heppner’s article, “A Covenantal View of Atonement,” accessible online using my “biblioroll” at the right.) Of course God is “violent”…when he needs to be! The overreaction of Anabaptist authors is quite understandable, but simply indefensible from Scripture (either “Testament”). Their overreaction, however, actually threatens to discredit the whole thrust of their argumentation, which would be equally unjustified. Such overreaction, it seems to me, mush be viewed as sinful—a failure to honor all of Scripture fairly and evenhandedly.
The covenantal structure of all Scripture clearly apportions God’s actions in response to those of mortal, fallible human beings, and is intended to discipline them in righteousness and wholesomeness. Covenantal logic will keep us straight on the matter of God’s employment and perfectly righteous control of both good and evil. [5/16/06]
Raymund Schwager’s notion of “self-aggression” by Jesus if he “participated in his own death” is invalid. It surely results from an overreaction against God’s use of violence, legitimate violence. This overreaction then proceeds to blind him to the fact that Messiah blood is indeed sacrificial, in continuity with the Old Testament sacrifices, and that Messiah did indeed acquiesce in the violence done to him (although not as if to endorse it—by no means!). For in its RESURRECTIONARY REVERSAL on the third day, “according to Scripture,” GOD SWEPT THE ENORMITY OF THE CRIME INTO OBLIVION!
This is all that was necessary to exonerate both the Father and the Son of any complicity in the wrong committed by Israel and the Romans (cf. John 10:17-18, 19:11, 2 Thess. 1:4-10). (See J. Denny Weaver’s discussion of Schwager’s position, The Nonviolent Atonement, 2nd ed. [Eerdmans, 2011 (2001)], pp 57-60.) [5/16/06]
Regardless of the error of “penal satisfaction” in relation to the cross of Messiah, we may yet speak of “judicial satisfaction” by what shortly followed. For God could never be ‘satisfied’ to allow the penal verdict and punitive sentence against His just and sinless Son to stand without objection and correction. So He RADICALLY REVERSED IT…AND JUST IN TIME FOR EASTER SUNDAY! FOR TRUE JUSTICE HAD TO BE SATISFIED. And so it was. [5/16/06]