In the last couple of posts I have skirted around some major theological whirlpools: God and time, foreknowledge, mutability, divine/human nature of Scripture to mention just a few. It is wise to skirt around them cos to jump in with definitive responses will only reveal (briefly) that I am not too smart before I disappear through a combination of one of the above mentioned whirlpools. So a final skirt around:
So much of the ‘what do we make of those texts’ comes down to what God I believe in, or what kind of God do I want to believe in. There is a dialogue between my reading of Scripture and the God I believe in. Scripture informs me of who God is, but then this God I am informed about shapes my reading of Scripture. At best a hermeneutical spiral, at worst everything (Bible texts) and everyone (God and the world) are conformed to my way of seeing things. So to simplify things, it seems we either circulate around the ‘power’ or the ‘love’ axis.
The power axis gives a confidence. We are on the winning side, God will deal with evil and all evildoers. He will crush Satan, and through his Son will rule the nations with a rod of iron. He will restore all things to their right order. He is he almighty One, and demands (rightly) obedience.
The love axis can seem a little weak by comparison. I, unlike all others(!!), am biased so in writing I inevitably caricature certain positions, so bear with me.
The love axis. Love has to be defined. It is not love that is a doormat love, it is a strong love… but it is love. It is not a violence, a revengeful love (oh and I have read ‘vengeance is mine’). At the center of the Universe, I suggest, is a flow of love, not a flow of power. God is defined by love. Only a politics of love, not of justice, will prove sufficient. Only love can hold out for a win-win scenario. Only love can get dirty, compromise, be criticised and come out the other side clean, and take out of the dirt what we never thought was there. In the end it is not simply that we win. We discover somehow there is a win-win situation all round. Love will produce more than power ever could. It will resolve more and at a deeper level.
It is for this reason that I tentatively do my labelling / re-labelling of Scripture. It is for this reason that I am looking for a Saviour from heaven. And it is for this reason that I fall short.