christianity ethics philosophy theology

loving wrath

If God indeed has a goal for human flourishing (‘fruitfulness’) and peace (‘shalom’), then it would be entirely sensible for God (in God’s own unique, supra-human, transcendent, eternal, continual, etc. kind of way) to be ‘angered’ or ‘wrathful’ toward actions (and persons bent on these actions) that destroy and prevent this goal from being realised with the freedom given to creatures.  Picture an elaborate meal that you prepared for guests to enjoy, only for them to arrive bloated and drunk and immediately turn the evening into a chaotic food fight.

While a God who was only characterised by this kind of wrathful anger would indeed be scary (hurray for the Christian God being both wrathful and merciful, patient, forgiving and gracious), it seems that a God who did not perfectly hate dehumanising behaviour would not be a very pro-human God.

3 replies on “loving wrath”

Isn’t this a little like arguing that because the Catholic church feeds the poor we should ignore the paedophilia? God in the Bible commands the wholesale slaughter of INFANTS. This apparently from the same God who has the power to stop them being born in the first place which would have been an entirely economical and merciful solution to whatever problem was being solved. And yet he commands other people to carry out this monstrosity. Pro-human?

This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’ ” — 1 Samuel 15:2-3

I don’t see the connection at all with poor-feeding/paedophilia? The post isn’t an exercise in biblical theology (and it certainly isn’t about how to understand such passages as you refer to), but merely a stand-alone logical statement arguing that a loving God must be also wrathful. The opposite of love is not wrath, but indifference.

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