I realized the other day why I am having such a struggle writing this book on the violence of God in the Old Testament.
The reason is because the process of grappling with this issue is requiring me to rethink, rewrite, and redo nearly all of my theology. I feel like I am starting all over from the very beginning.
So far, my study of the violence of God has caused me to rethink these areas of theology:
- Theology Proper – this one is a given. I am trying to write about God, after all.
- Bibliology – I have had to raise questions about inspiration and inerrancy
- Pneumatology – My study of inspiration led me to look deeper into the Spirit’s role in the world and throughout history, especially as a revealer of truth.
- Christology – I have had to learn to refocus all my theology upon the cross of Jesus Christ, and have come to see Jesus as the center of God’s revelation, the lens by which Scripture is read, and truly the “image of the invisible God.”
- Soteriology – If God is nonviolent, then what does this say about the violence within the penal substitutionary view of the atonement? Also, what about the eternal violence of hell? I am grappling with both these issues.
- Ecclesiology – If God is not violent, then what does this mean for the church’s place in the world, especially regarding war and patriotism? Also, what does it mean to follow Jesus nonviolently?
- Eschatology – Not only do I have to rethink hell (mentioned above), but all my beliefs about the End Times as well. If God is non violent, will the Second Coming of Jesus truly be with violence?
- Anthropology – My study of nonviolence has required me to realize that if violence does not come at the command of God, then it must come from the heart of man. This raises serious questions about the condition of humanity in general.
- Angelology – The study of violence has led into deep reading and thinking about the dominions, powers, and authorities of this world, and how these things are related to the destroyer, satan, and demons, and violence in general.
This is why I feel so overwhelmed all the time with this project! It often feels like the ground has opened up beneath me, like all my reading, study, and learning up to this point has been for nothing, and that I am beginning all over again.
So thanks for being patient with me as I “think out loud” on this blog, and as my writing projects get posted in bits and pieces, and as some posts seem to contradict something I wrote earlier. We’re all thinking about this together, and I appreciate your input and you being willing to walk with me through these questions!