Q. Let us suppose for a moment that there is a moral structure to the universe God has created, and even perhaps that ‘the arc of history tends towards justice’, though I am less sure of that last idea than the first one. Paul says ‘whatsoever you sow that you shall also reap’. Now what this seems to suggest, as a book like Proverbs intimates is that a lot of this language about divine violence, should actually be seen as a personalized way of talking about how God has structured life so that there are moral consequences to our actions, and in the end, final consequences at the last judgment. ‘Be sure your sins will find you out.’ If this is correct, then a fair bit of the language about divine violence is actually about inevitable justice, and not about God personally intervening in history again and again and bopping people on the head who misbehave. The example of Job makes my point— actually it’s not God who messes with Job directly, its Ha Satan, though God gives him permission to do it. The further we go in the canon the less the tendency to attribute everything to God’s direct action, and the better sense of secondary causes the Biblical writers reflect. A God of judgment is one thing. A God of direct violence against humanity is another. What would you say to this reading of the data (and I am not here referring to God intervening and rescuing his people from harm, but God himself intervening and doing harm)??? [Here again, see Heiser’s The Unseen Realm]
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