On justice and judgment

From Andre:

A further thought on justice – because it’s on my mind and is integral to understanding judgment:

Traditional Hell is not justice. It is merely torture to no end. The biblical idea of justice does not mean punishment to no end – it means making things right. It is restorative. The notion of restoration does not proceed from human thinking but has come to us through the expression of God’s character. Only God has to the power to truly make everything right, and he has promised that he will. Punishment that is not restorative is not a godly notion, but a human one. Anyone can do it. But in Christ, who neither condemned the woman caught in adultery, nor the schemers who dragged her before him, we have been shown a better way. Conviction and return to God are better than condemnation and destruction. (link)

Interestingly, I was reading Elizabeth Achtemeier’s Preaching the Hard Texts of the Old Testament tonight and she mentioned that the Hebrew word used for “judge” is also often used for “save”.  There may be some correlation there, though I realize in Greek (the language of the New Testament) it might be a different story.


(Incidentally, the quote above was tacked on the end of a good review of Gregory MacDonald’s The Evangelical Universalist, which I have yet to finish reading.  That’s what I get for all the browsing I do.)

(And one of these days I’ll post something original.)

5 thoughts on “On justice and judgment

  1. Don Hendricks

    See Presence.tv for a comprehensive development of this idea, that the first century was an age ending epoch that brought God into the presence of every human being through the final judgment of the law covenant. All things were made new, qualitatively in the finished work of Christ, and more fully in the judgment of God upon the nation in 70 ad.

  2. Toni

    While I can see punishment that is designed to be restorative in the bible, I also punishment that is meant to be destructive, and does not offer an opportunity for restoration. The fate of Achan and Judas spring to mind – especially bear in mind that Judas was selected for failure and destruction before he was even born.

    From Gods perspective, is eternal suffering unjust based on the choice of rejecting Jesus?

  3. Marc Vandersluys

    Obviously, I don’t know if it is from God’s perspective.

    However, the concern of (human) Universalists and Annihilationists, and I’m sure many others who haven’t committed to those particular views, is that eternal punishment seems grossly disproportionate for an 80 or 90 or possibly a 100 year lifetime.

    I can’t help but think of the laws of Moses, wherein the punishment is commensurate to the crime (“an eye for an eye”). And then I think of Jesus’ reworking of that law, in which he says, in effect, “An eye for an eye? That’s not how it’s going to work in the Kingdom of God”.

    That may be a simplistic reading, but it’s what comes to mind.

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