Sjolander Road Fellowship




Declaring the God of Unconditional Love

the route to glory

3/15/12

Many seem to believe that God is somehow glorified in the exercise of wrath and destruction. As the omnipotent one, God must logically display that power in some dramatic way, using divine violence to deal with evil. Otherwise, what is the purpose of such power, if not to be used for ultimate good, and what better way to do good than to totally destroy the source of evil, namely evil men. So goes the apparent thinking of many Christians, supported in large measure by their traditional understanding of the Bible with its misapplied references to divine judgment.

As I consider this supposed route to glory, a couple of questions come to mind. First of all I must ask if God can really be exalted in the eyes of men by a demonstration of His ability to destroy. Some might attempt to counter this question by saying that God does not seek man's approval or respect, so the question is irrelevant. My response would be this: Exaltation must exist in the eyes of an audience or observer. In whose eyes would God's glorification exist if not in those of men?

Can a man be exalted for killing a defenseless child or insect? That would be an apt analogy for an omnipotent God who kills or destroys a man. Where is the glory in such a mismatch? There is none.

Secondly, I consider the words of the Apostle Paul when he noted the difference between the carnal mind and the spiritual mind. I believe that Paul alludes to two different ways of thinking which lead to dramatically different modes of living. I then ask myself which mind believes in glorification by wrath and destruction? Is it the carnal mind or the spiritual one? I believe it is fairly clear that carnal thinking is the kind that relishes wrath and violence as the road to glory. There is nothing exceptional or high minded about a reliance on redemptive violence as the solution to evil.

Given these issues, is there a conceivable way that God could be glorified in dealing with sinfulness and evil? How could God deal with sin and thereby be exalted in the eyes of men? Unsurprisingly, the possible way is precisely what we see in the teachings of Jesus. God's glory comes not from His ability to destroy but in His promise to transform man, to develop him into a creature of fully realized potential. God is ultimately glorified in His restraint, in His renouncing of the power to destroy, in His demonstration of unrelenting love. God's nature is that of creator. His purpose is always to grow the creation, to foster its evolution to a higher state. Ultimate destruction would be an admission of failure and hardly the source of glorification.