Facebook comment threads are a lot like a really bad freeway accident. As much as you know you shouldn’t be looking, you simply cannot tear your eyes away from the wreck.
I fell victim to “rubbernecking” by reading all 30+ comments on one picture that descended into absolute argumentative chaos. For the Christians and the non-Christians alike it all boiled down to love. God loves love, so therefore I’m right.
It is entirely true, God is love. The Christian who denies this point needs to sit with the letters and gospel account written by John to absorb the beauty of this truth.
God is love. God is also a judge.
The New Testament (in addition to the Old Testament) is clear on the point that Jesus is a judge who will ensure justice. One of the great creeds of the Christian faith encapsulates this when the saints from throughout the ages proclaim,
For our sake [Jesus] was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
The judgments of God are not like a kangaroo court and they certainly are not like the injustices that occur in the name of justice. If you can wrap your mind around it, God is righteous and his ways are pure, good, and true. Keep in mind that his ways are not like our ways, he is not cruel or vindictive. I know that this is a common issue raised by the “New Atheists,” and the ruthless violence done in the name of God is rightly condemned as evil. However, when we read in Scripture about the judgments of God we need to read that from the starting point of God as being a just judge.
Admittedly, it is tough to grasp that it is possible for someone to be both loving and just. The imperfect image of a kind father and a wise old judge do not have to be at odds when it comes to the God revealed in Scripture. Instead, this God who is so far above our comprehension and is vastly beyond all measure can embody both love and justice.
God is love.
God is also holy and just.
In fact we can see this when God demonstrated his love for us by choose to pay for the lamp that was broken by our hand. The beautiful message revealed in Scripture is that God is both gracious and just.