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One of the beautiful elements of Christian theology is that injustice and evil do not have a final word.  Justice needs to be satisfied and something needs to be done about the genocides, the murders in major cities, and the young girl who died of cancer this morning.  These things should not get the final word.

Richard John Neuhaus points out in his breathtakingly poignant devotional work Death on a Friday Afternoon that somebody has to be blamed for the pain and hurt in the world (theodicy).  If somebody has to be blamed, then the finger of humanity is pointed directly at God (if there is a God).

God is guilty.

God is to be blamed.

Neuhaus writes,

“The word ‘theodicy’ means the judgment of God—not God judging us but our judging God.  The philosophical problem of theodicy is that of trying to square God’s ways with our sense of justice.  The assumes that we know what justice is, but the entire story the Bible tells begins with the error of the presumption.  It is the original error of our wanting to name good and evil.  Right from the start Adam tried to put God in the dock, making God responsible for the fall because, after all, God gave him the woman who tempted him to sin.  From the beginning we see the argument building up to humanity’s cry, ‘God is guilty!’—building up to the derelict nailed to the cross.”

God accepted the verdict we passed on him He accepted what had to be done about what we had done.

When we look at the bloody, mess of a man on the cross, we see how far God went for you and me—he abided by a sham of a trial and subsequently gets the final word about injustice.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they are doing.”

Jesus gets the final word.  He gets the final word and ensures the final word is rooted in both justice and mercy.  He said, “It is finished” on the cross and in his last words of the Bible (Revelation 22), he said, “Surely I am coming soon.”

Amen.

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