Friday, June 09, 2017

CWG (Chapter 15)

Chapter 15: Divide Aikido

Greg Boyd doesn't believe in redemptive violence, but he does believe in redemptive withdrawal. The second principle of his cruciform thesis is that the withdrawal of God (allowing evil to self-destruct) is the judgment and wrath of God (as opposed to judgment/wrath being a non-enemy-loving side of God's character). On the cross, the Father withdrew from the Son (experientially), but did so with a grieving heart and for the purpose of redemption. This cross perspective is the lens through which we must view judgment and wrath as they are found throughout the Bible.

At the heart of the revelation, according to Boyd, is the Cry of Dereliction. He wants to find a balance between dismissing the genuineness of Jesus' cry and confessing an actual break in the Trinity. Boyd attempts to avoid both extremes by suggesting that 1) This plan was agreed, out of love, by the members of the Trinity before it happened and 2) distinguishing between the divine essence and the divine experience. On the cross, the experience of their relationship was broken, but the essence of the Trinity was not (since that essence IS love and love was what led to the cross).

Boyd believes the cross teaches us four aspects of God's wrath that we can apply to all texts of Scripture. First, God's wrath is not an act of violence. It is withdrawal. Second, God only withdraws in an attempt to redeem (as a last resort). Third, God grieves when withdrawal is the only remaining option. Fourth, when God withdraws, evil ultimately self-destructs. This is why the power of Satan was broken by the cross and why any wicked who persist in their wickedness will ultimately cease to exist.

Frankly, I thought this chapter was a brilliant exposition of divine wrath. Interestingly, it seems that Boyd is getting a lot of push-back on this chapter. Some people think Boyd's view breaks apart the unity of the trinity. I disagree. He seemed to go out of his way to show how this is not the case. In the end, he's just taking the cry of dereliction seriously. Boyd's view of divine wrath is seemingly identical with my own view as expressed here.

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