Chapter 16: Crime and Punishment
Boyd continues to develop the principle of redemptive withdrawal with a chapter cataloging biblical examples where divine wrath equals divine withdrawal. In its most extreme form, this happens in hell (where, Boyd believes, annihilation occurs since there is no surviving once the source of life is pushed so far away).
Greg sees examples of this sort of withdrawal in Jesus' ministry, in New Testament church disciplinary practices, and throughout the Old Testament. God doesn't need to (nor would He) utilize violence to punish evil because sin carries its own punishment. We reap what we sow. This connection between sin and punishment is built into the fabric of creation.
Even though the Old Testament (especially) sometimes conveys God as the source of the 'wrath'... "The fact of the matter is that biblical authors very frequently speak as though Yahweh did what their own writings make clear he merely allowed." This quote prepares us for the next chapter which will tackle the thorny relationship being 'doing' and 'allowing'.
It was necessary for Boyd to show evidence from Scripture to support his claim that wrath equals divine withdrawal. The chapter was quite repetitive in making the point, but I appreciate that he took the time to provide a foundation and that he anticipates the potential problems with this view (isn't God still responsible if He knows divine withdrawal will equal violence)?