Can A God of Judgement Be A God of Love?

After sharing numerous difficult questions I have been having with Christianity, a friend recommended that I read a specific chapter out of the book “The Reason For God” by Timothy Keller called “How Can A Loving God Send People To Hell?”.  So, I am reading it.

In this chapter, the author includes a section entitled, “A God of Judgement Can’t Be a God of Love” – to which he will try and prove to be an incorrect statement.  After reading it, however, I feel as if it is really nothing more than a philosophical analysis rather than a solid effort to try and explain the problem Biblically, which I was disappointed about.  I will do my best to accurately summarize his arguments:

  • Tim says he’s been asked a thousand times “How can a God of love be also a God filled with wrath and anger?” to which he responds by “pointing out that all loving persons are sometimes filled with wrath, not just despite of, but because of their love.  If you love a person and you see someone ruining them – even themselves – you get angry.”
  • He says, without any Biblical reference, that “God’s wrath flows from his love and delight in his creation.”
  • He quotes a Yale theologian named Miroslav Volf, because of his different perspective on God’s judgement, and it makes me question how accurate it is because of how pieced together the quote is (image below).  The point though being that Volf believes that not believing in a God of vengeance “secretly nourishes violence”.  He also states “Volf says the best resource for this is belief in the concept of God’s divine justice.  If I don’t believe that there is a God who will eventually put all things right, I will take up the sword and will be sucked into the endless vortex of retaliation.”

Keller Book Quote

  • Quoting Czeslaw Milosz, Keller states that Milosz has seen “that a loss of belief in a God of judgement can lead to brutality.”

While these arguments are not bad, I was disappointed that this section seemed more like Keller was trying to prove a point simply by quoting other people, and not tackling this with Biblical evidence.  He quoted only Psalm 145:17-20, and didn’t even seem to try and prove a point with it.

The next section is entitled, “A Loving God Would Not Allow Hell”.  I’m hoping it is going to be better.


3 thoughts on “Can A God of Judgement Be A God of Love?

  1. Hey Josh,

    I’m not completely sure without opening up that book – but I believe he covers the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in that chapter which may be one of the clearest depiction of the realities of heaven and hell in scripture.. If not in the chapter, then for sure in that sermon I sent you (I told you the sermon was better!) but possibly in a different section of the book. I’m certainly not going to sit here and try to defend a chapter in a christian author’s book, but I do think that the next section was more helpful in terms of biblical explanation – but perhaps not!

    Definitely had an awesome time last night – even if minecraft was only 5fps 😉

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