I’m writing a sequel to my last blog What the Author of “The Shack” Truly Thinks of the Cross. One of the key features to the theology known as universalism, is its visceral reaction to the historic Christian teaching regarding the wrath of God. Now – just so we are clear on this matter, those of us who take the Bible seriously will have noticed how prevalent the anger, or wrath of God appears. It is not as if we are forced to uncover an obscure text in order to find it, we would have to shield our eyes in order to avoid how often the matter comes up. Here are some examples.
Genesis mentions the anger of God resulting in the universal flood, and the anger of God falling on the cities of Sodom.
Exodus opens with God’s wrath displayed against Egypt, resulting in the death of the firstborn. But God’s anger does not end there. Israel also is threatened with wrath. In Exodus 22:24, failure to keep God’s laws results in the inevitable. “And my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows, and your children fatherless.”
Indeed, this kind of language gets repeated in almost every book in the Old Testament. Even the Song of Solomon is not free from this. Consider Song of Solomon 8:6. “For love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord.” Put another way, the jealousy of a stilted lover can be compared to the anger of God. Who can stand against it?
But is this just Old Testament language? Most certainly, it is not! One should note the four gospel accounts record Jesus’ warnings against God’s anger constantly. Indeed, no one Biblical character speaks more about hell, than Jesus. One typical example is found in Matthew 10:28. “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”
How about Acts? One need go no further than chapter 5, in the very well known account of Ananias and Sapphira. Having lied to the Holy Spirit, God strikes them dead.
And what of the Epistles of Paul? Romans begins with the statement, “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” (Romans 1:18) I Corinthians 11, speaks of God putting to death those who partake of the Table of the Lord in an unworthy manner. 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 speaks about the gospel being rejected by those who are perishing, which is the fragrance from death to death. Galatians 1:9 warns of anyone who would dare to preach the gospel to a counterfeit gospel, will be accursed. Galatians 3:10 adds that those who rely on the law to be justified are also under a curse. Ephesians 2:3 declares that the entire human race, is by nature, the children of wrath…
I could go on and on. Hebrews 10:27 speaks of the fury of fire that will consume the adversaries of God. Again, we could go on and on. As far as I can tell, only 2 John and 3 John fail to mention the anger of God.
And so, in conclusion, if you want a Bible with no mention of the anger of God, all you are left with is 2nd and 3rd John. In my next blog, I will deal with the most pressing of questions. Did God the Father pour out his anger onto his Son while Jesus hung on the cross? And if he did, does that make God a child abuser?