Tuesday, April 10, 2007
"The wrath of God was satisfied"??
My wife and I have been going to a wonderful church for the last 4 months. Wellspring church is a part of the Anglican Mission in America (there sending church is located in Africa). Our Easter service was raucous and I loved it. One of the songs that was sung that I dearly love was "In Christ Alone." This is such a beautifully moving song, but have trouble when we get to the line that states,
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev'ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.
This line has always intrigued me and I am not quite sure what to do with it. I was chatting about this with some friends in the bookstore and one of the main conclusions we came to (with the help of one wise professor) is that there is a problem in our thinking when the wrath of God and the love of God seem like dichotomous opposites. Perhaps the main issue is with our definition of wrath that seems to stem most often from violent presuppositions which I have a hard time relating to the picture of God in the person of Jesus on the cross. Finally, I know this is a bit crass, but when I imagine the wrath of God being satisfied I picture a toddler throwing a temper tantrum who needs to be appeased into settling down. I am sure my Calvinist friends will note my limited perspective, but this is my blog and it just needed to be said.
My final analysis (at least for today, who knows what tomorrow will bring) is that the idea of the wrath of God is completely meaningless outside of the love of God. If God shows wrath, and this cannot be in the way it is seen today (i.e. the "shock and awe" campaign in Iraq), it is only out of his outrageous love and outrageous love cannot be fulfilled through killing that person.
I need some help so please give me your thoughts and opinions.