Goodness Needs No Violent Support

goodnessTalk to most anyone about what must be done when evil men invade our homes or our country and they will defend the use of weapons to protect themselves and their families. This response reveals a picture of God that has been universally etched into the DNA of humans: a warrior God who uses violence to protect goodness from evil. And if our God uses violence to defend goodness, then why shouldn’t we?

No More Butt-Kicking Gods!

Yet this world has enough butt-kicking gods. History is full of them, defending the “righteous” cause of every clan and nation since time began. And the media drives the virtue of this kind of justice so far home that we can’t even process it otherwise. Yes. Our world desperately needs a change. It desperately needs a God who doesn’t kick the butts of His enemies, but embraces and forgives them instead.

Why is it so hard for us to turn from these warrior gods? Why are we so compelled to create our God like this?

Is Evil Stronger Than Goodness?

Ultimately, I think it is because it’s hard for us to believe that goodness can stand on its own two feet. It is hard for us to believe that goodness is strong enough to defeat the monstrous citidels of evil. It is hard for us to fully see or fully admit that goodness needs no violent support.

Yet it’s true. Goodness needs no violent support. The death of evil doesn’t have to be arbitrarily imposed. Evil needs no violent good guy to defeat it. Evil destroys itself. Like Peter Kreeft says, “The weakness of evil is that it cannot conquer weakness.”

Crucified On the Cross

That high, classical, unapproachable, Gothic, butt-kicking God that we thought we needed to defeat evil was crucified on the cross. There we see that the club-wielding warrior god that we thought we needed to take care of our enemies doesn’t exist, for a god like that is no God at all. Remember, even Gandalf didn’t dare pick up the violent Ring of Power.

“I dare not take it. Not even to keep it safe. Understand Frodo, I would use this Ring from a desire to do good. But through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine.”

Indeed, even gods are not immune to this Ring. A violent, hammer-wielding god is no god at all, but a demon, a demon that will ultimately become the object of universal abhorrence. At the cross, we see the truth about violence.

A Paper Tiger

Somehow we haven’t been able to understand the strength of goodness, the strength of relationship, the strength of love. Because we live in a mortal world, it is easy for us to believe that the violent monster of evil can effortlessly crush goodness. Yet this is only because we have not fully understood the nature and prerequisite of life. The apparent death of forgiveness and love before evil is no death at all, but simply participation in the circle of love and life. It is participation in ultimate reality, in the inner workings of resurrection.

“If reality is fundamentally physical, then the primary force binding it together is electromagnetic. If, however, life is fundamentally social, then the most powerful constituting force is that which binds persons together, namely, love.” – Millard Erickson

The Cross Tells the Truth about Evil, Violence, and Reality

When goodness falls, it has a beloved other to help it up again. Yet evil has no such friend. When it falls, it falls forever, for it has no lover. It needs no violent, butt-kicking god to defeat it. Consequently, we have believed lies, and the goodness, forgiveness, and humility of God, revealed in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, lays bare these lies we have believed about evil and violence and life and reality more than any other revelation that we have ever had.