Thursday, October 05, 2006

Justice Kicks Little Mercy's...

Ok, not really. I just liked how I could make an alphabetical title. Anyway. The Feminarian posted a fantastically written story, the retelling of a Charles Spurgeon story that shows a conversation in heaven between Mercy and Justice. At this point, I'm having the worst time finding the story, so I'll only be telling my position on her version. And, since I don't do novels or short stories, you'll get the boring, non-fiction version. Sorry :)

Ok, the premise is that Mercy and Justice are watching over the life of Christ, and, in Spurgeon's version, Justice must be satisfied, and isn't until Christ hangs on the cross. The Feminarian agreed with a supervisor who said, "Why does everybody always assume that Justice defeats Mercy? Why does Justice always get its way?"

So she rewrote it so that Mercy would win.

In her version she presents Justice as a typical alpha-male with adequacy issues. He wants everyone punished, and he thinks Jesus should fight back. While the story is well written, I think that idea is theologically incorrect. Justice would be principled, and bound to God's righteousness. Before Christ's death, our relationship with God was governed by Justice. The Law required obedience, sins needed atonement, and rebellion received punishment.

But Mercy was going to change all that. This is the Feminarian's idea of how that took place:

As Jesus hung on the cross, Justice still was not satisfied: “But he did not deserve the death penalty! He was innocent.” Mercy told him to hush, for Jesus was speaking: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Mercy smiled, knowing by these words that she had won. In the incredible power of Mercy, Jesus absorbed all the violence and pain and hate that the world could throw at God. Jesus took it into himself…and died.
This makes it seem that the idea was all from Mercy, and Justice was unaware. As thought Justice expected Jesus to start smiting people right there. But I think that the plan for atonement was a collaboration between the two. He wouldn't be suprised and confused at Christ's arrest and execution, becuase, for all intents and purposes, it was his idea. Justice needed payment for sin, and Mercy offered Jesus, both God and man, as the payment for all our sin. They shook hands and did the deed.

And now, through Christ's death and resurection, the baton was passed, and our relationship with God is now governed by Mercy. Justice didn't "win". Justice had to be satisfied, and the mercy Christ showed through the cross did just that.

My major theological contention is this:
When Jesus resurrected, it proved once and for all that death had lost its sting, that love cannot be quenched. It proved that Justice, in the end, was not important –Mercy had the final word. The most Merciful God had proved that no matter what the humans did against him, He would always come back with more love than ever. Unable to argue, Justice acquiesced to the overwhelming power of Mercy.
The emphasis above is mine. Justice, in the sense of payment for sins, must be important. If it weren't, it would mean that Christ's death was unnecessary. It would mean that we could have received the same forgiveness without his sacrifice, because justice isn't important. It diminishes the act.

And Justice doesn't acquiesce to Mercy. Justice and Mercy are equals, the former governor and the current. I don't say this to diminish the importance of Mercy, but to enhance it. The need for justice shows the high price for our sins...the higher the price, the greater the mercy that pays it. Mercy's got the cash, whatever the price; it's always equal to the justice required.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home