Wondering if I could recruit my fellow travelers here in my query into the idea of God’s promise of peace as yet more evidence of His intentions to save everyone??
I’ve been pondering this in the context of our church’s quarterly series of lessons, this time on the “Fruits of the Spirit” and now, specifically “Peace”. Here’s a bit of how my thinking is moving…
Peace = A) state of mind? and/or ~~> B) state of relationship between parties??
~~~~> Is it possible to have peace A, while not having peace B??
(Can, for example, a soldier be at war, fighting for his country, yet still have a “mind” of peace??)
– OR –
(Might there be circumstances where apparent ‘peace’ reigns, but does so only in a context where individual minds remain “at war”??? see below...) Surely the answer must be “YES” -- I think, for example, that this is the dynamic that Christ is talking about when he says, in Matthew 10:34 -- “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” ~~~> that is, in the context of this fallen world, choosing Christ WILL have consequences; conflict WILL be the inevitable result of following Me. Let’s assert that the eventual peace which will reign in God’s universe and the peace God promises is, and must be, PEACE of both type A) and B) So, Can PEACE be forced?? ~~~~> Sure; if peace means, only, not fighting… but true peace ALSO is of the “type A” peace… Which can NOT be forced… So -- we must add another variable: Liberty. Peace, true peace (by true we mean type A + type B) must be chosen. (implicitly, in freedom ie absence of coercion) Thus we see that true peace must be freely chosen ~~~> that is, without threat, or coercion, or fear. THAT is the peace which God has not only promised, but which He has said was ushered in by the Cross. (ie Col 1:20) Implications: 1) it takes only ONE person to “disturb” the peace. (to the extent that “war” may exist between he and everyone else…) It seems that God allows each and every person the power to delay the final peace!!! This can be seen as a measure of how deeply respectful God is of our Liberty… 2) God seems to insist that the act of Christ’s death on the cross (eg Col 1:20) brings -- not *might* bring, but *does* bring -- peace to God’s entire creation. Safe to assume that this peace is of both type A and B. 3) God’s insistence that peace is His hallmark and will reign forever must mean, somehow, that each and every person has been won -- convinced -- of the proper place of God as supreme sovereign… 4) The groundwork and basis for true peace has already been laid at the Cross: details are now being played out… (much much more can be said here of course; the groundwork includes demonstrating the impotence of rebellion to ultimately "hurt" the creator of life. Kill God? Laughable; via the resurrection God scoff's at death's impotence... Besides, God has explicitly told us that death is defeated completely by the Cross. Death thus does not somehow "get to keep it's winnings". God gives life to whom He will; that's His prerogative. And He gives this gift with extravagant abundance!! See for example the thread titled "The Irrevocable Call of God" here https://forum.evangelicaluniversalist.com/t/the-irrevocable-call-of-god/683/1 5) Since the rebellious and the unbeliever (using that term very broadly and vaguely) remain in a state of “war” with God (just look around us) we can see that the full measure of peace which God has promised remains in the future… 6) It is inconceivable to me that this sort of peace that God foretells and promises is possible in a context where He has created that peace by eliminating it (via hell or annihilation) in simply destroying (forever) His adversaries. Which is to say, it seems obvious to me that such a state of affairs invites the fear; “hey -- mess up and He’ll zap you too!” Peace (true peace) is therefore not possible. For this reason, it seems to me that the only possible way in which God can deliver on the promise of true peace is via Universalism. Thoughts?? TotalVictory Bobx3