The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Is God Violent, Or Nonviolent?

Okay, Gabe, we grant you that right. (I had to say that since you left yourself open) :stuck_out_tongue:

Actually, I agree with most of what you said.

But I am unclear as to what you said about violence. Did you say that violence is always wrong on earth, but may be right in heaven? Or did you say that violence is sometimes right on earth but always wrong in heaven?

The latter… “violence is sometimes right on earth but always wrong in heaven” I know I worded that backwords… :slight_smile:

Gabe, I respectfully disagree. I think what it comes down to, for all of us, is ignorance about true spiritual warfare. I think my essay above addresses the most fundamental warfare: learning to distinguish God from Satan. (There, the Murray article I reference is so vital in understanding the true nature of God.)

As for us humans, is violence justified? Should we not oppose criminals with deadly force? Should we not protect our families and our countries through the use of (counter) violence?

BUT, instead of generalizing to “us humans,” I think that in this forum, the focus should be on “us Christians.”

So, how are we Christians to withstand violence and danger?

Well, again, from my essay above, “Our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood,” and “The weapons of our warfare are NOT carnal.” Ephesians 6:12. 2 Corinthians 10:4. And I might add, ‘Flesh just gives birth to more flesh.’ John 3:6.

My Christian experience is charismatic: I pray in tongues, and believe the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are channels of God’s love and grace still available today, ‘to as many as did receive him’. (And in spite of abuses and scandals along this line, I hope you won’t ‘throw out the baby with the bathwater.’)

Recall how the prophet Elisha would warn the king of Israel about ambushes set up against him by the king of Aram. The king of Aram eventually became so frustrated, that he accused his own counselors of selling him out. He demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?” But someone spoke up and said, “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.” 2 Kings 6.

So we Christians today, having the Holy Spirit, should be learning to hear the voice of God, just like Elisha, in order to escape danger, and to warn others, in advance, of specific danger.

Jesus, living as a human being like us, set the example for us about how to live in dependence on the Spirit, to fulfill his Father’s desires. At the Jordan River, Jesus walked us through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, and later demonstrated all the Gifts of the Spirit. E.g., the Word of Knowledge: *“ ‘How do you know me?’ Nathanael asked. Jesus answered, ‘I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.’ ” * Jn 1:48. And of course, gifts of healing, miracles, prophecy, wisdom, et al, —all while living as a human being, like us, in the power of the Spirit.

Speaking of violence, Jesus supernaturally escaped untimely death, without striking a blow:

  • Luke 4:29 They got up, drove him out of the town [Nazareth], and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. *But he walked right through the crowd *and went on his way.
  • John 8:59 Then they took up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

He didn’t kill anybody: that is not his nature. That is not our new nature, either. And we have superior weapons available, which are not carnal.

Remember “binding and loosing”? Binding and casting out death and Satan, and proclaiming and loosing life? These are ‘the keys of the kingdom of heaven.’ Matt. 16:19, 18:18. We must learn to receive and walk in these Gifts, and to wield these weapons, in order to not be victimized, and to successfully extend the kingdom of heaven. We must proclaim, demonstrate, and enforce the finished work of Jesus (“It is finished”). We are leaven that is spreading life throughout this fallen creation, and God wants us to be in the right place, at the right time, saying and doing the right things.

Although he’s not yet an “Evangelical Universalist,” I enjoy pastor Joseph Prince of Singapore and what he teaches about the authority of the believer. And obviously I love Richard Murray.

I am glad you are wrestling with these important questions, Gabe.


Hey Hermano- I will gladly read the essay you mentioned. I have come to adapt this view of satan over much time and study, as i previously held your view. I agree with you the entire subject of angelologyis puzzling and not laid in concrete. I simply do not see any passage where it describes satans heavenly rebellion and his banishment to hell along with other fallen angels. Of course, not believing in a literal hell affects my view as well. :wink: The interesting thing is hell is supposed to be the ultimate place of separation from God, yet if he is a supernatural fallen angel how is it possible for him and demons to roam around the earth??? I think the many activities you believe are caused by or influenced by satan are actually manmade for the most part except for natural disasters, which in many cases are affected by ma ns pollution and misuse of the earths resources.

Gabe- Jesus is definitely NOT merely a feminine,doormat guy. However, He acted in a manner many times which some could call feminine, in which He submitrte to authorities, showed endless compassion and kindness,allowed Himself to be abused and tortured resulting in death by crucifixion. He also stood strong towards those who were wrong about God like the jewish religious leaders and others who tried to cause harm. I believe Ephesians 6:12 is referring to our sinful nature which is spiritual in itself and not flesh and blood. The spiritual warfare is against any attitude,thought,action which is adversarial to God and His Spirit.

I don’t know.

In the Old and the New Testament, killing in war is approved.

So, is there really any dispute about this? Violence in war, is certainly not the same as the destruction of our soul.

Luke 3:14
Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

“A time to wage war and a time for peace” Ecclesiastes 3:8

Dying in this world, is not the same to God, as it is to us. For us, we leave our only known place of residence,and it is a fearful exchange, but for God, who lives in eternity, it is not leaving, but merely changing or transferring. God does not fear death of the body. He knows we will be transformed one day, and death is only a journey over to the other side for us.

Young’s Literal Translation
'And be not afraid of those killing the body, and are not able to kill the soul, but fear rather Him who is able both soul and body to destroy in gehenna.
Matthew 10:28

I will guess that God realized in this fallen world, there would be times we must resort to violence, not because it is good, but because the risk to the continuation of His Word, and those who carry it and pass it on, was overriding. And the Word is life…the most pure form of life, for it is the Bread of life came down from Heaven. “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51 There is no scripture that I am aware of that states that God likes war or killing, but many statements that say He doesn’t like it. And, to choose life, whenever possible.

This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live. Deuteronomy 30:19

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Matthew 26:52

But, as we universalists believe, our souls will live on in eternity, because of the price that Jesus payed on the cross.

And that is why our God is not a violent God…because He knows the passage from death of the body to eternity is merely a transfer, and nothing more.

Just to say, this is the first time I actually thought this through, in this manner.

My 2 cents.


Hermano, I just reread the posts. I realize I used the wrong word. I didn’t mean that Satan’s inciting David to number Israel was ASSIGNED to him by anyone. I meant that the ancient Israelites first ATTRIBUTED to God the inciting of David to number Israel, and later on they attributed this inciting to Satan.

A couple of thoughts to approach this, that might help to untangle the problem:

A good hermeneutical principal is to interpret the unclear by what is most clear. I would submit that, in making judgment about O.T. stories, and attempting to derive something about the character of God the Father, we are better served by studying the very clear life and character of His son, of whom the scriptures speak eloquently as being the image and likeness of the Father. Broadly, if we understand Jesus the Messiah scripturally, we will know what the Father is like. And if that image causes dissonance with the older testament image, then we can question whether the bloodthirsty imagery of the O.T. is inspired teaching, or whether it is a valuable reportage of how the Israelite tribal culture saw things way back then.

If we get really hung up on a theory of inspiration, to the extent that we ‘flatten out’ the differences and progress in revelation over time, thus giving equal weight to all books of the Bible, I think we do a disservice to ourselves and the Scripture. There is a fullness in Christ, of character and purpose and love, that could not be expressed in early tribal humanity; God the Father keeps ‘moving the cheese’ into larger and larger dimensions of love and peace.

qaz: 1) I don’t think God ever ordered anyone to kill anyone. As I say above,

2)Richard Murray (“Gadite”) addresses the question of Jesus cleansing the temple in a comment on my post “Fighting For God’s Nonviolence” here: … 596#p79538

DaveB, you make great points.
*****Richard Murray calls your suggested hermeneutical principal “The Jesus Hermeneutic”; for example, see the title of Chapter 6 of his free PDF book, linked in his comment (as “Gadite”) on my post “Fighting For God’s Nonviolence” here: … 596#p79538
*****Also, what you call “'moving the cheese,” I think I’m calling “progressive revelation”—although the progress is limited not by God, but by people’s ability to hear and receive.

Amen DaveB,

I like the message in genesis.

“In the beginning the earth was without form and void and the Spirit hovered over the waters”

The God speaks, “Let there be light”, and the light is separated from the darkness- first separation by the word of God. But He continues to separate, first the waters above from the waters below(heavens and earth). Then the dry land from the waters. etc.

This is how I look at the whole creation process. “The whole creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the children of God”

The children of God being those who are conformed to the image of Christ. “He is the radiance of The Father’s glory and the exact representation of His nature.” All those whom he foreknew He predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ"

That the creation might be set free from futility into the glorious liberty of the children of God"

Peace and Love- thats the liberty. Love fulfills the law, where the fruit of the Spirit is there is no law. It becomes obsolete, as it will be when God is “all in all”. After He has anulled all “rule power and authority”

It is a continuing process of separating darkness and light until only light remains, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it” “Death is swallowed up by immortality”.

I think man was created like a naiive child(Adam), innocent.

Then knowledge and self-life entered in and Cain becomes a murderer. Man becomes primitive, beastly. "Except you become as this little child you will in no way enter into the kingdom of God.

In the fulfilled creation man becomes a “new creature”- having knowledge of good and evil but holding it in a child-like heart, and the process comes full circle- so

God is non-violent and He is teaching us WHY, and HOW to become like Him, through a administration executed through the completion of time, His purpose, according to His kind intention to gather all things in heaven and earth into one in Christ.

The Old Testament was only the first couple of stages. (That in the ages to come He might show the riches of His grace towards us in Christ Jesus).

Each stage is progressive, as the seed of the final fulfilled creation( Jesus) is formed from glory to glory, transforming the whole as the matrix of wisdom(knowledge held in a heart of love) spreads throughout.

We think lessons can be transmitted by knowledge. God knows knowledge is insufficient to transform. He is teaching “us”- the whole creation- a few things.

  1. that all things are connected in one to the Creator
    2)that individual fulfillment comes from sowing into the joy of the whole family
    3)that the reason things are passing away is that the former things were like utensils that dissipate with the using- as the lesson is learned and fulfilled through experience into transformation.
    4)that it is better to lay down ones life than to take another’s
  2. that union and communion are better than competition

But as Jesus said, “For the hardness of your hearts Moses gave you divorce”, in each succeeding age the law of love is increasing, and the “corporate heart” of mankind is being softened by the increasingly refined separation of light and darkness untill all is love and all life springs from and returns to light and love.

But in the OT the “former things” were conditioned to the present state of the emerging new creation and its state was primitive. Through those things God prepared “mankind” for the revelation of Jesus Christ- who ushered in the better way, the new creation, another separation of waters above from waters below- and there are more to come, till Christ reigns over all and God is all in all.

What does it mean that Christ reigns, but that one has come into love as the prime directive and source? When the last adversary bows there will be nothing but love and no need for rule power and authority, a higher heaven will have broken through and flooded the heavens below- to the point that they will be"destroyed"- anulled, made obsolete.

The only thing(in my mind) that justifies the paradox of justice and injustice among the children of men is that in addition to holding us accountable as individuals God is holding us accountable as a whole race, the family of creation.

The lesson of Christ is that the family must lay down its life for the family, to take individual responsibility for the redemption and restoration of the whole.

“Good judgment comes through experience”

Experience comes through bad judgment"

Hermano, I read Murray’s article. He makes some interesting points, but I worry about embracing his view. What if he’s wrong? That would mean he’s attributing God’s commands to Satan, which would be blasphemous.

But wouldn’t it be equally blasphemous to attribute to God the actions of Satan? The OT writers knew virtually nothing about Satan and could have simply attributed everything to God. Apparently Satan was god of this world and it’s kingdoms since he offered them to Jesus and Jesus never challenged him on his right to offer them.

I see it pretty much, if not totally, as you have expressed it, Dave B.

Concerning the common notion that Satan is “the god of this world,” I would first point out that the Greek word is not “world” but “age.”
The following translations so render it : HCSB, NKJV, Rotherham, and YLT.

There is nothing in the passage that STATES that this god is Satan. That is a presumption.

Irenæus believed that Paul was saying that God, THE God, blinded those who do not believe. Here is his explanation:

In a nutshell, Irenæus thought the sentence should be read this way:

He thought due to Paul’s rapid writing under the influence of the Spirit, sometimes put a phrase in the wrong position. Then he goes on to show that Paul clearly did this also in 2 Thessalonians 2:8,9

As it stands, the sentence seems to say that Christ’s coming is after the working of Satan. But translators, both ancient and modern who knew what Paul meant, inserted words to clarify it. For example the King James translators inserted “even him” immediately before “whose coming is after the working of Satan.” The NASB translators inserted “that is, the one” in the same place, and other translators changed the whole clause. For example, the ESV reads, “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan.”

Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 9that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 10and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.

I think that the idea that Paul wrote so quickly under the unction of the Spirit that he failed to write accurately is a real stretch. I would rather offer differences in syntax than that, if I thought that was the case. The “god of this age” thing to me is just a literary form of reference by Paul that the one who is offering what people have chosen to be ruled by is the adversary.

Concerning the common notion that Satan is “the god of this world,” I would first point out that the Greek word is not “world” but “age.”
The following translations so render it : HCSB, NKJV, Rotherham, and YLT.

… in whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. (2 Corinthians 4:4 NKJV)

There is nothing in the passage that STATES that this god is Satan. That is a presumption.

Yes it is a presumption, but it seems made by every bible translation I have seen including the ones you referenced. All the translations spell god of this age/world using a lower case “g.” If the God of creation would blind the minds of unbelievers but Jesus told his followers to preach the gospel to unbelievers that would result in a House divided which Jesus said would not stand.

You have shared some beautiful thoughts Eaglesway but one thing puzzles me. The picture you give me is one of the entire creation progressing, through succeeding revelations, and succeeding ages, towards peace and love. But I don’t see this happening in the animal kingdom which remains just as red in tooth and claw as it ever was.
(Whether humankind has made any progress is a matter of contention.)

pilgrim, we can look forward to these promises:

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
And a little child shall lead them. Isaiah 11:6

The wolf and the lamb shall feed together,
The lion shall eat straw like the ox,
And dust shall be the serpent’s food.
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain,”
Says the LORD. Isaiah 65:25


Since you think that, Eaglesway, then it would follow that you should take the following words of Paul as they stand in Greek, and not as translators have altered them:

And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.

These words as they stand say that the coming of Christ is after the working of Satan.

But didn’t Paul write these words in the wrong order? Shouldn’t he have written:

And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, .

Yes Hermano, thank you for those great promise-texts. My point is that what is there foretold is a future Divine revolution rather than a step by step progression presently unfolding.

Those words as they stand do not read to me that the Lord’s coming is after the working of Satan, and they never did, since I first read it at 21 years old. Common sense prevails, don’t you think? The subject of the sentence is “that wicked one”. The interjection is, “whom the Lord shall consume with the breath of His coming”. Then back to the subject describing the coming of that wicked one. If Paul had been writing today, he might have written it differently, or used parenthesies around the interjection- but really, I can’t see anyone reading it the other way without really working at it. What sounds “normal” in todays syntax is often out of sync with the sentence structure of other times and languages, but in this case it isnt so far off as to give the average English reader a problem, imo.

The reason you never read it that way is because you always read a version in which the text had been altered by the translators in order to bring out what Paul actually meant.

Now read it again as Paul actually wrote it, and tell me that it doesn’t say that the Lord’s coming is after the working of Satan:

And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.

To whom does the word “whose” refer? Normally it would refer to the person in the sentence that immediately precedes it, just as “his coming” refers to the coming of the Lord, and not that of the wicked one. The person immediately preceding “whose” is “the Lord”. It would not be “that wicked one” since that expression occurs more remotely from the word “whose.”