The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Is God Violent, Or Nonviolent?




DaveB, that quote above about the “Jesus Hermeneutic” is from Richard Murray. I hope you will read his
SATAN: Old Testament Servant Angel or New Testament Cosmic Rebel?” if you haven’t already. It’s the most important article I’ve ever read.]

**My background is charismatic, so I’ve always believed in divine healing, in theory. But my bipolar view of God was an obstacle to my faith.

Yesterday I saw a video interview of a paramedic who has had a lot of success praying for the sick and injured in his ambulance. He goes by “The Praying Medic.”

This was my comment to him today on his blog:**


I’m reading the Murray article now - very interesting. Very.


I dont believe God is totally non-violent. I believe He prefers all other methods of resolution but under certain extreme conditions will resort to violence as a last line of defense for the creation, which, if anyone recalls, He placed under Adam’s dominion, where it remains today, with the caveat that adam has placed himself under the adversary, and the further caveat- except for those who have entered the kingdom of God, placing themselves under the Lord Jesus.

All else is confusion, chaos and futility, into which, in this age, God is speaking “Let there be light” through the gospel and the Ecclesia of God as more “dry ground” emerges as the ages proceed and the waters above are separated from the waters below.

The fact that “Our weapons are not carnal but mighty through God for the pulling down of strongholds and fortresses that exalt them selves against the true knowledge of God”- which I agree with, does not necessarily contradict that God, in the unfolding of this letter from Him…

“the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an** administration** suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth”…

Has gone through some changes in how He deals as mankind has emerged through the continuing creation onto wider ground. Yes, His goal is that we would turn our swords into pruning forks and “learn war no more”. If He wanted to just zap that into us maybe He could, but I think something else is going on.

I personally think that portraying God as a totally non-violent being who has been hood-winked by the adversary, or portraying the OT as one big screw up, is just as off as portraying Him as a cruel tyrant, unless we disregard the testimony of the scripture totally as well. Rather, imo, the OT was a stage to grow through, even as this age is also as we(all mankind) proceed toward the “all in all”.

Sodom and Gomorrah were ended violently. Directly by YHWH. Noah’s flood was an act of immense violence that destroyed a world where such perversity and violence held sway that God was forced by His own character to end it, as the Potter ends the clay vessel that has been marred beyond repair upon the wheel, then remakes it according to His pleasure and purpose.

God has created us for a purpose, the further we stray from that purpose(love God, love one another), the more likely we are to incur disciplinary intervention.

IMO these judgments have entered into the “consciousness of corporate mankind” as testimonies to the error of wickedness and the consequences of that error and that is what it means when it says “her smoke will rise up forever and ever”.

Jesus didnt kill anyone but he was violent in clearing the Temple and I can’t help but believe that the only reason any one man could have done such a thing without being physically restrained by the multitudes gathered there is that the wrath of an angry God was crackling all around and through Him.

IMO the explanation of the violence perpetrated by Israel in the Old Testament has to do with the constraints YHWH has placed upon His own hands in working with man as he was then- in the age before the revelation of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God.

A full preterist must believe that God is violent in some degree, in that they believe the destruction of Jerusalem was the signal event transitioning from that age to this- Pretty violent.

And if some major interpretations of prophecy are to be believed there is more violence to come, as man, in his stubborn and hardened rebellion continues to force His mighty hand to intervene in tumultuous ways to preserve His creation from even greater depredations from the hands of the stewards he has placed the earth under- mankind.

God is disposed against violence. His ultimate goal is for all that is not love to be consumed by the fire of His love. But at times he “shows Himself froward with the froward” and “answers a fool according to his folly”

I think not enough credit is given to the corporate consciousness of mankind and the general accountability we have for one another, and the lessons we are learning as a whole.

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good.** But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.**

the highest sword is wielded by God. Just because someone does not want to believe a good God could ever be violent doesnt mean that their perception is the highest one, since they are, in some measure, setting themselves apart from mankind, who is corporately responsible in some measure for its own fate.

I do not think the violence done by men of all religions, like the Crusades or Calvin or Salem is the same as the violence required of Israel in the OT in certain circumstances where the testimony of the Word is clearly that YHWH spoke plainly to Moses in the tent of meeting, or that he spoke plainly to Samuel in regards to destroying the Amalakites, etc.

Why destroy the whole family? because the children would perpetuate the perversity of their father’s and the cancer(within the body of Creation) would remain, malignant to the point of becoming a terminal illness.

The Crusades and Geneva(to me) are examples of ambitious liars and deceivers subverting the people over which they were stewards to incite them to violence for their own ambitions and politics and empire building.

I think it flies in the face of a false self image of humanity to admit that a group of humans could become so perverse that they ought to be eliminated or destroyed as a family from the face of the earth. I think that is in itself an error, not seeing the depths of the consequences of our wickedness as a race and our corporate accountability for our general irresponsibility. i think it is the reason we call “them” bad and “us” good while we do the same things for the same reasons behind different forms of propaganda and different enticements.

I think we could very well be reaching such a point again, where God intervenes to arrest the abominable wickedness of mankind by some great act that must necessarily be categorized as “violent”.

But God sent Jonah to Nineveh, and He sent Jesus to Jerusalem, He sent Noah into the world that was destroyed by water and he is sending us into the world that is now reserved for fire unto a new heavens and a new earth where righteousness dwells, in which the lion lays down with the lamb and a child plays by an adders den, and as we are subjected to Christ in the “administration suitable to the fulness of times” corporate mankind is being brought onto even wider ground of consciousness, where the glory of the Lord covers the earth and the underlying enmity of man is further reduced by the presence in the earth of the Lord Jesus and many sons unto glory- who suffered violence with Him in this age so that they might be the “repairers of the breach” and “restorers of paths to dwell in” in the age to come.

6 For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”
7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

All partake of discipline, and scourging at times involves violence. sometimes we need it and standing back at a very far distance and looking at the depravity of man and the slow learning curve of the ages, God is justified in sometimes, as a last resort, giving mankind what disciplines He must to maintain the balance between His plan and man’s participation in it as stewards, sons and daughters, families, etc.

but thats just one guys opinion :slight_smile:


I maintain that the Bible is only part of a progressive revelation of the goodness of God, and that those violent acts attributed to Him are contrary to the true nature of God—in spite of the Bible stating otherwise.

Eaglesway (directly above) writes that he believes God can indeed be violent, noting that

Those shocking Bible stories are specifically addressed by Richard Murray in his article, SATAN: Old Testament Servant Angel or New Testament Cosmic Rebel? —which is the most important article I’ve ever read. I strongly commend it to each of you.

Also, to further support the position that God uses violence, Eaglesway highlights Romans 13:4-5:

The general consensus is that Paul authored Romans. How should we best interpret this discussion of Paul? Again, I point to the writings of my favorite author, Richard Murray. From an essay titled, How Do We Tell The Difference Between Paul’s ‘Philosophy And Paul’s ‘Revelation’? I offer a few relevant quotes from Murray:

and also,

The entire essay is here.



On this topic of God’s nonviolent nature, probably you have read or seen The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe? If so, you doubtless remember Aslan giving up his life on the Stone Table in order to rescue Edmund from the White Witch.

Question: which major theory of the atonement is C.S. Lewis depicting in that story?

[As a quick and dirty review—[b]The Two Major Theories of The Atonement:

[size=125]1) The Ransom Theory[/size]
<1000 AD
-Started with Early Church (Patristic)
-One subtype (as an adaptation/clarification): Christus Victor Theory of Gustaf Aulén, c. 1931
[size=125]= God sends Jesus to rescue us FROM THE DEVIL[/size]

[size=125]2) The Satisfaction Theory[/size]

1000 AD
-Started with Anselm (Roman Catholic)

  • One subtype (as an adaptation/clarification): Penal Substitution Theory, developed under the Protestant Reformers
    [size=125]= Jesus offers himself to rescue us FROM GOD ][/size]

What happened is that yesterday I was reading an interesting blog called “Experimental Theology,” and the author (Richard Beck) said,

Beck goes on to discuss the Christus Victor theory of the Atonement, (a subtype of Ransom Theory) and says “…It points to a key theological insight: the non-violence of God.” Amen!

Other Quotes from Beck:

Btw, in Spanish, the Ransom Theory (Aslan’s atonement, if you will), is called “La Teoría del Rescate.” The Spanish word for ransom, rescate, is the very same word used for “rescue.” So it can also be translated “The Rescue Theory” of the Atonement.



Eastern Orthodoxy teaches the Recapitulation Theory in What Is the Eastern Orthodox View of the Atonement?



Thank you.

I think Eastern Orthodox Bishop Timothy Ware touched on this in “The Orthodox Church,” but it’s been a long time since I read that.

Thanks for posting this link here.



I am making the point (in my comment above) that the Ransom Theory of Atonement is consistent with a nonviolent God, whereas Calvin’s Penal Substitution Theory is not. I quote from a blog discussion about Aslan’s death on the Stone Table in Lewis’s *The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, * whose author maintains that Aslan’s atonement story is consonant with the Ransom/Christus Victor Theory of Atonement.

Are you agreeing about this, or disagreeing? Your comment is only that *‘Eastern Orthodoxy teaches the Recapitulation Theory.’ *

Btw, here is a quote from the entry on Christus Victor at indicating Recapitulation Theory is compatible with Christus Victor:



I definitely agree with the Eastern Orthodox theological position on atonement (as well as some of their other theological positions). Regardless if you label it “Ransom” or “Christus Victor” or "recapitulation” view. If I remember correctly, the anti-baptists also take the Ransom theory view. I guess I should have explicitly stated it. But things in my signature, like Anglo-Orthodox + Theosis and Holy Fool - should imply it.

Now it’s time to work on my home alarm system. :laughing:


But randylkemp:

-Have you read The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe?
-Do you agree with the blog author, Richard Beck, that Aslan’s atonement is in line with the Ransom Theory?
-Do you agree that God is nonviolent?



I have not read The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe
-I have not read the blog author, Richard Beck,. So I have no informed opinion on whether that Aslan’s atonement is in line with the Ransom Theory.
Violence and non-violence are man made categories and God transcends both of these categories. We must first define and elaborate on what we mean by “violent” and “non-violent” And then figure out how and why, we are applying these categories to God. Which I would need time to review all that is said - in this thread. And I currently don’t have time to devote to that task. So I will defer further comment, until events in my life - provide me with that time (much like the defense or prosecution, asking the judge for time, to “review the evidence”).

I have been carefully studying the current US political candidates. So I’m learning how to carefully craft my forum answers. :exclamation: :laughing:

Time to work on my new “super duper espresso machine.” :laughing:


Randy, can you explain why you agree with the EO atonement theory? Are there any atonement theories that you definitely think are wrong? If there are, which ones and why?


I don’t like to say that the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, or some Protestant position of the atonement - is right or wrong. I would rather say that one might be a little bit more coherent than another. For the most part, most Protestant church bodies inherited and kept the position of the Roman Catholic Church - regarding the atonement. Eastern Orthodoxy looks at original sin differently. Hence, the different position on the atonement. Rather then inheriting the guilt of original sin - we inherit the stain. There is a very subtle - but important - distinction there. Let me quote here from Evangelical Inclusivism; Recovering the Position of the ‘Church Fathers’…::

Or I can quote from the article Protestant on Eastern Orthodox:


Have you seen these crazy headlines in the last 48 hours? :

-“Orlando massacre blamed on Christians”
-“Orlando: Christianity and Islam are Not Different”
-“Here’s how right-wing Christians share the blame for the massacre in Orlando”
-“Before You Bash the Quran, Make Sure You Know How Violent the Bible Is”

So, what is the best way to fight Muslim radicals? My family has served America in war since the War of Independence. Right now I have a close family member in Special Forces who has continuously been in combat, back and forth between Iraq and Afghanistan (other than training and R & R), for the last ten years (!)

I am proud of him, and my family history, but there is a better way for us Christians.

-May we really get the revelation of God’s nonviolence. As A.W. Tozer said, We tend by a secret law of the soul to move toward our mental image of God.

-May we really get that “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph. 6.
And that “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” 2 Cor. 10.

As Larry Norman asked in his song, “Do you really think the only way to bring about the peace is to sacrifice your children and kill all your enemies?”



Hermano, I’m still not sold on the nonviolent God theory. In addition to direct commands to kill specific people (Midianites, Amalekites), God authorized the death penalty for certain sins. Of course the conquests were for a specific time and place, and we as Christians are not to try and replicate them, but according to the Bible they did happen.


It is quite true that violence is advocated in the Old Testament, supposedly by God. However, at no time did Jesus, the Son of God, or his apostles ever advocate violence.

Another important factor in all of this is that modern Christians and Jews don’t go around trying to force their religion on people through violence, as modern Muslim extremists do.


Just some footnotes here. Muslims look upon Mohammad as the perfect example. Very much like Christians look to Christ and Buddhists to Buddha. But there are some differences.

As Christians, we obtain our view of how Christ lived and acted from the bible Alone. It’s not true of the Koran. So we have to look at Sharia law . Wiki defines it this way:

Muslims get the way Mohammad lived and acted, from the Hadiths. Which is the basis for Sharia law. Wiki defines it this way:

Unfortunately, with Mohammad, we run into what I call the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde aspects. In the Mecca or Dr. Jekyll aspect, Mohammad is very kind, generous, etc. In the Medina or Mr. Hyde aspect, he was a ruthless and cunning military leader. And he did weasel out of packs and deals he made with Jews, Christians, pagans, etc.

So whom do Muslims look to - Dr. Jekyll aspect in Mecca? Or the Mr. Hyde aspect in Medina?

ISIS likes the Mr. Hyde aspect. Moderate Muslims like the Mecca aspect, which they try to officially promote. And Moderates are at a loss, on what to do with the Mr. Hyde aspect.


Believe me qaz, I know it’s a leap.

But I believe God is only about LIFE. Adam and Eve (and editor Moses) saw God through a wrathful filter, listening to lies about Him, especially after The Fall. (We have, too.)

For example, God was going for his afternoon walk in the Garden and they hid from Him, because they felt ashamed. “Who told you that you were naked?,” He asked them.

More to the point, Genesis 6 says that the LORD regretted making humans, and decided to “wipe from the face of the earth” almost the entire human race. (I don’t think God’s omniscience allows Him to be “surprised” or “disappointed” or “regretful.” He is just “Daddy” to those who receive His wavelength in Christ.)

By distinguishing inspiration from inerrancy, and by seeing the truth of “progressive revelation,” when we read Hebrews 2:14 [size=85](“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—”),[/size] we can now see it is actually Satan who has the power of death, not God. We can believe it is plausible that although God did warn Noah about the coming Flood, He did NOT send the Flood, nor want the Flood. (We don’t have to go farther than Noah’s worldwide Flood to battle this out in our thinking.)

I know you have actually read the Murray article, and that takes real effort! I know you are struggling with this, but I believe that your “cognitive dissonance” will be resolved by the revelation that God is unipolar, even though most Christians don’t see it yet.

You recognize the historicity of the Scriptures. So let me give you more food for thought from another thread:

PS I think Dr. Brown taught my brother Physics at the Air Force Academy many years ago.


Regarding the shooting in Dallas yesterday,

There is indeed a real devil. Demons are real people, and need to be confronted and cast out.

Here is an excerpt from one police officer, Sheriff David Clarke, regarding this tragic incident, and “the irresponsible use of words" :

As to the responsible use of words, consider this verse:


Matthew 16:19.**

PS re. President Obama—we are to pray and give thanks for “All those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Tim. 2.