The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Is there a place for retributional justice


Yes for us… No for them… Christ came for them not us.



That good ol’ boy from Tarsus thought a bit differently I do believe.


Look backwards.



I watched part of the program TEUS on Trinitarian Ethics. This gave me an interesting insight to retribution, which as I understand it has roots to be a means to a righteous end. If I am correct, divine retribution was always about giving back to someone the same thing they did. Like Jesus being harsh and judgmental towards the Pharisees was to make them experience the same judgment they gave to others. Or in the Old Testament, many of the brutal forms of wrath were directed against those who abused their power in a brutal way, that they would experience the same brutality. This reminds me of NDE accounts where people experienced the same pain that they inflicted on others. As I best understand it, letting people experience the pain they caused appeals to their better nature, and treats morality in a meaningful way. This way, Morality is a matter of learning through empathy, hence mans better nature rather than through fear or shame. I find that arbitrary or excessive punishments dont work because all they do is reinforce this idea that might makes right.


During the first half of the twentieth century, under the influence of social scientists, retributive theories of justice were frowned upon in favor of consequentialist theories. Fortunately, there has been, over the last half-century or so, a renaissance of theories of retributive justice, accompanied by a fading of consequentialist theories, so that we need not be distracted by the need to justify a retributive theory of justice. ~~ William Lane Craig, The Atonement pp. 68-69