Monday, April 25, 2011

Who will be the Judge?

How do you feel about God's judgement? Are you repulsed or comforted? How is God's judgement inextricably linked with the Resurrection of Jesus?
The sermon at church on Easter Sunday was based on Paul's speech in Athens recounted in Acts 17. Paul proclaims the identity of the "unknown God" who 
has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man [Jesus] whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."
Jesus resurrection is a sign of judgement because in it he is setting things right in the world. The innocent Man no longer suffers unjustly but is vindicated. Man is freed from the sting and fear of death.

Popular post-modern culture may explicitly claim to dislike judgement. Being "judgemental" is the worst "sin" in a world that claims sin is just a social construct. But I contend that Western society today is actually schizophrenic in its attitude to judgement. Most newspapers articles and commentary implicitly cries out for "justice" and "condemns" the actions of others; whether corrupt politicians, ruthless businessmen, schoolyard bullies, vain pop stars, drunk football players, mindless bureaucrats, ....

On the other hand, our problem and dislike of judgement is that we just don't want it to apply to ourselves, those we love, or those we deem "innocent"! We want to be the judge and arbiter of who is judged and by what criteria!

Karl Barth expressed a balanced view of God's judgement [discussed in an earlier post] which critiqued our empathy with classical  "painters [who] imagined to some extent with delight how these damned folk sink in the pool of hell".
The Resurrection of Christ, Rubens (1611)

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