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Mystery Writer Explains the Wrath of God

In a novel by the British mystery writer P.D. James, a detective shares a common sentiment, saying, “I don’t go for all this emphasis on sin, suffering, and judgment. If I had a God, I’d like him to be intelligent, cheerful, and amusing.” In response, her Jewish colleague says, “I doubt whether you would find him much of a comfort when they herded you into the gas chambers. You might prefer a God of vengeance.”

Theologian J. Todd Billings comments on this quote:

A God without wrath is a God who whitewashes evil and is deaf to the cries of the powerless. A student of mine who grew up in a gang culture and had many whom he loved taken from him by violence told me with profound honesty that “If God will not avenge, I am tempted to avenge.” Precisely because God is a God of love, he is also a God of holy wrath.


J. Todd Billings, The End of the Christian Life (Brazos Press, 2020), page 203

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