1.      The Paradoxical God of Peace 

It is traditional to think of God as the “God of love,” the “God of peace.”  That is correct, for, according to 1 John 4:16, God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them” (NLT).  In other words, according to that passage, love is God’s nature, and love is His ‘address.’  God is such a God of love and peace that He also urges His children to be like Him, to “Do all that you can to LIVE IN PEACE with everyone” (Romans 12:18, NLT). 

Unfortunately, there is another side to this God who asks us to “live in peace with EVERYONE.”  Sometimes this God of peace deliberately provokes wars between parties so that He can set one party free.  From the beginning, it has been so.  In resolving the crisis of the Fall in the garden of Eden, for example, God declared to the Serpent,  

And I WILL PUT ENMITY between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel (Genesis 3:15). 

God was clear: there would be “enmity” between two parties, and Himself would be the One ‘putting’ the enmity between them; He would be the remote Causer of the ancestral hostilities between the seeds of those former chat-pals under forbidden-fruit trees.  God proceeded to frankly give notice that in the ensuing conflicts between them, there would be ‘bruises’ suffered, but the end would be the liberation of the Fallen.  In other words, the enmity (and its ensuing conflicts) would have a divine agenda: the ultimate freedom of one of the parties.  This principle is applicable not only among mortals but also in the sphere of spirits.  Until “there was war in heaven” it could not be said in that blessed realm, “NOW is come salvation…” (Revelation 12:7, 10).  It seems to me ironical that ‘salvation’ could be the outcome of any ‘war.’ 

In case Genesis 3:15 sounds too unacceptably Old Testament, let’s check up the following New Testament provision, which seems to me even clearer: 

51 Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth?  I tell you, Nay; but rather division

52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 

53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law (Luke 12:51-53). 

In case we also need a ‘second witness,’ so that this may be ‘established’ as true, let’s see Matthew 10:35: “For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.”   

Can we be sure that Jesus was not being misquoted in those passages?  Is causing division truly The Mission of Jesus?  Does that sound like our matchlessly loving God of whom it is said, “For God so loved … that he gave his only begotten Son …” so that the dearly loved would not perish but be saved (John 3:16)?  If the ‘contradictions’ be true, what is the meaning of the love of God?  Does every conflict mean the absence of love?  Is ‘peace’ among parties (according to our definitions of “peace”) the standard mark of the approval and presence of God? 

God is love, God is also enmity; God is peace, He is also war.  God is love, but God’s love does not mean pacifism.  Love does not mean forced romance with everything and everyone.  God is not less-Love by also being the “man of war” (Exodus 15:3).  Our fanciful conceptions of love are not big enough to contain this multidimensional God.   

In Genesis 3:15, we read the verdict of God the Father; in Matthew 10:25 was the voice of the Son.  The entire Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit.  In other words, this matter has the backing of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  It is both an Old Testament and New Testament provision.  In the Old Testament, God spoke of enmity between the woman and the serpent, continuing as generational enmity between their seeds.  In the New Testament, Jesus located the conflicts within the strongest relational unit: the family, suggesting that this is of serious concern, and sentiments could mislead if they should become the crux for consideration. 


From The Preacher’s diary, 

February 28, 2022. 

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