The Politics of Divine Judgment and Mercy

I have another post up over on Political Theology Today. This week I discuss Abraham’s intercession for Sodom.

YHWH’s purpose in calling Abraham was that he might become a great nation, whose greatness was most powerfully manifest in the fact that all other nations would be blessed through him. Abraham and his descendants were to be agents of blessing, through ‘doing righteousness and justice.’ Introduced in such a manner, it is implied that YHWH’s determination to consult with Abraham concerning Sodom and Gomorrah is driven, not by a precipitous urge to bring destruction, but to prepare Abraham to bring blessing through the pursuit of justice and righteousness.

Read the whole piece here.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
This entry was posted in Bible, Ethics, Genesis, Guest Post, OT, OT Theology, Politics, Prayer, Theological. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Politics of Divine Judgment and Mercy

  1. Andrew says:

    And yet in the end, no righteous are found, except perhaps Lot and his daughters who are delivered from the judgement. Abraham asks for mercy, and God agrees. But in the end the city receives only judgement.

    What are we to make of this?

    • Indeed. The striking thing is that even ten can’t be found. The handful of righteous that remain in the city are evacuated and the city itself is destroyed. This relates to the separation of the righteous and the wicked at the end. The danger is that we miss the fact that God’s mercy is not restrained in Sodom’s case, that God’s judgment of it isn’t premature or unfair. Sodom isn’t simply a story of straightforward judgment; it is a story of judgment powerfully and mercifully restrained until there comes a point where it cannot justly be restrained at all. The fact that Abraham doesn’t persevere beyond ten righteous is probably an indication that he concurs with God’s judgment at that point.

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