Thursday, November 08, 2007

Does Might Make Right?


That's a question that Ehrman poses in response to God's answer from the whirlwind (see previous post). According to Kohlberg, we all start out believing that might makes right--you're in the wrong if you're caught. As we mature, we recognize that there are higher laws than might. We begin separating the two, realizing that might often acts in selfish ways, ways that are certainly wrong by standards such as "the collective good" or the Golden Rule.

Yet if we believe that there is such a thing as "right" at all, at the end of all things, what is right without might? We see right suffer undeservedly and the wicked prosper. What, then, makes the right right? What is right drained of any power other than to make you feel superior to your neighbor?

The Christian conviction is that in God, might and right are as they should be: perfectly united, with neither logically prior to the other. We exercise might unrightly because we are not as we should be. But our confidence is in the one who judges justly, who is qualified to evaluate all our acts and intentions and render cosmic order.

The sufferer looks to God for vindication--she looks to God to make things right, not just to tell her that she is right. The sufferer looks to God for her example, for she sees God himself enter our suffering, experience death unjustly, and experience vindication in the resurrection. That is why the resurrection is the hope of the righteous; if in this life only we have hope, then we are the most pitiful people on earth. Here, right is trampled by might. But it is not so with God. And it is not so at the end of all things.

1 comment:

Josh_LTSG said...

For further thoughts on Matt's post here, read Douglas John Hall--
God and Human Suffering: An Exercise in the Theology of the Cross

(In terms of theology--is there any other kind?)