The God I Don’t Understand 9: Canaan

Chris Wright ends the discussion of the Canaanite conquest with a personal comment that’s worth listening to:

“For this history is part of the story of my salvation … I may not understand why it had to be this way. I certainly do not like it. I may deplore the suffering and violence involved, even when I accept the Bible’s verdict that it was an act of warranted judgement. I may wish there had been some other way …  But … what the Bible tells me is that this was an act of God that took place within the overarching narrative through which the only hope of the world’s salvation was constituted …

I have to read the conquest in the light of the cross. And when I do … I see one more perspective. For the cross too involved the most horrific and evil human violence … The crucial difference, of course, is that, whereas at the conquest God poured out his judgement on a wicked society who deserved it, as the cross, God bore on himself the judgement of God on human wickedness, through the person of his own Son – who deserved it not one bit.”

I like his honesty, his unflinching willingness to ask ask hard questions and his commitment to hold the big story of Scripture together. What do you think?

And from here we turn in the next few posts to some hard things to understand about that cross.


3 thoughts on “The God I Don’t Understand 9: Canaan

  1. Me loves honesty too.

    Pain seems to bring us closer to God Patrick. Yet, it is a taboo subject in some facets of ‘Christianity’.

    Vintage Christianity was all about discomfort and pain – not like the consumeristic culture we seek entertainment and partners within nowadays.

    If we truly ‘no longer live’, surely we should openly espouse pain and persecution like our Lord did?


  2. Norm,
    First, I have to confess that in speaking about faith and suffering I have not (yet) had to endure much suffering. Indeed I’m healthy and wealthy compared to most of the world’s population.
    Mixed reactions to your comment; – yes Christian hope is so powerful because it will overcome suffering, persecution and death, all of which have been defeated at the cross. And yes, there is lots of ‘me-centered’ therapeutic consumerist Christianity around.
    But to say that Christianity is ‘all about discomfort and pain’ makes it sound pretty miserable and life denying! Surely it is ‘all about’ things like love, worship, and joy?

  3. True, I did not elaborate enough, sorry. But you catch my drift.

    I read recently about Dionysius, Bishop of Alexandria describing how believers responded to a deadly plague around 260AD. Basically, the description tells of believers giving their lives to care for those stricken with the deadly plague, selflessly, and serenely loving and ministering until they died themselves. POWERFUL.

    We have lost this, in my opinion. Lost the thirst and courage to care for the weak and poor, journey with the distressed and marginalised, no matter what the cost. I speak honestly when I say I would not want to die for another, yet my thoughts fly in the face of everything that I stand for. You?

    Perplexed and caffeinated,


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