One of the features that distinguishes the book of Revelation from other books of the New Testament is the author's attempt to show how power fits into the divine scheme of things. John begins with the belief that all power comes from God. God is the absolute ruler of the world. But because God gave humankind free will, there is always the possibility tha we might misuse the portion of power entrusted to us. When this happens, however, it does not mean tha God is helpless and frustrated. The world is still God's world, and is still ruled in accordance with the eternal laws of right and wrong. The way that God's power is manifested in the world is that the misuse of power brings on suffering and disaster. Wars, starvation, devastation--these are the means by which it is made plain that power abused is still under God's control. These are the "judgments" of God being worked out on the plane of history.
Monday, May 25, 2009
God's Power in a World of Evil
Reflecting on Revelation 6, Bruce Metzger in his fine, concise book on Revelation, "Breaking the Code," reminds us that when the affairs of the world seem out of control, God continues to hold everything in His hands: