Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Religion

School

Theological Seminary

Program

Religion, MA

First Advisor

Jo Ann Davidson

Second Advisor

Thomas Shepherd

Abstract

Problem

When it comes to the right balance concerning God’s character of mercy and justice in relation to His dealings with sin in its different manifestations, a number of theologians, as well as Christians in general, have struggled to harmonize the existence of these two attributes in all God’s actions toward sinners. This difficulty has led many to think of divine mercy and justice as attributes that cannot fit together in what is called the cosmic conflict between good and evil. This, therefore, demands a theological study based on Scripture as a whole to draw solid findings in response to the problems related to God’s character of mercy and justice in the unfolding of this cosmic conflict.

Method

This research will first provide a survey of how divine mercy and justice have been handled by some theologians and philosophers, in general, throughout Christian history, plus an overview of how the problem of the existence of “evil” in opposition to God has been seen by recent and contemporary theologians. Next, it will bring a presentation of Hebrew and Greek terminologies related to the theme. In addition, an analysis of texts in which God is concomitantly stated as being merciful and just will be employed, also providing a brief presentation of other texts where God is exclusively declared to be either merciful or just. The topic will then be evaluated through major events in the unfolding of the interplay between good and evil as a metanarrative in Scripture. Finally, the ramifications of the research will establish some concepts for theological topics and Christian ethics.

Results

By way of a systematic approach performed in this study, the biblical witness is coherent, for it points to a reality in which God has, indeed, acted mercifully and justly with His creatures in all circumstances since sin entered into this world, thus giving origin to what is called a cosmic conflict between good and evil.

Conclusion

Scripture responds to the difficulty in harmonizing divine mercy and justice by showing that in all His actions amid this spiritual warfare, God has revealed these two attributes of His character. They are always present and united as representative of His love in saving humankind.

Subject Area

God--Mercy; God--Righteousness; Judgment of God

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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