Just War and Pacifism – a Biblical Theology (part 1 of many, many parts)

So I’m going to be writing 15,000 words on pacifism, and attempting to develop an evangelical argument.

For those of us who have studied at Moore College, we have had Michael Hill (often via Andrew Cameron) drill  into us that the first step in thinking about any ethical issue is to understand the biblical theology. That is, we need to look at the different things that the Bible seems to say about the topic within the framework of the biblical story arc from Creation to New Creation.

So, for the next few weeks, we will be going through the biblical story and observing how major themes revolving around war arise, and how they fit into God’s great plan.

Our first stop, naturally, is creation. it is quite obvious that neither war nor violence existed in the garden before the fall. There are many theological observations that can be made from this, but most would be premature. Clearly though, before sin, God’s creation operated without violence (or, indeed, any form of death), and without the need for self defence.

Next stop, the Fall…


4 thoughts on “Just War and Pacifism – a Biblical Theology (part 1 of many, many parts)

  1. Now this I’m looking forward too. Would be very happy to read anything, and I’m around-ish at college on Tuesdays if you need a critical yet sympathetic reader.

  2. That’s the trouble with you theologians,(cf. Dec 18 2009) still not starting in the right place.
    How can you understand the “fall” unless you have first begun to consider from what and why?

    • damn those gremlins in my brain, although I wonder to what extent it is obvious that there was no violence before the fall. Clearly there was death, and so presumably there must have been heartache and sorrow
      and so, perhaps violence at least in some limited sense

      • OK, More accurate to say that there was no death within the garden for the man and the woman due to the tree of life. And Gen 1-2 has no mention of violence within the garden. I think it is safe to say that there was no violence in the garden (even after our extended discussion :-)). That might depend on the given meaning of ‘violence’.

        At the very least, we cannot say much about the pre-fall state,and any theological conclusion made from speculation about what was going on in that state is most likely to be deeply flawed.

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