Love or Justice? – by Greg Albrecht

The discussion of eternal torment and the fate of the “unsaved” is often framed, by the law and order crowd, as a matter of God’s love or his justice. Those who are intent on relegating those who, to their knowledge and satisfaction, have never heard or accepted their version of Christianity to eternal torture, often characterize those, like myself, who primarily look for answers based on God’s love and grace, as soft-headed, soft-hearted and weak.

So which is it—love or justice? Is God primarily a God of love or a God of justice? Here’s what I see as the fundamental flaw in real, he-man, tough-as-nails Christianity:
• Jesus Christ is the very embodiment of God’s love—he is God’s love personified. When I study his life and teachings I am overwhelmed by his compassion and mercy, and find few examples when he models a heavenly hanging judge who makes tough, by-the-book decisions in favor of religious perceptions and definitions of justice.
• The Bible reveals that God is love. The Bible defines the very heart and core of God as love. Love is what God is, rather than one of his attributes. God has many attributes, with justice being among them. But all of God’s attributes flow out of his love—his attributes do not flow out of his justice. God is merciful, sovereign, holy, just, perfect, good, righteous, omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient—and all of these attributes are summarized in his divine love.
• Most of the arguments attempting to place God’s justice and wrath as his defining characteristics go something like this: Yes, the death of Jesus Christ was the ultimate expression of divine love. But …
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