Justice for all

I’ve been thinking about justice, and how we’ve come to imagine it as the infliction of suffering in response to wrong. It seems to me a deeper justice is not pain for pain, but the setting of things to rights. What is wrong, in other words, is made no longer wrong.

Justice in this view is healing, and restoration, rather than the heaping of suffering upon suffering. I wonder how our views of God might be changed, and our sermons and lectures and books and conversations, if we thought about justice that way, about God as something more than an all-powerful being with the mind of legalistic, vengeance-seeking man.


  1. Brian

    Had the same thought as Rob H (above). Your statement about justice as “setting of things to rights” reminds me of the ideas I’ve heard expressed by N.T. Wright (author of Surprised by Hope). All of this resonates with me quite a bit. Glad to hear you feel similarly.

  2. Beth

    Also by N.T. Wright: Evil and the Justice of God. He wrote it in response to the events of 9/11/01, and I highly recommend it.

  3. Jonny

    The first few chapters of Alistair McGrath’s seminal volume on the topic of justification is devoted to demonstrating that this is precisely the historical Jewish understanding of God’s justice. How different our world might have been if it had not filled this word with the Roman meaning . . .

  4. Howard

    Another term I hear frequently is “fairness”, usually said this way, “That’s not fair!”. Somehow we have this idea that God would have everything be equal, which is why we want the rich to pay for everything.

    I have often said, “God is not fair, He’s just.”, and I like you’re meaning of justice. God will set everything right, but it may not be equal.

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