a c c o rd i n g t o t h e B i b l e
The following is the content of the Christian presentation on the concept of justice by Christopher Evans. This is part of an ongoing dialogue between Catholics and Shi‘as held at the Focolare Centre of Unity in Welwyn Garden City
he subject of justice points us first and foremost to God himself. In the Old Testament, God describes himself to Moses as: “I am who I am”. Throughout the Old Testament scriptures, God’s people have had insights into the various aspects of God’s character. These include: Everlasting God, Mighty God, Most High, the Lord of Hosts, the Lord our Shepherd, the Lord our Peace, the Lord will provide, God Almighty, God Creator Mighty and Strong, the Lord our Rock, and the Lord our Healer. To this partial list, we can add from Jeremiah 13 verse 16 the description of God as “The Lord our Righteousness.” Now in several Bible passages, there is a strong link between God personified as righteousness and God personified as justice. This is put very powerfully by the psalmist in Psalm 89 who discerns that righteousness and justice are at the very heart of God’s being. He puts it in this way: “Righteousness and Justice are the foundation of your throne, steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.” Similarly, in Isaiah (5:16), we discover that the Lord of Hosts is exalted in justice and the Holy God shows himself holy in righteousness. Or in Deuteronomy (32:4), God is described as The Rock whose work is perfect; all his ways are just. He is a faithful God who does no wrong. He is upright and just.
September / October 2018
I particularly love the psalmist’s description (Psalm 36) of the magnitude of God’s righteousness and justice when he says: “Your Love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like a great deep.” Christians see in Isaiah 16:5 a prophecy that these twin aspects of God’s character – faithfulness and justice – will be the hallmarks of the promised Messiah. “In Love, a throne will be established. In faithfulness a man will sit on it – one from the house of David – one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness”. Psalm 9:16 affirms that God is known by his justice, and in verses 8-9, this psalm perfectly encapsulates another aspect of justice that runs through the Old and New Testaments – namely, that God will judge the world with righteousness and will govern the peoples with justice. St Paul speaking in Athens helps us to understand that this judgement of justice will take place through the Risen Christ. God’s justice is particularly seen as justice for the oppressed. This is beautifully expressed in Isaiah 61,
which describes the year of the Lord’s favour. Let me just quote the very first verse: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is
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