1 Ch 14-15; Rev 15-16; Psalm 53-54
Revelation 15 and 16 juxtapose two themes – both of which have largely been erased from our consciousness. The Glory of God in Chapter 15 as expressed in ‘the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb’, and the Wrath of God.
Of course, sophisticates [or perhaps that should be Sophists??] that we are, we tend to think we have only done away with the latter. The Wrath of God is something which we flee from, either in reality or metaphor. Despite the clear evidence to the contrary in the Gospels and in the person of Jesus of Nazareth there revealed, we tend to think it rather uncivilised to pay much attention to the Dies Irae – the Day of Wrath. Our forebears thought otherwise and of course the Dies Irae played a significant part in funeral liturgies.
We perhaps tend to think that by and large we do a pretty good job with glorifying God – but the reality of it is that it is precisely the desecration of the Image of God that is the root of the Wrath of God, the desecration of the Image in humankind. There is somewhat of an irony in that those who seem to make a lot of noise about justice, underplay the Wrath of God. Whilst those who perhaps fail to apprehend the Glory of God in ‘a human fully alive’, to quote Iranaeus, make most of the Wrath of God.
Orthodox faith holds these in utterly rational agreement.
Why is God angered by sin? Because it defiles his image in which we are created. Sin cannot be understood apart from this – it is no mere adherence to a seemingly arbitrary moral code. It is that which has ‘marred Your image in us’, it is the destruction of that which God has declared Good!
God’s wrath is over what we have made of ourselves – defiled ourselves, and then so often called it Good.
We give Glory to God that we might better see that which we truly are, and be all the more appalled at what we have made of ourselves.