Manufactured Peace

  • Nathan Schneider
World Peace written on a wall

The United Nations was established after the close of World War 2. Its purpose is to unite together different nations with diplomacy and good relations with the hope of preventing further wars. If you were to read the charter of the United Nations, you’d come across this statement in the preamble which explains one of the means by which it aims to accomplish its overall purpose:

“…to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors.”

In other words, the goal of the UN, as expressed in its charter, is to promote and accomplish universal peace through international diplomacy.

What’s interesting is that across the street from the UN headquarters in New York City is Ralph Bunche park. Engraved on the wall of a staircase there is a quote from Isaiah 2:4, which reads:

“They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Neither shall they learn war anymore.”

I find that quotation very fascinating. Here is the largest and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world, whose aim is to accomplish universal peace, and the words they quote in inspiration for their dream is from Isaiah 2.

Universal peace is a quite an ambitious goal. Unfortunately, it’s a pipe dream. It’s doomed to fail. Why? Because the world has a fundamentally false view of the moral nature of human beings. When sinful humanity tries to live together, it results in violence, strife, and enmity. Unless you first deal with man’s inherent sinful nature, you cannot simply manufacture peace.

What’s most fascinating is that the basis for the peace the UN desires is right under their nose…but they cut it out of the quote from Isaiah:

He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide disputes for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)

God is the only one who can create peace on this earth. He is the true arbiter, the one reconciler, the Great Judge who decides disputes and executes justice and equity. Under His rule, nations will know peace. They will live in harmony.

And the peace described in Isaiah 2 is a macro peace that has already been accomplished at a micro level through Christ in the church. Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it this way:

“Without God there is discord between God and man and between man and man. Christ became the Mediator and made peace with God and among men. Without Christ we should not know God, we could not call upon him, nor come to him. But without Christ we also would not know our brother, nor could we come to him. The way is blocked by our own ego. Christ opened up the way to God and to our brother. Now Christians can live with one another in peace; they can love and serve one another, they can become one. But they can continue to do so only by way of Jesus Christ.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together)

The church represents a group of people, both Jews and Gentiles, whose animosity and hostilities toward each other have been transformed into peace. We have real peace with each other, not a manufactured one, because Christ dealt with the fundamental roadblock which prevented it.

The news headlines continue to underscore the reality of human nature. Riots and revolts foment in nearly every major U.S. city, protesters march on national and civic buildings calling for the defunding or even dismantling of police departments. These are both the symptoms of the problem as well as the manmade solutions for them. They point to the lack of harmony, they reveal humanity’s desire for peace, but they also show how man aims to address it…through manufactured peace.

But Christians have something different. Our peace and harmony isn’t manufactured. It’s real! And we have a message that invites everyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or background, the opportunity to experience real peace for the first time.

Let’s not get distracted by a manufactured peace. Let’s remember that we have peace, but only through the one who is our peace…the man Jesus Christ. And let’s proclaim that peace to everyone who’s seeking and yearning for that kind of peace.

“For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14-16)