But for today let me give another reason about why I'm drawn to the spiritual warfare metaphor.
In a comment today to Daniel, whose comments I uniformly enjoy and learn from, I said that while many of us are struggling with Boyd's use of warfare as a theodicy I really do think the kernel of his idea is worth talking about: resistance is our only theodicy.
True, in the face of the forces of violence and dehumanization maybe the dichotomy between resignation and resistance is too simplistic but, for my part, I'm drawn to articulations of resistance, "warfare" metaphor and all.
In his comment Daniel brought up the Holocaust. I don't know how any theodicy could be given in that face of that horror. In fact, I don't think we should be trying to get God off the hook for that. Nor do I think, and I agree with Daniel on this, that appeals to divine solidarity help all that much.
Which is why I'm drawn back to Boyd. If not to his theology then to his goal: resistance is our only theodicy.
For example, I wish there had been a bit more militancy in German Christianity during the rise of Nazism. Which is why I tire a bit to reactions such as "I don't like seeing myself in a battle. I just want to love people."
For my part, I take inspiration to keep using the spiritual warfare metaphor from people like the White Rose martyrs.
If you don't know about the White Rose they were college-age students, most were Christians, who began resisting the Nazi regime by printing and dispersing subversive leaflets. They were one of the few Christian voices speaking out against Hitler. They are spiritual heroes of mine and too few people know about them.
A selection from the famous fourth leaflet of the White Rose:
Every word that proceeds from Hitler’s mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war. And when he names the name of the Almighty in a most blasphemous manner, he means the almighty evil one, that fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the stinking maw of hell and his might is fundamentally reprobate. To be sure, one must wage the battle against National Socialism using rational means. But whoever still does not believe in the actual existence of demonic powers has not comprehended by far the metaphysical background of this war. Behind the tangible, behind that which can be perceived by the senses, behind all factual, logical considerations stands The Irrational, that is the battle against the demon, against the messengers of the Anti-Christ. Everywhere and at all times, the demons have waited in darkness for the hour in which mankind is weak; in which he voluntarily abandons the position in the world order that is based on freedom and comes from God; in which he yields to the force of the Evil One, disengaging himself from the powers of a higher order. Once he has taken the first step of his own free will, he is driven to take the second and then the third and even more with furiously increasing speed. Everywhere and at every time of greatest danger, people have risen up – prophets, saints – who are aware of their freedom, who have pointed to the One God and with His aid have exhorted the people to turn in repentance. Mankind is surely free, but he is defenseless against the Evil One without the true God. He is a like rudderless ship, at the mercy of the storm, an infant without his mother, a cloud dissolving into thin air.For dispensing this and their other pamphlets the leaders of the White Rose were beheaded by the Nazis.
I ask you, you as a Christian wrestling for the preservation of your greatest treasure, whether you hesitate, whether you incline toward intrigue, calculation, or procrastination in the hope that someone else will raise his arm in your defense? Has God not given you the strength, the will to fight? We must attack evil where it is strongest, and it is strongest in the power of Hitler...
We will not keep silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not let you alone!
In memory of the White Rose I'm sticking with the spiritual warfare metaphor.