Jojo M. Fung – « An Emerging Theology of Human Security »

3. Toward a Theology of Human Security

The Early Israelite society regards God as the source of human security.  Hence the Psalmist (91:1-8) proclaims, “Yahweh alone is my refuge, my place of safety, my fortress and my God in whom I trust.” Therefore, Israel found it desirable to have God entered into a covenant with them so that become God’s people (Ex 19:1 ff). In this covenantal communion, Israel allows God to be the God of Israel (Jer 7:23, 11:3 24:7l 32:38; Ezk 11:20, 14:11; 37:15-28; Hos 2:25) and Israel becomes God’s people and God’s dwelling place (Ezk 37: 27). On the part of Israel, God enjoins them and their rulers like David (2 Sam 7:16; 1 Kg 2:4, 8:25; 1 Ch 17:11; Jer 17:25, 33:17ff; Ps 99:29) to be faithful to God in the observance of the demands of the covenant. The rulers are to meet out justice to the people, especially the orphans, the widows and the strangers. This responsibility is dictated by the Deuteronomic code (Lev 19:34, 25:35) since the God of the covenant is Yahweh who defends the cause of the fatherless, widow and orphans (Deut 10:18; Psalm 146:9). This covenantal union ensures the governed to enjoy a right with God, with the neighbors who are on the margin and therefore live in a flourishing state of shalom which is the conditio sine qua non for human security.    

The understanding of Yahweh as the source of human security in Israel is further qualified by the incarnation-narrative (Lk 1:26-38, 2:1-20). Incarnation becomes the divine event by which God embraces the vulnerability of humankind and preferentially identifies Godself with the human insecurity of the “sinners” and the “unclean”. This preferential identification is the possibility of hope and resilience in the face of the insecurity meted out to the marginalized by the patriarchal society governed by King Herod (Matt 2: 1-9) in collusion with the imperial rule of Caesar Augustus (Lk 2: 1-4). 

In Early Palestine, the oppressive rules of patriarchy would subject Mary, a young woman who became pregnant out of wedlock, to be stoned to death in public. Joseph too suffered the public humiliation due to the pregnancy of Mary (Matt 1:18-22). Even the perceived tribute to the infant king of the Jews by the wise men became a threat the Temple State has to be annihilated (Matt 2:3, 13-14). Hence Wanda Deifelt avers, “this vulnerability includes a young woman capable of making decisions regarding her own body and saying yes to a pregnancy that would forever disturb the world.” Deifelt further posits, “this vulnerability includes God speaking through angels. But it also includes a man stepping out of his patriarchal and omnipotent role.”[1]

The insecurity experienced by the family of Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus finds a parallel in the insecurity suffered by families with teens and minors during the war on drugs. Therefore, the feminist theologians rightly assert that “the personal is political” because “there is no dichotomy between the violence experienced by women and children, at home, and the violence suffered outside the home.”[2] The cross is the only oppositional symbol in the face of the insurmountable human insecurity in Early Palestine. In his ignominious death in utter powerlessness and vulnerability, God is the only security for Jesus as he hangs onto the thread of hope connecting the human world and the Spirit World of God. In Jesus’ exit from the human world, the union of God’s Spirit with Jesus’ Spirit makes it possible for the cross to become the symbol of the resurrectional power that brings hope against hope in the volatile insecurity suffered by the poor during the EJK. At the same time the cross signifies the insurrectional power of the Church to denounce the systemic evil of senseless killing that is entwined with the endemic corruption and the abuse of executive power. Furthermore, the cross offers the Church and state the graces to repent of its usurpation of power to execute innocent lives so that the state learns to value and savor life as a gift from God and thus commit her resources to the fuller flourishing of the life of its citizenry.

[1] Cf. W. Deifelt, “Vulnerability and Security: A Paradox Based on a Theology of Incarnation.”

[2] Ibid.