"the necessary correlate of human nonviolence"

A recent discussion reminded me of this passage from Exclusion & Embrace by Miroslav Volf, a native Croatian who taught there during the war in former Yugoslavia and now teaches as Yale Divinity School. He makes an important connection between human nonviolence and God's vengeance (a common biblical theme often troubling to pacifists):
In 1 Peter we read: "Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in his steps.... When he was abused, he did not return abuse; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but entrusted himself to the one who judges justly" (1 Peter 2: 21, 23; cf. Romans 12: 18-21). [I think it's also worth seeing part of the Romans passage he refers to: "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' No, "if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink..."]

The close association between human nonviolence and the affirmation of God's vengeance in the New Testament is telling. ...Without entrusting oneself to the God who judges justly, it will hardly be possible to follow the crucified Messiah and refuse to retaliate when abused. The certainty of God's just judgment at the end of history is the presupposition for the renunciation of violence in the middle of it. The divine system of judgment is not the flip side of the human reign of terror, but the necessary correlate of human nonviolence. Since the search for truth and the practice of justice cannot be given up, the only way in which nonviolence and forgiveness will be possible in a world of violence is through displacement or transference of violence, not through its complete relinquishment.

[Quoting Jewish scholar Henri Atlan:] "The only means of prohibiting violence by ourselves" is to insist that violence is legitimate "only when it comes from God."

...One could object that it is not worthy of God to wield the sword. Is God not love, long-suffering and all-powerful love? A counter-question might go something like this: Is it not a bit arrogant to presume that our contemporary sensibilities about what is compatible with God's love are so much healthier than those of the people of God throughout the whole history of Judaism and Christianity? [For example, earlier he notes: "The Anabaptist tradition, consistently the most pacifist tradition in the history of the Christian church, has traditionally had no hesitation about speaking of God's wrath and judgment."]

...My thesis that the practice of nonviolence requires a belief in divine vengeance will be unpopular with many Christians, especially theologians in the West. To the person who is inclined to dismiss it, I suggest imagining that you are delivering a lecture in a war zone (which is where a paper that underlies this chapter was originally delivered). Among your listeners are people whose cities and villages have been first plundered, then burned and leveled to the ground, whose daughters and sisters have been raped, whose fathers and brothers have had their throats slit. The topic of the lecture: a Christian attitude toward violence. The thesis: we should not retaliate since God is perfect non-coercive love. Soon you will discover that it takes the quiet of a suburban home for the birth of the thesis that human nonviolence corresponds to God's refusal to judge. In a scorched land, soaked in the blood of the innocent, it will invariably die. And as one watches it die, one will do well to reflect about many other pleasant captivities of the liberal mind.