in general terms the idea of divine grace can mean the entire movement of God toward the world. that is, christian theology says that God has declared himself for the world, for its continuation. God desires the world to flourish. God has good-will toward the world.
but, what does this mean in a world of religious fundamentalists and atom bombs and freeze dried foods and nano technology and islamic terrorists and pedophile priests and on and on?
bonhoeffer says that God has allowed himself to be pushed out of the modern world, but i wonder. actually, it seems that God, or at least the word "God" is the hot topic and the coinage of the realm today. someone has wisely said that, while 20th century violence was secular (nazism, fascism, communism), the 21st century will be the time of religious violence. it would appear to be so.
but, in a way this makes bonhoeffer's statement even more poignant because it’s the old view of God that has been lost, this view of a benevolent God that actually has good-will toward the world. it is this view that has been pushed aside & in its place we have thor, the god of war.
much is lost here, not the least of which is the view of God that offers the good news that God's concern for the world was so great, that he became part of that world in the christ.
those who hold a supreme sovereignist theology would have us believe that God controls the world without the inflection of the human voice. this is nonsense. humans are responsible for this mess we are in not God. humans have given up on humanity, not God. humans have lost trust and hope and a willingness to listen to the point of view of another, not God. humans have given up on the God of good-will, and in his place we rely on politics and money and possessions and elite power. smoke and mirrors.
said another way, we are free to make choices that have good-will toward the world, or we can destroy the whole thing. we are free and we are responsible. this is God's greatest gift of grace to us.
what must be remembered, however, is that, while we are free to make choices, choices that shape the world, God is free as well. God is free to allow himself to be pushed out of the world (and out of our lives) for which he has good-will. we can have it either way.