Wednesday, June 2, 2010

God is Love, We Can Not (Be)

The statement, "God is Love" is taken at face value for a lot of Christians, but how many think about it more in depth? If God is Love, then Love is perfect. We are human beings and human beings are imperfect. If no human beings are perfect, and Love is perfect, then no human beings can Love. The problem becomes more clear now, doesn't it? How can we mere human beings ever truly Love anything if Love is perfect? We can imitate Love by exhibiting the attributes thereof; patience, kindness, contentment (opposite of envy), humility, politeness, selflessness, slow to anger, forgiving, rejoicing in truth, protecting, trusting, hopeful, and persevering, but we can never do all these things perfectly in the way that Love can.

One theory I would submit as plausible is that with Love inside of us, we become more like Him, and therefore we are more and more able to Love. The flesh is the antithesis of Love, with it we can only attempt a perverse imitation of Love which has no real merits because the flesh is always serving itself. The more we come into union with Christ the more we can reflect the change within with an outwards more perfected imitation of Love. Afterall, the Bible says to, "Be imitators of God" in Ephesians 5:1. We may never be able to do it perfectly, but God says to us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness." Paul goes so far as to say that he then boasts in his weakness so that Christ's power may rest on him.

This is probably one of the shortest entries I've made that actually had deep thoughts involved, but that's alright. Sometimes clarity and brevity are the best. As a side note, I think you all might enjoy my updated Me In Five Songs playlist. You can find a link to a pop-out player on the right. Yeah, it's that ugly black button that says "Pop-Out Player"

Until next time,
De Facto

7 comments:

  1. I don't think that it is one of those statements that should be taken straight as is.

    Yes, God does define the ultimate in Love and all we can do is hope to attain a thin and faint shadow of this.
    No, Love and God are not the same thing and this shouldn't be the way we see it.

    If God is Love then we are left with a God who isn't much more than a santa claus style figure who simply likes humanity a lot.
    We need to also take into account that there are other sides to God. God is also Hate, Anger and Rage. To the Christian, God shows love (especially in the case of Heaven and the sacrificial death of Christ), however in the end, God shows everything else to non-Christians when we see hell.

    I would propose that God cannot 'be' Love, but that his showing of Love should be our goal and aim for our imitation of it.

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  2. To say that God is hate is to say He is the antithesis of Himself (1 John 4:8). Yes, our God is a jealous God who cannot have anything to to do with Sin, but it is our own choice as to where we go when die. It is not God's wrath that some spend eternity separated from Him, but it is their own free will which permits them to live eternally the way they lived their immortal lives (2 Peter 3:9).

    I could be wrong, because maybe I'm just not understanding your perspective, but it seems to me that God is in fact Love; Love and God are synonymous.

    And if Love could not be God, then why would we waste our time trying to imitate it? (Philippians 4:8)

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  3. And yet we also see in Malachi 1:2 "Esau I hated". We also know that God hates sin.

    I think where the difference in our perspectives comes from our definition of hate. Often hate is seen as a sin, and often it is - when it is irrational, uncontrolled and with no reason. However you can also have a righteous hatred, eg, God's Hatred of sin. Thus, a certain hatred should be emulated through us as well.

    I think that Love is synonymous with God, but the opposite does not apply.
    We need to attempt (in our useless and futile ways) to imitate every characteristic that God possesses, including Pure Love and Righteous Hate.

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  4. Malachi 1:3, "And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness."

    The Hebrew word translated to "hated" there is "Sânê" (saw-nay') which in this context means that Esau was an enemy of God.

    Regardless, we can't take a verse that says God hates something and assume that it is one of His attributes. We have to ask ourselves what is the context of that word and does it mean God is hate, or does it mean that God has a strong aversion to something? God hates sin, yes, but does that mean hate is one of His attributes or does it mean He detests sin so much that He has nothing to do with it.

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  5. I suppose it would just depend on your perspective.

    From what I gather when reading Webster's definition, it would appear to me that hate has a connotation of malice, but detest is more aversion than anything else.

    Either way I think that detracts from whether or not hate is an attribute of God, and quite frankly I don't see how hate could be an actual attribute of God. Isn't hate one of the fruits of the flesh? Upon checking we see that in Galatians 5:19-21, hatred is one of the listed carnal fruits.

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  6. The way that I'd argue it is that God displays perfect Hate, whereas humanity displays sinful hate. Partly taken from the fact that we are made in the image of God and therefore whatever is in us that is bad or evil can only be a perversion of what is good that is in God. Partly taken from my understanding of the definition of hate (more of an extreme aversion with overtones wanting the righteous destruction of the object of hate rather than malice outright).
    So I'd have God down as Hating things (under my definition) and humans hating things in more of the Webster's definition.

    In saying that I don't really think that Hate can be called an attribute of God, more a part of him in the same way as Love is. The rest of the verse that I mentioned earlier is the "Jacob I loved" part so I would put them both in the same category; God Loved Jacob in the same way that He Hated Esau. He showed 'common mercy' to the both of them, but Jacob was imbued with righteousness in the same way that Esau wasn't

    However I could very well be wrong

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