Thursday, January 16, 2014

God's Character

Regarding the topic of love & God's character,
a friend and mentor of mine wrote the following:

I agree with you that love can be a beautiful thing. It's interesting that God designed us the way that He did, particularly marriage (the "good thing"). Two people coming together, committing to each other till their death by entering into this covenant, this committed arrangement we call marriage. An endearing bond of intimacy and friendship, and unfailing desire to protect that relationship at all cost, till the end. I believe God gave us this experience of sorts as a precursor or example of the intimacy we will experience with Him in the afterlife. But even then it'll be so much greater.

I would emphasize the word protect, however. Because in a world of free will, the ability to choose right or wrong behavior, we can come to expect both the presence of good, and the absence or counterfeit of good. In this fallen world there are alot of types of counterfeits, what we call evil. I'll flesh this out a little further in a minute. But if I can add another thought, most people when they talk about God, describe him as loving, as though that is His main and ultimate attribute. It's our natural proclivity to view Him this way. Of course He is a loving God. But first and foremost he is holy.

Holy, period.

People generally misconstrue this word, but holy simply means perfect. God is loving. But first and foremost, He is perfect. You want a perfect (or holy) God more than you want a loving God. Have you ever watched a parent ruin a child by spoiling them? That's what a loving parent is capable of. But a perfect parent (if I can phrase it that way) couldn't let that happen. Because their perfection would prevent their love from becoming something other than what it was intended to do. Does that make sense? Do you see where I'm going with this?

A holy God is better than a loving God because a holy God (a perfect God) can't wreck you or offer a counterfeit of something good. And because we live in a world where counterfeits are present, we can expect to see things people call "love", man-made things and/or ill-made things that are actually knock-offs of the genuine "good thing". For example, people who mistake infatuation for love. Or women who want to be loved but settle for sex. Or how about if both parties involved are consenting? How about an adulterous affair? How about an adult that seduces or takes advantage of a younger person? How about a person who allows themselves to be taken advantage of simply because of a prior history of the same? How about young people looking for the real deal but settling for a knock-off? It's interesting that society says young people aren't even responsible enough to make decisions like driving or smoking, voting or drinking, but yet we are to believe they are able to conclude what their orientation or their switched gender is? Kinda makes you wonder, doesn't it? This all starts to get really complicated when you look at it from a deeper level. But scrutinizing our ideals enables us to determine whether those ideals are worth holding or whether we should abandon them.

In short, if there are counterfeits of the original good thing, and a holy God is unable to endorse a counterfeit because it's actually a cheap knock-off of the original good thing, then there are certain behaviors that are totally unsupported by a holy God. This implies there are certain behaviors that would actually repulse Him. This is what sin is, sin means missing the mark, the mark of Truth. Missing the intended target. We human beings dwell in the wreckage of our freedom. We assume our redaction from Truth to be the norm because we have conditioned ourselves accordingly. This is our home. A deviation from God's original intent with the propensity to wholly embrace cheap knock-offs as though they are just as good as the real deal, the real "good thing", in this particular example, marriage. 

Pretty wild, huh?     

One thing that I find interesting about a holy God is that He is more concerned about our character than our comfort. We settle for the knock-offs because it's easy, and doesn't really require anything of us. Some restraint and much needed discipline can be a healthy thing in a consumer-driven, happiness-obsessed culture. Philosopher J.P. Moreland and a host of others have written extensively on this subject. His book The Lost Virtue of Happiness is a good primer.

~* Just a reminder, I am having a giveaway that you may sign up for until the 17th and I will announce the winner the following day.  Read "giveaways" label at top of page for more info!


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