Friday, 19 February 2016

What kind of love does God have for Men?

In reading the Bible, whatever the proper interpretation may be, it must be compatible with a wholly loving God -- and that wholly loving God means at least as much as what common sense would suppose love to mean.

Our wholly loving God is at least as loving as the most ideally loving earthly father or mother is to his or her children - and then more.

It is not a matter of God having a different kind of love than men - and this Godly type of love sometimes seeming to us as something more like hatred or cold justice. God has the same kind of love as we do for our family when that is a good family - only much more so. (Or, we have the same kind of love as God - only less so and imperfectly.)

God regards and treats his children as an ideal parent would (and almost anyone can imagine an ideal parent - even if they never had one, or cannot be one)

If we knew the whole situation, if we understood what had really happened in events described in the Bible; it must be that we would recognize that we ourselves would behave as God did - if only we were wholly Good, wholly loving.

So, when we come to a passage in scripture such as the story of Abraham and Isaac - which is perhaps the most shocking part of the whole book:

Then we should - we must - interpret the story from the perspective of a loving Father in relationship with his children. Whatever this story means, and there are several suggestions, and differences of opinion regarding its status as history or parable; it can only be interpreted within that loving context. Such passages should never be regarded as putting God's love in doubt - and if they have that effect on you, at the end of the day it is the scripture which much yield ground - not the lovingness of God.

(Of course, this means that we do not and could not derive our knowledge of the love of God entirely from scripture. But that is common sense. Even those few Chrstians who say that scripture is both sufficient and inerrant - even when considered line by line - do not actually live-by this principle.) 

If we we 'judge' God by the best of our own standards - he will exceed them. But Christian faith entails that we assume that God is wholly good, wholly loving. This is not up for discussion, God's love for us cannot be analysed or critiqued or put in doubt using any kind of 'evidence' - whether from the Bible or elsewhere.

Our God IS love, and if there is any conflict with this belief and anything else - it must always be the other thing which gives ground (and never the love of God). 

If we read or are told something about God that does not match up to the best of our standards - then this does not in any way challenge the reality of the goodness of God we can be sure that there has been a mistake somewhere, some lies, ignorance, honest human errors, or simple lack of knowledge.