Reply Fri 16 May, 2008 05:26 am
[INDENT]"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world" (I Jn. 4:10; 2:2).[/INDENT]To us it is almost a commonplace. But to the times in which it was first spoken and to the people who first heard the words, it was the most astounding, the most startling revelation that had ever fallen upon human ears. In a way I could wish that somehow we might be plunged back into that heathen era so that we, ourselves, might hear those words for the first time - those words which we take so much for granted that their meaning for the most part eludes us entirely; that we might hear them in their pristine freshness when first they fell upon this earth - "GOD IS LOVE!"

It is helpful to understand how men viewed their God; the way in which they conceived of Him who created them. Would that we could go back to those ancient days in India or China or Japan and see the hideous idols with their grimacing countenances, their devouring teeth, their many arms and sharp claws, something of the devouring, hateful nature of their deities - or go back to the cruel Assyrians or Babylonians or Egyptians and the monstrosities, the tyrannies, which they worshipped as gods.

If you will examine the ancient pagan literature, you will find the concept of a loving God was alien to people. We take that so much for granted. Why, of course, God loves us! I want you to know that until Jesus came, people did not know that. They knew God according to superstition, or after the law. They knew that God was angry with people. God punished people. God woke up and threw thunderbolts at people. But that God loved them? God would accept their sacrifices. God would even put up with them, and they would propitiate Him and appease Him (or so they thought!), but they did not love God. But now our relationship with God is one of a Father infinitely loving a son. You can see this, for example, in one of the famous Confucian stories that our missionaries discovered when they got to China. It is a story about a young man of a wealthy father, who one day stole a large portion of his father's wealth and ran away from home. He took that money and wasted it in riotous living. The years passed, and finally it was all gone, and he came into destitution. Finally, through an intermediary, he appealed to his father to take him back again. With open arms, his father accepted him back into the home and prepared for him a great feast. Does this sound familiar? As they sat feasting together, all eyes were fixed upon the son. There was a big smile beaming on the face of the father, which broadened, as a look of horror suddenly spread across the countenance of the son. He grasped at his throat, finally realizing too late that he had been poisoned! And Confucius says, "So it shall be with every son that dishonors his Father." How infinite is the gap between that and the story Jesus told of the prodigal son! Jesus came to reveal the FATHER'S LOVE.

The Greeks had a little different conception. They viewed God in terms of beauty or truth as revealed in their architecture or sculpture or their philosophy. The Romans who were led in a thousand battles by the Caesars, had become convinced that the Roman eagle never turned backward. They conceived of their god in terms of might and strength. God was might! Even the Jews, as they looked back to the time of Moses when God descended upon Sinai and caused the mountain to quake and poured out upon them His law, conceived of God, basically, as the great Lawgiver and Judge.

It waited for the apostle John - that one who had leaned his head upon the breast of Jesus, that one who had stood before the cross to drop those words which no man had ever dared to dream before. These words were the most startling revelation when they were first spoken - "GOD IS LOVE!" We all know that, you say! Do we indeed? It is my deep conviction that for most of us the words are so trite that we haven't the faintest conception of what they mean, nor have they ever begun to grasp our hearts as they should.

Since it is an everlasting truth that men become like the god they worship, so this revelation, the unveiling of the face of the Father in heaven in the person of Jesus Christ, has done more to soften and conquer the hearts of mankind than anything that man has ever discovered. It has brought more love and more genuine progress to civilization than anything else. Without it we might still be as the Assyrians who worshipped cruel and merciless gods and, therefore, when they descended upon their foes they placed thousands of sharpened stakes in the ground, picked up their adversaries and left them impaled to die an agonizing death. Those they did not impale they flayed alive and covered the walls of their captured towns with the skins of their victims because that was the kind of god they worshipped.

But have we really made that much progress? The same beloved John who wrote so extensively of God's marvelous love left us this solemn warning, "Little children, keep yourselves from IDOLS (that is, false gods, or false ideas and representations of the true God)" (I Jn. 5:21). Do we have false ideas about God? I fear we do. We say that God is all-wise, all-knowing, and all-powerful, and then turn around and deny it. We say that God "so loved the world" and that Jesus is "the Saviour of the world" and then turn around and say that only a few will be saved while God sends the vast majority to suffer the excruciating pains of fire and brimstone for all eternity without His feeling any concern for their suffering - without mercy! We say that God is all-powerful, and then turn around and say that God has "provided" salvation for all men, that God is "trying" to save the world, that God is "pleading" with men to repent, but the devil who blinds and possesses men's souls is so much more powerful than God that he will carry captive into eternal hell countless billions of men for whom Christ died!

Also, folk who claim that they are true to the Bible say that God the Creator and God the Redeemer are the very same God, but they deny it in their attitude toward the question of the salvation of all men. As Dr. Hurley has written, "They have an infinite Creator, but a very little Redeemer. Their Christ is a comparatively helpless and puny Saviour who is going to lose most of those for whom He died. He can pay the price for the sins of the whole world, but the stubborn will of man makes it ineffective. Man's will is mightier than God's will. God is infinite to create, powerless to redeem! But either God is all-powerful, or He is not. Either God is all-wise, or He is not. Either God is all-loving, or He is not. Either God's will is sovereign, or it is not. Either God's grace is infinite, or it is not. Isn't it time for the Church of Christ to decide one way or the other, and then make her theology fit her expressed faith?" -end quote.

"Little children, keep yourselves from false ideas of God!" False ideas about God. How the world and the Church are filled with them! Many people view God as a schoolboy did: "...the sort of person who is always snooping around to see if anyone is enjoying himself and then trying to stop it." Then others make God out to be a tyrant, or a vengeful, wrath-filled FIEND. The Riverside Daily Press had an Associated Press report from San Francisco as follows: " 'A Father's Curse' was the legacy left by Dennis Donohue III, fifty-four, member of a well known family here, to his two daughters by a former wife, in a will filed for probate in Superior Court. 'And to my two daughters, Frances Marie and Denise Victoria Donohue,' he wrote in his own hand, 'by virtue of their unfeeling attitude toward a doting father, and because they have repeatedly thwarted my efforts to see them, I leave the sum of one dollar to each and a father's curse. May their respective lives be fraught with misery, unhappiness and poignant sorrow. May their deaths be soon and of a lingering, malign, and torturous nature. May their souls rest in hell and suffer the torments of the damned for eternity.' " I am sure that my readers agree with me that such an attitude is not that of a true father; it is only that of a fiend. But what may not be clear to all is that, in this respect, he is a perfect example of the God of popular theology! Because His children were unfeeling He consigns them to the torment of hell fire for ever! We loathe such a character when we see it in a mere mortal, but justify it as the character of our God who IS LOVE!

But the Bible knows of no such God. No more terrible insult was ever given to the God of all grace who came in Jesus Christ reconciling THE WORLD unto Himself. This story is told about a little girl. After she had heard her father preach a sermon on the awful wrath of God, and that the unsaved would go to a red hot, sizzling, burning hell the moment they died, and that they would twist in agony and torment forever, without mercy, this little girl said, "I wish Jesus were as good and kind as my father." God does bring judgment upon sinners - swift, strong, effective, coffective judgment - but never meaningless, sadistic torture.

Do you know what God wants more than anything else? "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who WILL HAVE ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (I Tim. 2:3-4). His mercy runs so deep that He sent Jesus as the Redeemer of the race, and has mapped out a beautiful and comprehensive "Plan of the Ages" in which to reconcile all things unto Himself. He has revealed that His tender mercies are over all His works; that He hates nothing that He has made; that it was all made for His pleasure; that He is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil; and that He has provided a way that even the banished may return to Him -- self-banished though they may be by sin. This unquenchable and eternal love of God our Father for all His creation is the great center of all Christ's teaching. He said, "For GOD SO LOVED the world..." He said, "I say not unto you that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loves you." He is not pleading with the Father to love us or any man in the world, for He came from that Father with the Gospel, with the glad tidings of the Father's love; that He so loved the world that He sent His son into it, not to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. What compassion! What wisdom! What love! What a God!

"He that loves not knows not God; for God is love. And we have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him" (I Jn. 4:8, 16). Charles H. Pridgeon wrote, "When Edgerton Young, a successful missionary in Northwestern British America, taught some of the Indians to read by the simple syllabic characters, he wrote on the rock for them to read the words, 'God is Love.' One old Indian chief looked and pronounced the characters, and as soon as he uttered them he caught their import. He arose to his great height and said, rubbing his eyes, 'Has there been sand in my eyes all these years? I have seen the Great Spirit in the lightening, I have heard Him in the thunder, but I never knew till now that GOD IS LOVE.' How many have really learned this truth?" -end quote. You see the old Indian chief knew something of the attributes and greatness of God, but he had never KNOWN WHAT GOD I-S.

Would that my tongue were eloquent enough to explain it, or that my mind were great enough to comprehend it. But neither is sufficient. I would ask that you join me as we descend into the great wealth of the glittering mine of God's attributes. As we look into this mine . . . CONTINUED

-
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 3,009 • Replies: 28
No top replies

 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2008 06:59 am
@Dustin phil,
This should be in a personal blog, not in the forum.

If you'd like to more parsimoniously raise this topic in a way that stimulates discussion, that would be appropriate.

Thanks.
Dustin phil
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2008 05:09 pm
@Aedes,
Anyone who would like to discuss this subject, I would first suggest reading the full article above.

Some things to get us started:

1. How is God love?

2. What is judgment and how could it be love?

3. Please discuss doctrines that make God seem not very loving.
Arjen
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2008 05:19 pm
@Dustin phil,
Dustin, Smile

Well, judgement is the seperating of experiences on grounds of a "rulebase". Therefore any judgement is used to seperate "good" from "bad" so to speak. Love is unconditional (or maybe that is just in my view); therefore judging is the act with which love is shattered.

Smile
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2008 09:14 pm
@Dustin phil,
Dustin wrote:
If you will examine the ancient pagan literature, you will find the concept of a loving God was alien to people. We take that so much for granted.
This is not true for MANY religions, including numerous Native American and indigenous African religions, in which the deity is benevolent and loving.
Solace
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 May, 2008 09:42 pm
@Dustin phil,
Man, if it were possible for me to turn atheist after reading that, I would have. Don't people ever get tired of presenting God as a one dimensional being? God Is Love! They shout. And if you say, ya but..? They just shout it again all the louder.

Ya know, turning a blind eye to the scripture, and to reality even for that matter, doesn't solve anything. You won't make people love God by yelling "God is love!" at the top of your lungs. Yes, God is love. But he is also hate. Just ask Esau.

Maybe if you tried to understand God as something more than that spirit in the sky or an abstract concept, ie: love, then maybe he'd have a reason to bother to get to know you a little better too.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 May, 2008 08:03 am
@Solace,
Solace wrote:
Yes, God is love. But he is also hate. Just ask Esau.
Hehe. Well, the response could be that that's the OLD Testament God. On the other hand, what did Esau ever do?

But far from every religious Christian believes that God is love. I'd suggest taking a look at "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", written by Jonathan Edwards in the 18th century.

Maybe most wouldn't accept "Hate" as the word to describe God's acts of punishment or violence. But ETERNAL damnation makes it impossible to describe God essentially as loving! Parents punish their children out of love, with the goal of making them better people. Punishment isn't permanent. But the divine equivalent of the death penalty, i.e. eternal damnation, is NOT a punishment out of love. It's exile. It's torture. And hate is not such a bad way of summarizing that.
0 Replies
 
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 May, 2008 09:51 am
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
This is not true for MANY religions, including numerous Native American and indigenous African religions, in which the deity is benevolent and loving.


I wanted to expand on what I quickly wrote earlier. There is a ton of diversity among the native peoples of the Americas. But many major groups, including the Cherokee, Hopi, Algonquian, 'First Nation', and Sioux had a related religion centered around the Great Spirit (which has different names in different groups, like Yowa among the Cherokee).

All these religions observed spirits in nature, but they were not polytheists -- they were monotheists with a transcendent deity in the Great Spirit who was omnipotent and all-loving. And he presided over a place analagous to heaven (the 'Happy hunting ground').


Many native cultures believed that animals were invested with spirits that were benevolent, and the animals would give themselves to people in the hunt in exchange for respect. Thus a tradition was held to always thank the animal spirits for giving them their meat.


There are lots of examples in African religions too. In Ghana, a country I've worked in, the Ewe people have a male-female pair of gods in which the female (Mawu) is powerful, gentle, and kind, the male (Lisa) is the punisher, but Mawu can grant forgiveness to those Lisa has punished. There are many female deities observed in indigenous African religions, and these are usually described as loving.
Dustin phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 May, 2008 12:35 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
Hehe. Well, the response could be that that's the OLD Testament God. On the other hand, what did Esau ever do?


God informed Rebekah (Gen 25:23) the children she was carrying were two great nations. These children were going to be two great warriors. One child (Esau) would devote his energies to the external world. The second child (Jacob) would concentrate his abilities on the conquest of the internal world.

Aedes wrote:
But far from every religious Christian believes that God is love. I'd suggest taking a look at "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", written by Jonathan Edwards in the 18th century.

Maybe most wouldn't accept "Hate" as the word to describe God's acts of punishment or violence. But ETERNAL damnation makes it impossible to describe God essentially as loving! Parents punish their children out of love, with the goal of making them better people. Punishment isn't permanent. But the divine equivalent of the death penalty, i.e. eternal damnation, is NOT a punishment out of love. It's exile. It's torture. And hate is not such a bad way of summarizing that.


The idea of eternal damnation is nothing more than programming. Many people believe in it but that doesn't make it true.

I would recommend these books and articles:

Eternity by J. Preston Eby

An Analytical Study of Words by Louis Abbott

Aion-Aionios Translated Everlasting-Eternal by J.W. Hanson

Aedes wrote:
I wanted to expand on what I quickly wrote earlier. There is a ton of diversity among the native peoples of the Americas. But many major groups, including the Cherokee, Hopi, Algonquian, 'First Nation', and Sioux had a related religion centered around the Great Spirit (which has different names in different groups, like Yowa among the Cherokee).

All these religions observed spirits in nature, but they were not polytheists -- they were monotheists with a transcendent deity in the Great Spirit who was omnipotent and all-loving. And he presided over a place analagous to heaven (the 'Happy hunting ground').

Many native cultures believed that animals were invested with spirits that were benevolent, and the animals would give themselves to people in the hunt in exchange for respect. Thus a tradition was held to always thank the animal spirits for giving them their meat.

There are lots of examples in African religions too. In Ghana, a country I've worked in, the Ewe people have a male-female pair of gods in which the female (Mawu) is powerful, gentle, and kind, the male (Lisa) is the punisher, but Mawu can grant forgiveness to those Lisa has punished. There are many female deities observed in indigenous African religions, and these are usually described as loving.


I'm not sure if slaughtering an animal and thanking it is really love.
Aedes
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 May, 2008 03:33 pm
@Dustin phil,
Dustin wrote:
God informed Rebekah (Gen 25:23) the children she was carrying were two great nations. These children were going to be two great warriors. One child (Esau) would devote his energies to the external world. The second child (Jacob) would concentrate his abilities on the conquest of the internal world.
What does that mean in terms of birthrights being stolen and their father Isaac nearly getting his throat slashed by Abraham on God's command?

Quote:
The idea of eternal damnation is nothing more than programming. Many people believe in it but that doesn't make it true.
Can you reference any official church positions on eternal damnation?

Quote:
I'm not sure if slaughtering an animal and thanking it is really love.
I'm not sure if flooding the earth and killing everyone except for one family on a boat is really love. I'm not sure if burning two cities to the ground is really love. I'm not sure if smiting the first born child of every family in Egypt is really love.

And it's not animal sacrifice. It's hunting for subsistence. At least in that culture the animal is thanked and revered for giving itself to be food.

This is in contrast with God giving humans dominion over all the animals, which isn't really love either -- because if that's the case no respect for animals is expected.
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 May, 2008 05:35 pm
@Dustin phil,
Dustin wrote:
GOD IS LOVE!

To ascribe any 'attribute' to 'God' is idolatry, pure and simple. Whatever you fill in the blank with; "God is________", is idolatry.
Any image/concept of 'God' in your mind is idolatry. Attributes are images/concepts.
Dustin phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 May, 2008 08:41 pm
@Aedes,
Aedes wrote:
What does that mean in terms of birthrights being stolen and their father Isaac nearly getting his throat slashed by Abraham on God's command?

Can you reference any official church positions on eternal damnation?


I'm not quite sure what you are asking. There are many variations of eternal damnation and no church (that I am aware of) agrees as one. I believe Esau willingly sold his birthright.

Aedes wrote:
I'm not sure if flooding the earth and killing everyone except for one family on a boat is really love. I'm not sure if burning two cities to the ground is really love. I'm not sure if smiting the first born child of every family in Egypt is really love.

And it's not animal sacrifice. It's hunting for subsistence. At least in that culture the animal is thanked and revered for giving itself to be food.

This is in contrast with God giving humans dominion over all the animals, which isn't really love either -- because if that's the case no respect for animals is expected.


Those are good points and perhaps a deeper understanding of things would help clear things up a little. As you said in your other post, the human mind has a finite capacity and therefore technically cannot conceive of all the ways in which the universe interacts.

Probably like yourself, my understanding and experiences and ability to explain things as these increases daily. But one thing I do know is there is definitely something greater out there than I am.
0 Replies
 
Dustin phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 17 May, 2008 08:46 pm
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
To ascribe any 'attribute' to 'God' is idolatry, pure and simple. Whatever you fill in the blank with; "God is________", is idolatry.
Any image/concept of 'God' in your mind is idolatry. Attributes are images/concepts.


According to what religion or beliefs?
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 May, 2008 01:47 am
@Dustin phil,
Dustin wrote:
According to what religion or beliefs?

All the spiritual paths agree at the deeper levels, take your choice.
As soon as you learn to dig past the neophyte flash and fundamnentalism and superficial dogmas, all say the same thing. A matter of perspective...
Dustin phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 May, 2008 05:53 am
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
All the spiritual paths agree at the deeper levels, take your choice.
As soon as you learn to dig past the neophyte flash and fundamnentalism and superficial dogmas, all say the same thing. A matter of perspective...


While I'm not sure what religion you practice or what you consider God to be, the Bible speaks of God as sovereign, holy, love, immutable, jealous, merciful, patient, faithful, infinite, triune, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, eternal, impartial, justice, transcending, wise, truth, righteous, etc.

However, I do agree in that anything can be an idol. Perfect balance and a single eye could be major keys.
soullight
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 May, 2008 01:12 pm
@Solace,
If their is A God I would imagine him or her to be nameless and unrestricted by lables, but even a He or She would suggest that this creational inspired energy is confined to gender. This power is simply power that can transform into any manifestation of what we call reality, it is woven through everything; in fact - it is what keeps everything together. Ancient civilations and a myriad of sub cultures have worshiped God like he was sitting like a gnome on a distant star. The coming of Jesus according to christians leads one into a perfect close unity, where one can develope a pesonal relationship, almost like, dragging God down from the star to live in the heart of man kind. We have formed many concepts and wild sentiments to embody our belief that something so supra pure longs to reside in a sinful receptical made of weak flesh. Jesus was the perfect bridge to make this feel real for his followers. We need to equate God to emotions feelings and judgements, basically
because that is the way we interpret life as a whole and helps us to identify with an unseen divine enity. Therefore, we have created a God that is only the highest love, because that is what every one wants, but a God that has counterpart qualities like hate vengence envy, similar to the Old testiment ways, people dont want to hear.
God is everything good and bad.
Dustin phil
 
  1  
Reply Sun 18 May, 2008 01:24 pm
@soullight,
soullight wrote:
We need to equate God to emotions feelings and judgements, basically because that is the way we interpret life as a whole and helps us to identify with an unseen divine enity.


I can agree with that, and if only we could express this way through forums, we would probably understand each other better.
0 Replies
 
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 May, 2008 03:49 pm
@soullight,
soullight wrote:
If their is A God I would imagine him or her to be nameless...

How sweet...............
0 Replies
 
nameless
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 May, 2008 03:59 pm
@Dustin phil,
Dustin wrote:
While I'm not sure what religion you practice

None.

Quote:
or what you consider God to be,

I consider god to be god/Consciousness/whatever... Definite concepts are idolatry (in the Judeo/Xtian tradition, and others).

Quote:
the Bible speaks of God as sovereign, holy, love, immutable, jealous, merciful, patient, faithful, infinite, triune, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, eternal, impartial, justice, transcending, wise, truth, righteous, etc.

Metaphor!!
A very narrow (and quite ignorant) perspective... too ignorant (and violent to logic) to be taken literally (from 'this' perspective). Taking that 'nonsense' literaly leads to all kinds of 'paradox', the sure sign of cognitive error.
The writers of the bible make this 'god' in man's image, EGO, but tries to amp up our characteristics to an imagined 'godlike' level. Just neophytic metaphors...
Dustin phil
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 May, 2008 04:48 pm
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
Metaphor!!
A very narrow (and quite ignorant) perspective... too ignorant (and violent to logic) to be taken literally (from 'this' perspective). Taking that 'nonsense' literaly leads to all kinds of 'paradox', the sure sign of cognitive error.
The writers of the bible make this 'god' in man's image, EGO, but tries to amp up our characteristics to an imagined 'godlike' level. Just neophytic metaphors...


So basically how you would experience and understand an infinite God / Consciousness depends entirely upon your own finite logic and reasoning?
 

Related Topics

How can we be sure? - Discussion by Raishu-tensho
Proof of nonexistence of free will - Discussion by litewave
morals and ethics, how are they different? - Question by existential potential
Destroy My Belief System, Please! - Discussion by Thomas
Star Wars in Philosophy. - Discussion by Logicus
Existence of Everything. - Discussion by Logicus
Is it better to be feared or loved? - Discussion by Black King
 
  1. Forums
  2. » GOD IS LOVE!
Copyright © 2023 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.05 seconds on 02/03/2023 at 11:49:38