Monday, February 25, 2013

Down by the Sea: Part 1

Our God and Creator is truly awesome, breathtakingly beautiful, mind-boggling, inscrutable, and good. That opening sentence is probably the granddaddy understatement of all time.

Think about it.  God creates us.  Therefore, we as with all life forms are contingent beings: we fully depend on God for life.  Yet, unlike all other lifeforms, God endowed human beings with the capability to enter into a personal relationship with God.  By personal I mean when God dwells with us and us with God at the level of intimacy known for all eternity within the God-head, shared between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  God didn't create us in just the basal sense of contingency, but with a nature able to share God's nature, and also comprehend what such a relationship means--eventually, anyway.  God created us for the possibility of us calling God, Abba, Father--Daddy.

But God doesn't fabricate such a relationship between God and us--although God could--because then it would be only a mere facsimile of what God is seeking.  One could aspire to riding horses one day.  But if one decided to make good one's dream by purchasing a hobby-horse--and it might be a very excellent 3-D printing of a real horse--and took to riding it, one would still be only dreaming.  No, for the relationship God wants, both parties must freely choose to enter into it.

The force binding together the three persons of the Trinity in relationship is the same that must bind us in relationship with God, for the relationship to be genuine.  The binding force is love.  And for love to be genuine it must be freely given and received, and received to be freely given back again.  I particularly like the above hobby-horse analogy because executing good and genuine horseback riding necessarily involves a relationship between the rider and the horse.  True love always entails a translation between the lovers, not a transaction.  One might program the hobby-horse to respond a certain way to each stimulus from the rider, but the response would be the same every time--that's how transactions work.  A real horse may not always respond the same to stimuli from the rider--sometimes its because the horse sees something the rider doesn't--that's how translations work.

If we don't engage in the relationship with God in the purity of God's love, we will never engage in the relationships God intended for us to have between each other, because the same love is required.  This is why there are so many destructive relationships in the world, because so few of us enjoy the necessary relationship with God.  We spend our lives attempting to wing it, treating love as if it were a transaction, rather than something much deeper, powerful, and selfless.  Only God can teach us such love because only God is love.

What is critical, then, for the relationships God seeks first between Himself and us, and then consequentially between you and me, to blossom, grow, and become intrinsic to us is for us to walk with God in the tension of God's sovereignty and Human Responsibility (GS/HR).

Next week we'll venture down by the sea, and unpack this perhaps startling claim.


Jon Kokko said...

God's love is probably among the deepest (if not the deepest) topics in Scripture. It's not well understood [and I include myself in that statement]. I suppose that's partially because a knowledge of Love requires a knowledge of God and that's a continual growth process.

It is truly a 'translational' journey!

Jeff said...

Good post Bruce! I am always amazed by how few people really enjoy the beauty God created all around us. We complain about the snow and cold. But wouldn't it be a marvel if we had a sudden snow storm in the middle of a sweltering hot August day? Would we not dance with joy in the refreshingly cool snow flakes?

I can't wait for next week's "God's Sovereignty and Human Responsibility" posting.