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The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God

March 25, 2011

Jared Wilson posts this quote on the love of God from D. A. Carson’s The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God then goes on to comment further:

“[W]hat the Bible says about the love of God is more complex and nuanced than what is allowed by mere sloganeering.”
— D.A. Carson

What every believer in every age is challenged to do is resist the innate compulsion to flatten out the expansive love of God. His lovingkindness is everlasting. God is in fact love. We then rush headlong into sentimental distortions, self-centered appropriations, assuming that to know simply that God is love is to know simply what this love is like. “Love demands freedom,” we want to say.

Does it?

Love demands giving the loved what he or she wants. And by this, hell is maintained: a la Lewis, the doors are locked from the inside, yes?

No. If my daughter is unaware of the Mack truck bearing down on her, or she is aware that putting her finger in a light socket will electrocute her but she wants to do it anyway, do I love her if I am able to intervene but defer to her freedom? Or am I loving to tackle her out of the truck’s way, to slap her hand away from the socket?

Perhaps the latter, and since God loves everyone, it means he will some day tackle everyone, including the unrepentant and dead haters of God, out of the way. But this not only fails to maintain hell, it fails to maintain justice. Is the alternative now that God does not love everyone?

Or maybe the reality is a love more multifaceted than we can understand with finite, fallen minds. Maybe the reality is that the God of the Bible is as transcendent as he is immanent, that his ways are inscsrutable, that his love is glorious and astonishing precisely because it is too wonderful for us. Maybe the heights and breadths of God’s love do not refer merely to its size but its complexity.


From → Theology

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