Elders' Blog

Pastor's Note - December 10

Last Sunday we spent some talking about God’s love, and that God has true, emotional love for His people. He exults and rejoices over us. When we read Scripture, this is obvious throughout. However, there is some theological difficulty in wrapping our head around God’s “emotional” love. After all, if God is sovereign, and knows all things from beginning to end, how is it that He also experiences such responsive, emotive love? How can God become sad in a moment, over the choices of His people, if He already knew what choices they were going to make? That’s a difficult question to wrap our head around! Because of this, some Christians throughout history have believed that God does not truly feel emotions in Himself. Rather, He expresses emotions simply for our sake. There is some ground for this line of thinking. After all, if God could be changed in His own being because of choices we make, would He still be God? If His state was subject to our actions, would He still be God? And we know that God is in Himself unchanging, that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” We need a God who doesn’t change in His being. If He did change, either by getting better or worse, then we could no longer say He is perfect! All the same, Scripture is still clear that God truly feels emotions in response to our actions. So how do we wrap our heads around all these tensions? First, we praise God that there is mystery in Him. If we could perfectly and completely explain Him, He would no longer be God to us. Second, we want to affirm that God is unchanging in His being, His plans, His attributes, and His promises for the world. We can trust Him to be consistent. Third, we must assert that God truly has emotions, like love, for His people and creation. Last, I think it’s important to understand that God’s emotional responses in time, while genuine, do not change His eternal being. He is not crippled by His emotions. He feels them genuinely, but is not at the mercy of His emotions, in the same way we are. Somehow, the eternal, unchanging God is forever the same, yet relates to us in time with genuine emotional and dynamic interaction. That’s about as far as I can understand it! But I am thankful for a God who never changes, who I can trust, and who loves His people who believe in His Son.

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