Wednesday, January 2, 2008

God loves us.

1a. Argument: Those of us who believe God would love or does love us believe so because we need to believe God would love or does love us, or we just think of ourselves as loveable – or evangelists told us, or we were raised that way.

1b. Consider this: Have you ever had to meet someone new and wondered whether they will like you? If so -- did their “ability to like” have anything to do with whether or not you needed them to like you or considered yourself loveable or somebody else told you they would like you, or your mom raised you to believe they would like you (say it’s your grandpa or somebody)? Consider this, too: Why do we not phrase the question using the word “love” instead of “like” when we are talking about meeting a new ‘human’ – but we feel comfortable using the word “love” when we are talking about God? Why don’t we ask… Would God like me if He met me? Perhaps it is the subconscious awareness that He already knows you, and is free from social pretense. And where did that come from?

2a. Assumption: If God hates – then God does not love.

2b. Consider this: Is hate the opposite of love? Or is it rather apathy that is the opposite of love? If we didn’t hate certain things, then we couldn’t, in truth, love certain other things. You can hate certain ‘doings’ of a person, but overall love them despite the things they do which you hate. See Matthew 6:24 and 1 Kings 18:21. Consider this as well: what does God hate – or put the question another way – why does God hate? Review the verses you quoted (Ned) and I’ll give you some more to review (pardon if some of these you already mentioned): Deut. 12:31; 16:22; Ps. 5:5; 11:5; 45:7; Prov. 6:16; 8:13; Is. 1:14; 61:8; Jer. 12:8; 44:4; Hosea 9:15; Amos 5:21; 6:8; Zech. 8:17; Mal. 1:2-3; 2:16; Rom. 9:13; Heb. 1:9; Rev. 2:6. That’s all the verses I could find on God’s hate in my concordance – compare with the verses I found on God’s love at the end of this thread (yes, there are other words for hate, and ways of expressing it… there are also other words for love, and ways of expressing it). You will (re)discover that God hates: abominable acts like child sacrifice (in fire), worshiping and burning sacrifices to man-made artifacts (gods/idols) (read this satire: Jer. 10) (it is like going up to Mom with a ventriloquist dummy and saying, “Mom, you’ve been great, but now I want to be this dummy’s son,”), evil and doing iniquity/evil, loving violence, wickedness, haughty eyes, lying (including perjury and lying against another), shedding innocent blood, devising wicked plans, running rapidly to evil, spreading strife, pride, arrogance, perverting the truth, empty religious ritual, mistreating prisoners of war, when the beloved of His soul roars against Him, unfaithfully combining empty religious ritual in worship of God with the worship of other “gods” (it’s like cheating on your spouse while maintaining an empty sexual relationship with them), arrogance (in success) of self- and “god”-reliance (“god”-reliance is self-reliance, because the gods were man-made), devising evil in one’s heart against another, Esau (in the sense that He did not choose him – we can talk more about that if you like), divorce, being so filthy your clothes are covered with “wrong”/violence (see Mal. 3:5). So -- “WHY” does God hate? – because He loves. He hates that which mucks up Love. If we do not walk with the Source of Love, we get something… that isn’t Love.

There is a buzz-phrase that says (if I remember correctly) “Love the sinner, not the sin.” You could reverse it and say, “Hate the sin, not the sinner.” However, a few of those “hate” verses show God hating the person. You must ask yourself: what makes the man? Is a person equal to what he does? In a sense, he is. Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” To be “born again” – to be made new – you must first go through a kind of death… we must become like little children. We have to see with new eyes, or we will never see.

Check out Ezek. 18:23; 18:32; 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9.

Does the reality of suffering mean God hates us? Perhaps it is when we are suffering that we truly learn (if we accept) and reflect to others how much He really does love us and is the only source of strength to overcome – consider Luke 23:34 and Acts 5:41-42, and Acts 7:60. Suffering can push us away from or draw us closer to God.

Does punishment or judgment mean God hates us? No -- the Lord disciplines His children/beloved: Ezekiel 16, Hosea 9:15, Rev. 3:19, Job 5:17, Ps. 94:12, 1 Cor. 11:32, Mark 10:21, Prov. 3:11-12, Heb. 12:5-11, Ps. 89:32-33, Jer. 16:5, Psalm 119:71-72; Job 2:10; Isaiah 35:4; Psalm 30:5; Psalm 51:8. God's love is not different from His desiring that we turn away from sin (repentance, obedience to the royal law of Love). When we say "God loves you" -- it includes that He will shape you and mold you -- discipline you into a true disciple. It includes that He hates sin, because sin gets in the way of Love.

The cross, rather than being a “single instance” or “one occasion” of love (though it did necessarily take place in time, and so John can refer to it in the past tense), was an expression of unconditional, eternal, infinite love. See Romans 5:5-11. Love is a divine attribute (1 John 4:8) – God is eternal (Deut. 33:27, Is. 9:6, Eph. 3:11, 1 Tim. 1:17, Heb. 9:14, Rev. 14:6), God is love, therefore love is eternal (1 Cor. 13). If that love is not available for everyone, these verses make no sense: 1 Tim. 1:13-16, Acts 10, Acts 13:47, Luke 2:32, Luke 5:31-32, Hebrews 10:1-18.

Most importantly, God wants us to love each other. The best way we can ever worship God (Matthew 25:35-46; 26:10) is by loving each other – that is His royal law [James 2:8 NASB note: The law of love (Lev. 19:18) is called “royal” because it is the supreme law that is the source of all other laws governing human relationships. It is the summation of all such laws (Matt 22:36-40; Rom 13:8-10, Gal. 5:14)]. He hates it when we do not love each other (see 2b). Would an unloving God command this:

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (NASB note says that in Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus corrects a misinterpretation of this Leviticus 19:18 verse – the misinterpretation was made by the stricter Pharisaical school of Shammai.) In Matt. 22:39, Mark 12:31 and Luke 10:27, Jesus combines the Shema (Deut. 6:5) with the royal law “to show that love for neighbor is a natural and logical outgrowth of love for God,” (NASB note).

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 7:12)

Verses on God’s love (this index only includes all verses which use the word love in its various forms, according to Strong’s concordance, based on the KJV translation – this index does not include all verses which show God’s love in action, and does not include all the verses in this thread):

Deut. 4:37; 7:7-9, 13; 10:15, 18; 23:5; 33:3; 2 Sam. 12:24; 1 Kin. 10:9; 2 Chr. 2:11; 9:8; Ps. 11:7; 17:7; 25:6; 26:3; 33:5; 36:7, 10; 37:28; 40:10, 11; 42:8; 45:7; 47:4; 48:9; 51:1; 63:3; 69:16; 78:68; 87:2; 88:11; 89:33, 49; 92:2; 99:4; 103:4; 107:43; 119:88, 149, 159; 138:2; 143:8; 146:8; Prov. 8:17; 15:9; Is. 43:4; 48:14; 63:7, 9; Jer. 9:24; 16:5; 31:3; 32:18; Eze. 16:8; Hos. 2:19; 3:1; 9:15; 11:1, 4; 14:4; Zeph. 3:17; Mal. 1:2; 2:11; Mark 10:21; Jn 3:16, 35; 5:20; 10:17; 11:3, 5, 36; 13:1, 23, 34; 14:21, 23; 15:9-17; 16:27; 17:23, 24, 26; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20; Rom. 5:5, 8; 8:35, 37, 39; 9:13; 2 Cor. 5:14; 9:7; 13:11, 14; Gal. 2:20; 5:22; Eph. 2:4; 3:19; 5:2, 25; 6:23; 2 Thess. 2:16; 3:5; 1 Tim. 1:14; Titus 3:4; Heb. 1:9; 12:6; 1 Jn 2:15; 3:1, 16, 17; 4:7-12, 16, 19; 5:3; Rev. 1:5; 3:9, 19.

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