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Topic: The Love of God

Love and Integrity

by Darrel Cline

We have been writing about the love of God (128)--in the face of the undeniability of pain, suffering, and evil. We have made the claim that God loves even though He doesn't stop the pain, suffering, or evil. Many have stumbled over this claim. For that reason I will write some more about it.

One reason I can claim that God loves even though He does not step in to stop evil and suffering is that God's love is primarily focused upon man, not upon stopping evil. This is not an easy concept to grasp, but it is a necessary one if we would not be blasphemous heretics in our rage against God for allowing our pain.

That God's love is focused upon man is easy to show: take a look at Calvary where God the Son voluntarily gave His life for the salvation of man. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit were all intimately involved in the pain and suffering of Calvary. This triune God established the fact of His love for man by suffering for him in unchangeable history. Men can disbelieve it, but they cannot erase the historical reality of it. In the coming day of judgment, it will be possible for the heavenly VCR library to roll the tape of that awesome day for all before the judgment bar of God to see that Jesus really did die for humanity. Even God doesn't change history; and it is a fact of history that God died for man the sinner.

This means that God's love is man-focused. But that also means that it is not focused on stopping evil--at least, not yet. If the love of God was focused upon stopping evil, He would have never let Eve eat of the forbidden fruit. He would have never let the Serpent slither into the Garden. He would have never let Adam act the wimp and follow Eve's example. He would have stepped in and stopped the evil.

Why is God's love not focused upon stopping the evil? Because He wants men to share His eternal kingdom of love and peace and joy. The only way they can really enter into that Kingdom is if they do so as full persons--persons of intellectual integrity; persons of emotional integrity; and persons of volitional integrity. To have those kind of people in His kingdom, they have to have made intellectually, emotionally, and volitionally valid choices to reject evil and embrace His righteousness. That can't happen if He always steps in before the choices can be made. The only way God could have insured that created personalities would not choose evil was to not create them. Personalities include mind, emotion, and will. The danger in them is that the mind is limited (not omniscient) and cannot always see the outcome of its thinking; the emotions are unstable and cannot be content without confidence in the future; and the will is directed by the other two--a limited mind and unstable emotion.

The only solution to these limitations is experience and grace. Experience helps us understand the consequences of our choices, and grace enables us to understand from God's point of view. So, God created man and set him free to love Him or rebel against Him. He values most those who choose Him in spite of the pain of a universe that includes pain.

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This is article #136.
If you wish, you may contact Darrel as darrelcline at this site.