Friday, May 22, 2009

God Is Love, Part Two

In my last entry on this subject, some time ago, I discussed how the scripture ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8 and 16) is linked to God’s inherent oneness. In this follow-up I want to discuss how the idea that God is love is linked to His omniscience. God is love because God is omniscient? That may not make sense on the face of it. How about if I rephrase it and say, God is love because He understands you perfectly? He knows everything about you, including how you feel, what happened to you, and what your motivations really are.

Sometimes when we talk about His omniscience, we imagine a big eye in the sky. A heavenly close circuit camera recording our every thought and action. This is a very limited understanding of His knowledge of us. The Bible says God looks on the inward man (1 Samuel 16:7). He looks beyond our actions, both mental and physical, to see why we are the person we are, and He not only does this with perfect clarity, but His understanding is even greater than our own. That is, He not only understands us when others don’t, He understands us when we ourselves aren’t sure of what is happening or why we behave the way we do.

What He doesn't do, however, is confuse explanations with justifications. Just because He understands why we make a mistake, it doesn't necessary follow that He will accept the mistake. We commonly do. I am sure we've all read of some trial in which there is an acquittal that simply makes no sense to us. There may be a technical, legal reason behind it, but sometimes juries seem willing to accept the most ridiculous explanations. Once, in the US, a man was acquitted of two murders because he had eaten some junk food and his blood sugar was high. There are many less bizarre examples and there is another consequence to this behaviour. We often won't hear an apology because we fear that in listening to why the person wronged us we are implicitly agreeing to accept their explanation. So we simply refuse to listen. God doesn't do that, either.

We all want understanding. We all want someone to identify with us, just as we identify with those we love. Their problems become our problems. Their aspirations our aspirations. Because God is omniscient He can be that person for us. He won't lie to us when were wrong, but His capacity for forgiveness is limitless. And His love for us is as boundless as His knowledge of us.

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