Saturday, January 21, 2012

God's Love

'Love' is widely misapprehended because of a cultural tendency to associate it with saccharine sentimentality. Christians understand that God is love in the sense of 'agape' (or a combination of 'eros' and 'agape', depending on who you ask), but if the cultural understanding of love is something else entirely -- which ours is -- then it's important to clarify what it is we mean when we say things like "God is Love." If people think we are saying that God is what our culture understands love to be, they will think that we're saying something very far from what we actually mean.

The cultural understanding of love wouldn't include any space for things like "judgment". And within the social sphere, between and among fallen human beings, this makes sense to some extent. But from the perspective of a perfect Creator God who is far above His creatures in every way, space for righteous judgment as an aspect of love opens up fully, and is in fact logically necessary.
The lyricism in the following track by Evangel expresses what God's Love is while being careful to contrast it to our culture's understanding of love. 

God is Love, we don't need proof of it / We see the truth of it in the crucifix / But He's not just the God who's got Love for the lost / But the God who said this world was judged through the cross / Believe it / God was Love, even when He sent His Angel of Death to kill the firstborn of Egypt / Not Casanova / But Love that needs the Lamb's blood for passin' over / The Wrath of Jehovah / With all that in mind / Know God is Love which suffers long and is kind / 'Til we fall into line / While His anger is buildin' / Patiently awaitin' His children / To become the world's strangers and pilgrims

Of course, some people make the opposite mistake and overemphasize His judgment at the expense of His patience, kindness, etc. The first verse of this song ensures it won't make that mistake, giving numerous examples of God's incomprehensible grace. But in our culture, I would argue that the concept of judgment and wrath being facets of perfect Love is almost completely foreign, and so is the much more common misunderstanding in need of correction. 

No comments:

Post a Comment