“In the beginning, God created…”
Last Sunday was Valentine’s Day, a hallmark celebration of love. For Z-360, we talked about the Love of God as part of an abbreviated “Love Month”. Bekah has been writing blogs all month about love and relationships. I wrote a couple weeks ago about the Code of a Gentleman, a resource referenced extensively in one of Bekah’s blogs. I mentioned in my discourse that it is my belief that “until a man experiences Christ’s love in His ultimate sacrifice, he is incapable of being a gentleman.”
As I was thinking about things this past week, I was reminded of a study I did several years ago on what Genesis 1 means. I had heard the “God loves you” rhetoric all my life, memorized John 3:16 and other passages of scripture, yet it was all just that– rhetoric, impersonal and powerless. The first thing I realized was the eternal existence of God-> “In the beginning, God”. Before the beginning of time, God is, not was, but is (remember, there is not time, so there can’t be a past). Indeed, there are many attributes or characteristics of God that can be found simply by studying the implications of the first verse of the Bible, but I won’t get into that much yet. It needs to be noted, however, that God wouldn’t be God without being good and perfect.
On Wednesday at youth group, Jeremy talked about an universal difficulty in understanding and experiencing God’s love. Even Jason, in his Valentine’s Day sermon, mentioned a tendency of people to reject the statement of God’s love out of hand, because of what they did or didn’t do to deserve it. It is hard to grasp a concept of love that doesn’t require something in return, because we never experience that kind of love without faith. Sure, there is an understanding of a deep brotherly love (Philio love) like the love between David and Jonathan in 1 Sam 19-20. We are all well acquainted with eros love, a very selfish love that is probably more appropriate to label as lust. There is a third kind of love, a love deeper than philio, God’s agape love, deeply rooted in who God is.
Once we move on to the fifth word of the Bible, we find a word that I think helps to explain why God loves you and I. The word of the hour is “created”. God created everything, excluding nothing. God is a creator, the Creator, the perfect Creator. Have you ever drawn a picture or wrote something and then was disappointed with it because it didn’t accurately capture the thought in your head? It happens to me all the time. BTW this drive to create is a part of God’s image He imprinted in us. In any case, you were disappointed because your skill with brush or pen didn’t match the complexity of your endeavor.
But, remember God is limited only by his infinite skill, his infinite perfection, and his infinite imagination. He won’t be disappointed by His product because it would always accurately capture the thought in His mind. In Genesis 1, God saw that all that He had made was good. He didn’t try again because Adam’s nose was too long or his ears stuck out like yoda’s. Adam was exactly how God wanted him to be. Psalm 139:13-18 extends that creation to us and continues to describe God’s thoughts toward us as good, even after the fall into sin.
So how does that explain God’s love for us? Have you ever made something and been incredibly attached to it? Others may like the picture or writing or what ever, but you as the creator feel a certain attachment to it, a strong attachment. We know everything there is to know about the thing, but we love it. It is special to us. That favorite quilt because we made it, that poem because we wrote it, that drawing because we sketched it. Those things are not living, yet we still have that attachment. Perhaps the closest thing to the Creator’s love for His creation we can use as an example is the love between parents and their children. That love is based on a relationship to the parent, not on what the recipient does.
In short, God loves because He created. He can’t love less and He can’t love more. Nothing better will come along to divert God’s love; in God’s mind, nothing can be better. Only a creator could possibly love like that. Indeed, only the Creator could love like that. He loves you and He loves me. He proved it on the cross when He declared that He would rather die than live without you and he did die so that you and I would have the opportunity to love Him back. More on this in the coming weeks.
JA Menter 3
“If thoughts have wings, my head is a feather pillow.”