Wednesday, 9 May 2012

The Trinitarian God Part 2: The Loving Creator

This is part 2 in my series on a vital and distinctive Christian teaching: the Trinity.

Do you ever ask yourself what God was like before He created the world? Do you ever wonder why God created the world? A lot of the times when we explain the Gospel we do it in a law-centred way: 'we've broken the law and we deserve punishment', but this means that we end up talking about God as being first and foremost the law-maker. This means you end up with a god not unlike a speed camera - he enforces the law, and you may be grateful if he lets you off, but it's hard to really love him (Mike Reeves' illustration not mine!). So if God is not first the law-maker, what is He like?

Mike Reeves describes the conclusion we must draw from a singular god creating being that he is lonely! Kinda obvious when you think about it - a god who is just himself throughout all eternity doesn't actually know how to love - except maybe himself (which is called selfishness). So when he creates something he either does it because he's lonely, or because he wants to indulge himself and create a bunch of people that will be suitably impressed by his power and will therefore worship him and do what he says. He's all about self-gratification. Not a particularly attractive prospect! Yet this is the god that many people think of as being the Christian god, the Bible god. No wonder people become atheists! This is the god you get when you define god without the Trinity, the Father without the Son, without the Spirit. When atheists criticise god for being egotistical - they're often thinking of this singular idea of god and they're absolutely right. In actual fact the Bible does describe a singular being who exists to promote himself most of all - that's right, the Devil.
God creates not to show off His power, but to share His love. Source here.
Thankfully, the Bible doesn't ask us to believe in that God. The Bible asks us to believe in the Trinitarian God. That means that we don't have a lonely God, a God who doesn't know what love truly is. Rather, we have a God who has been loving from eternity past - the three persons of the Trinity love each other and serve each other - they are selfless - they're not ignorant about love, they're perfect at it! So that means that God doesn't create the world out of inadequacy or narcissism - He creates the universe out of love. In the same way that the ideal circumstance for conceiving a child is a married couple who love each other so much that they want to shower their love on another, the three persons of the Trinity love each other, if anything, too much - so they unite together out of an overflow of love and create the universe, and within the universe human beings in their image that they can relate to and love. So why did God create us? To love us. Think about that for a minute!

So God is not first and foremost a rule-maker, a cosmic dictator. God is first and foremost a lover, and He wants us to share in the happiness He enjoys. Now that's a God you can love!

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