Friday, 28 March 2008

God is not Alone

God is not alone. Within God there is a life of love we name Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If God were a lonely individual, God would not be love. And if that were the case, God would then create (something) to love in order to complete God's desire to love. By creating us, for example, God could then progress from the desire to love to actually loving something. God could then realistically be named as loving but not love.

Follow this through and the result is a God who needs us to become complete. Without us/creation, God can only want to love, but not actually love. So, in a real sense, God would only become a God of love when we arrive on the scene to love! I suspect that this, or a variant of it, is preferred by many people. They like the idea of a God who, to be complete, needs us. Indeed, put like that, it almost sounds plausible. But not quite. Here are a few thoughts as to why, all of which will need further development.

  • If you have ever been loved by someone who needed you excessively, you will understand why the idea of a God who creates out of need is not a God who is perfect love. Or to put it more succinctly, a God who creates out of need (albeit to be able to love that which is created), is not a God who is love.
  • A God who creates out of need is not a God of freedom, and therefore not a God of love. God's love is free, or it is nothing.
  • The God of need is not, by definition, love. The trinitarian God is, by definition, love. The God of need stands behind God's love of us.
  • When loved by the God of need we would not be receiving God's very self when we receive God's love. The doctrine of the Trinity is, quite simply, trying to tell us that because God is love, we receive God when we are loved by God.
  • This God of need remains a shadowy figure behind God's love. The revelation of God's love in Jesus would be a revelation of God's love of us, but not of God.
  • To be loved by the God who needs us means that we will always remain exterior to God. (To be a little crass about it: There is God over there, the God who loves us, and here we are. Modelled on the way we love each other.) However, the doctrine of the Trinity speaks of a more profound and fulfilling destiny: we will be included in God's own life of love, because to be loved by the God who is love is to join God's own life (of love). How could it be anything else?

4 comments:

stephen clark said...

I suspect there is something not quite right about couching this argument as "The God of need"
Maybe it is the nature of the loving being to be needed and to need (this is tentative)...it would seem to me for example to say something about vulnerability.
I think it is rather different to say that love is ontologically needy than to suggest that we are comfortable with the idea of a God who needs us to complement her.
But, I am no theologian.
Read an interesting series of articles yesterday about the Examen Prayer of St Ignatius. The writer suggests that what this prayer is doing is sustaining and nurturing a relationship between God and me, in which God is revealing himself to me and I am revealing myself to God.
In any genuine relationship both parties commit themselves to mutual revelation.
I think that is insightful.

Warren Huffa said...

Transcendence and intimacy go together. It is because of transcendence that we can talk of a real mutuality between us and God. This is why the doctrine of the dual nature of Christ makes so much sense. Whcih probably doesn't make much sense, so please go to http://classic-theology-new.blogspot.com/2008/04/transcendence-enables-intimacy.html

Warren Huffa said...

The link doesn't seem to have worked. it is my latest entry.

Anglican Parish of Coromandel Valley said...

The link works if you cut and paste it but you didn't write the html properly

you need to put something like

http://classic-theology-new.blogspot.com/2008/04/transcendence-enables-intimacy.html

the href actually links it to the text inside the expression.