"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
The Scriptural doctrine of God centers on his character and actions in relationship to his people. Above all, God's relational character as evidenced in Scripture sets him apart from the gods of other religions. Consider one of God’s incommunicable attributes (omnipotence, omniscience, etc.) and one of his communicable attributes (mercy, love, etc.) and reflect on what it means for God to be omnipotent and just or omniscient and loving at the same time..
A: Asking for us to choose just one Incommunicable or communicable attribute of God is asking to nearly do the impossible. God is good, holy, infinite, omniscience, merciful, loving, loving, rational, and so much more than all of that at the same time. For a God so good and powerful, how can he be explained in two titles? Although this feels like an injustice to Him, we will carry on and pray that I can limit my words. For an Incommunicable trait, I choose His aseity and for the communicable trait I chose love. I chose these because they not only go hand in hand, but I could also go on about them for days.
God’s aseity or “self-existence” as defined on page 226 of our text simply means that God isn’t dependent on anyone or thing but himself. I do not mean to be cliché’, but God is not dependent on any man. He doesn’t need us to exist, for happiness, or love. His existence is totally self-supported and independent from anything that was created, including the universe. So, it leads me to the question of “why would God make any of this stuff”? The text touched on a few ideas here and there, but nothing in my opinion other than dead ends. I like the way our text answers it when Michael Horton states, “What is remarkable is that the triune God--- self existing, perfect, and independent--- would nevertheless create and enter into covenantal relationships with creatures in freedom and love” (p.230). My answer would require another attribute, but I would like to guess that it is most likely because He is so good in nature. Mr. Horton also goes on to say that, “Our world is a result of God’s freedom, not necessity” (p.233). So why deal with all this mess we create, why not just leave us unmade? I would think that He enjoys His relationship with us and longs for the worship of man from this earth and in heaven during eternity whenever that shall be.
God’s love is so strong that He did give His only Son to die on a cross for us (Jn 3;16). Nothing can pronounce the word love greater than that action. One of the thoughts that may ponder is how can God who has “independence from the world” choose to love an imperfect creation who is in the world? This takes us right back to God’s aseity. Man is a fallen creature and we steadily turn our backs on Him, yet He loves us enough to pursue our hearts. Our text sheds some light on this yet again when Horton states, “God takes delight in that which he does not need but nevertheless desires” (p.265). To talk about His perfect love would require me to at least mention how his goodness and mercy go along with it. Horton does the same when he mentions, “God would still be gracious and merciful in his essence even if there were no transgressors” (p.267). You simply can’t get any more gracious or merciful than that. He commands us to love like Him, but I feel as if I am failing miserably. Most likely I am, but thankfully He loves me enough to be gracious and merciful towards me. I brought these two attributes together because God’s aseity brings out how awesome His love is for us. Without that “self-existence”, to not need what we can offer, how would we know just how much He loves us? As my son would say with arms spread so far that he strains, “I love you this much daddy”, I have faith that God loves us that much more.
Horton, Micheal. 2011. The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. GCU database.