Love, God, and Creation


Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. - 1 John 4:8

Growing up I remember thinking (mainly through misunderstanding) that God created the world because He was lonely. However, this couldn't be furthest from the reality. God is loving, and the Bible is unique within all ancient world religions in the fact that 1 John 4:8 and16 declare that God is love. Where as other world religions will talk about God's love through an action, through something that he does, "this is what God does therefore, he is loving", denoting an action. Scripture is unique in that it declares that God is love, not something that He does but something that He is.

However, this creates a problematic statement on behalf of the Christian, because love is something that is experienced and shared between personal beings. In other words, you need two personal beings in order for love to be experienced and expressed.

The idea that I had growing up is false, and in fact, is unbiblical and theologically untenable. While it is true in some other faiths, for example, the Islamic reason as to why Allah created is that he created because he was lonely. However, what that means is that God was cosmically lonely before he created. That idea however, makes God expressively dependent on us as humans to experience and express love. Which seems very unGod-like if you think about.
My thought process when I was younger was that God created because either A. He was bored or B. He was lonely. The problem remains that both of those are wrong. But that is why people like to ask questions like, "What was God doing before He created the world?" Which does raise the important question about the nature and character of God. Is He needy? What kind of being is He?

This is where the doctrine of the trinity becomes absolutely essential for understanding this concept and in answering these types of questions. In fact, when I do get the opportunity to talk to other worldviews from Mormons to secularists to Muslims, I realize more and more how important the concept of the trinity is for evangelism. For without the trinity it is almost impossible to understand the cross, the nature of God, or the reasons for redemption and sanctification. The trinity simply (or unsimply whichever way you choose to look at it) is, that God is love, within the one being that is God there exists eternally three coequal and co-eternal persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

It is very interesting, within English we don't have masculine/feminine neuters. In many other languages of the world you find these, and this includes the language that the Scriptural New Testament was originally written in. As I study the complexity of the Greek that the New Testament was written in it is very interesting to see that when it talks about the persons of the trinity it uses personal pronouns, Father, son, and even he the Spirit.

Talking about the Spirit as a he doesn't sound strange to our Anglicized Christian ears, but for the first century Greek, reading the New Testament it is something that looked quite terrible. In fact, it is grammatically incorrect (but as someone once told me, whenever you see bad grammar in the Bible it often has very good theology behind it). In the Greek the word "spirit" is a neuter, it is a thing. Analogous of me telling you that, "he the keyboard is very happy to be with you today." For me to talk about "he the keyboard" doesn't make any sense.

However, the Holy Spirit is not a thing, but a person. So the writers of the New Testament, inspired by the Spirit as they were writing about the Spirit,  put a personal pronoun in front of it. "He the Holy Spirit" to make it clear that they were not talking about a thing, but a person. Whenever we see the oneness of God talked about it does it in neuter, Three persons within one Being.

This is exactly why God does not need to create in order to overcome the problem of His cosmic loneliness. He is love, He exists in a set of living, loving, relationships. That is who He is. Looking at any of the passages in John where Jesus says things like, "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30) we can see and appreciate the grammar used as this form of self expression.

God is love, that is who He is in His nature. He wants to create a world, the world reflects His glory and who He is. God did not need to create the world because He needed love. God is love and therefore He created the world. Love is not the action that God expresses, it is His being.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

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