Thursday, 30 November 2017

The Trinity and the reality of love

I was speaking to a ‘Jehovah’s Witness’ and he told me that from eternity past God had been entirely on His own and was completely happy and content. Now, please think carefully about this. 

If God had been on His own as a single person, and was completely happy and content then it must mean that love is not an essential part of His nature, because if it were then He could not have been content without someone to love.

‘Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love’.[1]

If a unitarian God was loving, but found fulfilment in loving Himself, then narcissism would be an expression of goodness and godliness. But we know that love is self-giving not self-centred. 

Imagine another couple of scenarios: if love were an essential part of God’s nature, and He created creatures in order to love them then that would make God a contingent being, that is, He would be dependent on His creation, and need His creation in order for Him to be fulfilled, but that would mean He isn’t God.

‘The attributes of God were active prior to creation and, if so, there must have been both agent and object then as now. To restrict the divine object to creation is to deprive God of the exercise of His qualities and characteristics during that period preceding creation. It also follows that, since creation was a matter of divine choice and thus contingent, it is to restrict the exercise of God’s attributes to that which is contingent. In such a case the divine attributes might as easily have never been exercised at all. All this suggests the absurdity that the divine attributes were not exercised in eternity past, that they might not under certain circumstances be exercised now and that they might never be exercised at all’.[2]

Or, if love were not a part of this God’s nature, and He created freely, but then found Himself loving His creation, then it would mean that He is not immutable, He is a being that has a nature that can change and be improved, and thus He wouldn’t be the greatest possible being, and therefore wouldn’t be God at all. Only in the scriptural revelation of the Trinity do we see that God is essentially and eternally loving, and not at all dependent on His creation to express and enjoy love.

So the God of Unitarian religions cannot be essentially loving or relational. If then we are creatures that are loving and relational it points to a God who has this as part of His own nature and being, the only candidate is the trinitarian God of scripture. Is it not remarkable that there is only one book out of all the so-called holy books of religions that presents a God who can provide the basis for the most fundamental aspect of being human – sharing love and forming relationships?

(This is largely taken from Prove It, How you can know and show that the Bible is God's word, Decapolis Press, 2017.)

[1] C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, HarperCollins, 2002, p. 174.
[2] L. S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 1, Kregel, 1993, p. 292.