Thursday, June 16, 2011
HOW LOVE WINS - Part Four
The challenge of developing an honorable picture of love largely rests on having a Biblical picture of God. Some aspects of popular theological assumption have encouraged a static view of God. This is a view resulting from certain influences that have come from Greek philosophy. Not intending to go into depth on that idea, I suggest that the Bible reflects a very dynamic view of God. God interacts with the human race, allowing people, in a very significant manner, to exercise the use of their abilities and freedom even when they do so foolishly, selfishly, destructively and contrary to God’s guidance.
In a previous article, I stated that love is a resolve to purpose, pursue and promote the highest good one can identify. This, in a world where there is a massive network of personal and corporate relationships involving various levels and large numbers of choices, is a tremendously challenging resolve to express in practical terms. I once again refer to the statement by Charles Finney, “It is one of the most shallow of dreams, that the Divine character is all softness and sweetness, in all its manifestations and in all circumstances.” In the midst of the dynamic, complex realities of life, wisdom is required to arrive at a conclusion about what promotes the highest good, all things considered. It is shallow and wishful thinking to assume that, somehow, every individual will receive a personally beneficial outcome in this process. Again, from Charles Finney, “It is impossible that love to the whole should not manifest severity and indignation to the part which rebels against the interests of the whole.”
I close with an attempt to help the reader appreciate this dynamic. Engaging forces that are actively working against the highest ultimate good of society-at-large, certain tactics that are designed to disrupt their destructive goals might become necessary. Wishful thinking assumes everyone magically wins. To assume that this is what “love wins” means is, in fact, “the most shallow of dreams.” Imagine a battle in which the employment of wisdom requires a misdirection of the enemies understanding of one’s approach (battle strategy, course of action, intentions). This misdirection is employed in light of the ongoing persistence of the enemy (“the part”) to accomplish an agenda that will enslave and harm society-at-large (“the whole”). Let’s take this brief scenario and consider it in light of a statement the apostle Paul makes regarding climactic moments in the clash between good and evil (not as abstract, obscure imagery but as personal choices of living beings).
"Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him, that you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he may be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness." (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, NASB)
Let’s be done with our “Lucky Charms” (magically delicious) Christianity that distorts reality based upon shallow concepts of love, peace and understanding.