Wednesday, November 02, 2011

REFLECTIONS ON EXODUS 32 AND DEUTERONOMY 9 (PART 6)

God Responds

After communicating to Moses that He (God) viewed the people of Israel as corrupt and obstinate, having quickly turned aside from the commandments given to them, having made, worshipped and sacrificed to this idol, He reveals His response.

The response we are about to explore is, to a great degree, no longer viewed by many professing Christians as a response God is “allowed” to have. Largely due to confusion about the purpose and result of the atonement, some have created a God who is wholly tolerant, passive and “gentle.” In response to the conduct of those recently delivered from Egypt God says, “Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them, and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.” (Exodus 32:10)

A number of observations, to be presented in separate blog entries, are worth developing. In this post I will address the issue of God and emotion. Contrary to Greek, Perfect Being Philosophy and its impact on Classical Christian Theology, God does experience emotion. The verse quoted above is a solid example. I would suggest, however, that a careful, well developed understanding of Scriptural revelation leads to the conclusion that God is not governed by His emotion but, in love, God subjects His emotional responses to an analysis of the highest good in the situation in question. The best option in some circumstances, the current case being an example, is to bring some form of judgment. We will probe ideas about why judgment was the best initial option in upcoming posts, but the point of this entry is to highlight the fact that God does experience emotion, is not governed by emotion and that a severe response to human sin and rebellion is, often, a completely legitimate response on the part of God. Though God is not controlled by His emotional reactions, it is quite possible that, after subjecting His emotional response to analysis, the most appropriate course of action will be consistent with the emotional response.

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. “And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

“And these (the goats) will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous (the sheep) into eternal life.”   (Matthew 25:31-33, 46)

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