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How much does God love his children?

on April 21, 2011
Yesterday I wrote about how much we love our children. I got a couple of answers to that – some on facebook, others on here – along the lines of “of course we would be reconciled, of course that is the better thing to do, of course that is the thing Jesus teaches us to do”.

Now another question.

Does God (through Jesus) ask more of us than he would be willing/able to do himself?

We would forgive our children and desire reconciliation with them – even after death if we could. We would not tell them never to come near us again – even after death, if we had the choice. We would never, ever tell them it was too late. Yet we are supposed to believe that God would refuse to even give the option of reconciliation and forgiveness, and would choose to reject them?

The God who is both loving and just.

The God of whom Jesus once said “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

The God who desires all men to be saved.

Are we more loving than God?
Are we more just than God?
Are we more capable of forgiveness than God?
Are we more Christ-like than God?

The post of my uncle’s which I referenced yesterday included the following sentence:

[I] am getting more and more frustrated by the God that Rob Bell describes.
He’s just too small.

Is a God who desires and allows reconciliation with us really too small just because, as Bell suggests, he doesn’t make death the cut-off point?

Smaller than a god who says “sorry, you’re too late”?
Smaller than a god whose justice requires the guilty child to suffer for a while longer (forever?) so as to make them really repent, the fact that they’re standing there all repentant not being enough?
Smaller than a god whose never-failing love actually ends at the point of death?
Smaller than a god who demands that we love our enemies, while condemning his to eternal torment?
Or a god who only loves us after we become Christians and thus his children, so that he doesn’t care what happens to non-believers? (Yes I have heard that said, altough I doubt that it’s a common belief)

You’ll notice that I didn’t capitalise God in those sentences. That’s because I actually think the god they describe is too small. Too small to be the real God, the one portrayed by Christ (“the image of the invisible God”), the one who – rather than inflicting suffering – suffered and suffers for us and with us, the one who breaks down walls rather than creating them, the one who is at work reconciling all things to him. That God is glorious and amazing and his love for everyone is completely beyond my comprehension.

One response to “How much does God love his children?

  1. I admit, I cannot be more anything than God. My biggest effort would not make a ripple in comparison to what He can do. However, your post makes me think of Luke 16:19-31:
    19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.
    22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

    25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

    27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

    29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

    30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

    31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

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