June 1, 2007

Does God Have Feelings?

In my preparations for Sunday (gotta' preach!) I have been awed/humbled/overwhelmed by the clear truth that God has feelings. It's pretty easy to write Him off when He is perceived as being disinterested, detached, or distant, but bring Him up close and see Him as one who aches and laughs and dances, it is a different thing. Hosea does just that. If you've not read this heart broken prophet's story for a while, or perhaps ever, take a few moments to read it.

"It is the people you love who can hurt you most. One can almost trace the degree of potential pain along a scale - from the rebuff which you hardly notice from a stranger, to the rather upsetting clash you may have with a friend, right on to the stinging hurt of a jilting, the ache of a parent-child estrangement, or, most wounding of all the betrayal of a marriage.

Nothing short of the last two of these could really have conveyed to Hosea or to us how deeply God cares about us. Even then, words alone might have failed to bring home the sharpness of it. It needed acting out, and in real life at that." Derrik Kidner, The Message of Hosea

In Hosea this very pain is acted out for all to see. Can you see it? More on this later.....

2 comments:

Panda said...

Yes - I am sure God has a Fatherheart and I know that He loves us with a passion (the passion of his Son) that is strong enough to bridge the huge gap caused by our sins!
Just minutes ago I was reading something that I would like to share with you (it is a quote from an apologetic book that is written as a long letter):

If God is jealous, I wouldn't mess with him

You mentioned that God shouldn't have mere human emotions such as anger or jealousy. Firstly, this is merely your personal opinion of what God "should be"(as if we were creating God in our image rather than the other way around), but what if these were God's emotions before they were ours? If God is perfect then his emotions would not be flawed in our self-serving way. Rather, they just might be greater and pure versions of our emotions.
For example, the Hebrew dictionary tells us:

El qanna: Jealous; used in our language in an evil sense, has a somewhat different meaning in the Hebrew in the Old Testament... God asserts his claim [to what is rightfully his].

Jealousy here is a fierce loyalty to what is good and right and just.
God's jealousy for righteousness and justice is not a mere preference or whim, but the standard on which a perfect God must insist. But a perfect God who is the source of all perfection can have no higher standard than himself. He does not need anything from us. He has everything already. But if we give honour that is due to him to anyone or anything else, then that would be falsehood, and God cannot condone falsehood.

(Quote from RELIGION IS FOR FOOLS, by Bill Medley)

John said...

Great quote Paul. I will be finding Medley's book soon.

Perhaps the greatest unfolding of this notion of a God with feelings came for me as I read Abraham Joshua Heschel's work, THE PROPHETS. He states, "The idea of divine pathos has... significance... man's being relevant to God. To the biblical mind the denial of man's relevance to god is an inconceivable as the denial of God's relevance to man. This principle leads to the basic affirmation of God's participation in human history, to the certainty that the events in the world concern Him and arouse His reaction. It finds its deepest expression in the fact that God can actually suffer. At the heart of the prophetic affirmation is the certainty that God is concerned about the world."

As always, thanks for stopping by.

John