Why You Actually Believe God Must Love Us (even though you may say otherwise)
Many Christians think God voluntarily chooses to love and relate with us, even though God could choose not to do so. I disagree. In this essay, I ask three diagnostic questions I think show that most Christians actually believe God must love and relate with us, even though they may say otherwise.
In a series of previous essays, I’ve laid out reasons why we should think God is relational (or passible). I’ve distinguished between saying God is voluntarily relational and essentially relational. In the most recent essay, I’ve showed several reasons why it matters to affirm that God essentially relates to and essentially loves us.
In this essay, I hope to show those who think God’s love for and relation to creation is entirely voluntary actually think God’s relations and love are essential.
Three Diagnostic Questions
I offer three questions to show that most Christians really think God essentially loves and relates with creation. I ask you, the reader, to answer the following three questions honestly. Answer in your head before reading my responses.
1. Do you think God could ever leave us, forsake us, or stop loving us?
Most people answer “yes.” They think it’s possible for God to choose to be unrelated, unaffected, and uninfluenced. In their view, God could choose to leave us and forsake us. God could choose to stop loving us. “God sovereignly chooses to love the world,” they might say.
This is the voluntary relations or weak passibility view, and it’s probably the stated (but not actual) view of most Christians I know.
Let’s move to the second question…
2. Do you think God would ever leave us, forsake us, or stop loving us?
Most people answer “no.” They think God will always relate with us, always be present to us, always love, and always support us. In their view, we can trust God in these crucial ways.
But those who think God could stop loving us have no good reasons to think God would not stop loving. Those who think God could leave us and forsake us have no good reasons to think God would never choose to leave us or forsake us. There is no justification for such views.
Let me put it another way, if God’s eternal nature does not include love for creation, we have no good reason to think God will always be with us and never forsake us. And if God’s eternal nature does not include love for creation, there’s no good reason to think God will continue loving us in give-and-receive relationship.
And that leads to the third question…
3. Why do you think God would never leave us, never forsake us, or never stop loving us?
Most people answer this question, “that’s just who God is.” They say, “If God left us, forsook us, or stopped loving us, God wouldn’t be acting like God.” Or they offer a variation of these answers. When answering this third, “why” question, most people appeal to their deep belief about who God truly is.
This deeper belief shows that people really do think God is essentially relational. Although they may not articulate it well, most think God’s love for us is an essential aspect of what it means to be God. Saying “that’s just who God is” is really saying, “It’s God’s nature to be like that.” God can’t help but love us, because that’s God’s nature.
Those who believe God by nature loves creation affirm strong divine passiblity, even if they can’t articulate this belief well. They actually believe God essentially relates with and loves creation.Those who believe God by nature loves creation affirm that God is essentially relational, even if they can’t articulate this belief. A God whose nature includes the attribute of love for creatures MUST love us! Click To Tweet