God Can’t Help But Love Us

December 14th, 2009 / 71 Comments

Many Christians believe God does not necessarily relate to creatures. God at one time (or before time) existed alone – albeit as Trinity. Yet these same Christians believe they can count on God to love them. I don’t think there are good grounds to believe both ideas.

If nothing external to God forces God to love creation (a belief I think wise to affirm) and nothing internal to God makes it the case the God must love creation (a belief I reject), God could and may easily decide to stop loving creation.

The solution is to believe that God’s eternal and unchanging nature includes continual love for creatures.

If God’s nature does not include love for creation, God could simply stop loving creatures at 7am tomorrow and start hating instead. There is no reason – not even belief in God itself – to think God will continue loving.

Denying that God’s nature includes love for creation also means that God may have not acted lovingly at various times in the past.

In short, those who want to argue consistently that God always loves creation need to change their view of God’s relation to the world. Instead of saying God’s relation to the world is entirely voluntary, arbitrary, or accidental to God’s nature, they should say that God necessarily loves the world. To love creation is part of what it means to be God.

I like to ask people two diagnostic questions about God’s love for us. The answers given these questions indicate, in my mind, that many people are inconsistent in their view of God’s love. The first question is this:

1.   Could God stop loving us?

Most people answer this question with “yes” (although I do not). Most think God’s love for the world is freely chosen in all respects, and God could decide to stop loving creatures if God chose to do so.

God “sovereignly chooses to love the world,” my friend, Clark Pinnock, would say. The answer most people give this first question aligns with his words. God’s love is “free from every necessity in respect to its object,” Karl Barth would say.

I subsequently ask people this question:

2.   Would God stop loving us?

Almost everyone answers this question with “no” (and I agree). But the people who think God could stop loving us have no justification for thinking God would not stop loving us.

If they believe God’s nature does not necessarily include love for creation, these friends have no grounds for believing God will continually love them.

To say it another way, there is no reason to think God will continue loving us and not start hating us if God’s eternal nature does not include love for the world.

Sometimes, I ask as a follow-up question,

3.   Why are you so confident God would always love us?

Most people say something like this, “I am confident God would not stop loving me, because to stop loving me would mean God isn’t acting like God.”

This answer, in my mind, reveals that most people really do think God’s love for the world is an essential element in God’s nature. The phrase “God isn’t acting like God” (and its equivalents) suggests this.

People actually do think God’s love for us is a necessary aspect of what it means to be God: God’s essence. But they also want to account for a dimension of freedom in God’s love.

I think people are right to want to affirm both truths. But they need another way to do so.

My way is to say the fact that God loves the world is necessary as a part of God’s nature.  But how God loves the world is freely chosen in God’s moment-by-moment relationship with creation.

My alternative does not mean we have to reject the Trinitarian theology of Pinnock and Barth.  We can accept a social Trinity of mutual love.  But we need to add the doctrine that God has always and necessarily related to creatures.

Instead of choosing either that God necessarily loves in Trinity or that God necessarily loves creatures, I affirm both doctrines.  And this provides more robust support for the central biblical claim, “God is love.”

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Comments

Paul DeBaufer

I really like the questions. I really think that most Christians don’t adequately challenge their beliefs, and too often rely on someone else’s faith to get them by, albeit unconsciously (but I digress).

I believe that love IS God’s nature, love within the three persons of the Trinity as well as love for His created order, including creatures (flora and fauna). I, also, believe God acts with integrity, as that is part of His nature (truth). Too act outside of His nature would violate His integrity. Could He stop loving? Could He act outside of His nature? I can force myself to act outside of my personality type and basic psychological nature. However can I project that possibility upon God? I don’t think so as I exist with dual, conflicting natures-the fallen nature of the flesh and, as a Christian, a restored nature. But there is no evidence that God suffers such as we do with this conflict.

Bottom line, I fully believe that God’s nature includes love of creatures and that God cannot act outside of His nature, because truth-including integrity-is part of His full nature.


Chuck Wilkes

I understand your approach…but I have a related question that I think precedes your three questions. It is this: How can one know whether one is loved by God or not? Unless we retreat to the corner of saying God necessarily loves all of this creation (which I understand is where you are going), I think it’s pretty difficult to apply any doctrine of “knowing” in such a way as to be able to know that one is loved by God. If the human condition (perhaps even extending to the condition of creation) is the data base, it raises the question How strong is God’s love? And what effect does it have on us?


Ron Hunter Jr

Help me Tom to reconcile the Biblical O.T. narrative in light of this or direct me to readings on the matter. As presented in the O.T., the Israelite people are chosen in a manner where they were enemies of their neighbors as obedience to God.
The necessity for God to Love without external coercion or internal compulsion in what way encounters the many neighbors whom the godly view as enemies? Is there a shadow side to God’s love that would Hate something/one or are the OT people merely opportunistic tyrants?
I have been asked about God “hardening the heart” of O.T. figures at times that result in the Strong arm of God. I am wondering on the openness discussion on these considerations. Thanks.
Ron


Paul DeBaufer

Last night I presented your questions to our men’s group. Very interesting discussion followed. We did not reach any consensus, but honestly engaged the questions. One question was raised that seems fitting and appropriate: Does God love those who ultimately wind-up in hell? I suggested that He really does and that He suffers grief when anyone ends up there, but ultimately it is their choice. We left this question mainly in the air when we departed.


Thomas Jay Oord

Paul, Chuck and Ron,

Thanks for your responses!  I’ll make a few brief comments…

Paul – One of the classic theological positions that I affirm is that God’s nature is eternal and unchanging.  Because I think love is an essential aspect of God’s nature, I agree with you that God cannot not love. Just as a square must have four sides, God must love.

Paul 2 – I agree with your response to the men’s group you mention.  I don’t think God ever gives up loving us, even if that means loving us despite our choice to experience hell.  God’s love (chesed) is everlasting, as many OT writers proclaim.

Chuck – Great questions!  As you guessed, I think one can rationally know that God loves them, because they can know that God’s nature is love for all creatures. But as you rightly suggest, there is a difference sometimes between cognitive knowledge of God’s love for us and our deeply felt experience of God’s love. John Wesley thought that our feeling God’s love deeply was of paramount importance for our having confidence, or what he called “Christian assurance.” I agree with him. One role of the Church is to foster situations in which Christians are more likely to experience this deep feeling of being loved by God.

Ron – You raise a number of good questions.  First, I don’t think that God considers anyone an enemy, in the sense of God being essentially opposed to them. But, second, some people are enemies of God because they either 1) declare themselves as enemies or 2) act in opposition to God.  I also think, third, that God hates sin. God hating sin is a secondary consequence, however, to God’s essential nature of love. For these reason, I take very seriously OT statements about God’s wrath.  I just don’t think divine wrath is arbitrary. And I don’t think wrath is essential to God’s character.

Thanks again to all of you!


Servetus

There is a tacit requirement that you have not made explicit, and that is:

“It was necessary that a loving God creates His Creation, including beings to be loved”

IOW, you tacitly assume that Creation is a NECESSARY product of God’s love.

If, OTOH, you consider Creation CONTINGENT, if God was not NECESSITATED to create His Creation, then, of course, He would NOT be necessitated to love something EXTERNAL to Him.


Kellie Miller

I have never been asked if God could stop loving us. When I first read the question my initial thought was, “Of course not!” As I thought about it a little more, my belief began to change a little. If God is all powerful, He can choose to do whatever He’d like, He could choose to not love us. That brings us to the next question, though. I don’t think that he ever WOULD stop loving us. Though He sent the flood and some may say that is not a love for His creation, I would have to disagree. He didn’t like what was going on in the world, but He did love His creation enough to keep the world going. He didn’t destroy it completely. I believe He will continue loving us, and that He always will.


Sara Butkus

I’m not sure if I agree with you when you say that it is necessary for God to love the world to be God. Maybe I’m reading this wrong, but this statement says to me that humans are entitled to God’s love. It’s almost as if God has to love the world. To me, this limits God and puts him in a box. We will never be able to understand God fully while we are here on Earth. I believe God is powerful and can, in a sense, do whatever he wants. I think he could stop loving us if he really wanted to. But I don’t think he would stop loving us. It’s like a parent with a child. The parent could stop loving the child; we certainly hear plenty of stories that support that. But, in most cases, a parent won’t stop loving their child. We are God’s children and he loves us even more than a human parent loves their child. So if a parent could but won’t stop loving their child, so can God.


Alicia

After thinking through those questions and considering your conclusions, I come to agree with them, especially the one about God has chosen freely to love the world. The way I would put it is that it is God’s choice to love the world and he can stop at any time, but it is not in his nature to do so because we mean so much to him. It is like the situation of a parent and his or her child. The parent has the choice to love his or her child, but whether they feel they do or don’t, truly inside of them they do because it is a built in emotion. It is a natural thing for them to do. God is proud and loves his creation more than anything because he created it and made it in his own image just as he wanted it.


Darci Curtin

This was an interesting post, and although I cannot pinpoint exactly how I feel on this topic, it got me to do a lot of thinking.
Believing that “God’s eternal and unchanging nature includes continual love for creatures” does seem to be the correct answer to the question of whether or not Gods love can change. However, it is difficult for me to say “God can’t”, as in God can’t change the fact that he loves every creature. I have always believed that God can do anything and everything that He wanted but that He is a loving God who would not make a decision that would damage his children.
I would, of course, not like to think that God could change the fact that He loves everyone and everything, but limiting God makes me very uncomfortable. I have always understood God’s nature as loving and perfect. A perfect God would love always and hate would go against God’s perfection. I believe that God has loved, does love, and will love us for eternity. Knowing that God is love and God loves without condition makes it seem to me that it is unchanging and therefore He cannot change it.
In answering the two questions stated, I conclude that God cannot and will not stop loving us. I agree that it is in the nature of God to love His children and although I am uncomfortable with “God cannot”, I believe that because God wouldn’t, then he couldn’t.


Shanna Rippy

In regards to the questions of could and would God stop loving us, I think this puts God into human constraints in the way we think about God’s freedom and choices. Human minds are very linear and things need to have an explanation or a beginning and an end.  So I feel these questions put god into the human context and freedom of choice. I would agree that God cannot stop loving us because then God would not be acting like God. I believe in the statement that God is love and if God could stop loving us, then He would not be God.


Nicholas Carpenter

Coming from a Wesleyan background, the concept of “free will” and “being loving” have always been core beliefs for my life and faith. Yet once we place these “human ideas” on God, they seem to not fit as well. I would think that freedom (whether fully or partially) is linked very closely with love, in that we are free to love and love sets us free. But if love is such a direct aspect of God’s nature, is He free to love instead of just “acting on instinct”? And if God has to love us or it is necessary for Him to love us, is that really love if it’s necessary?


April Kerbyson

The main point I took away from this blog is that God is love.  Love is not something God tries to live out each day, like humans do.  Instead, it’s who God is, always.  However, isn’t that the same as saying love is a part of God’s nature?  Therefore, I would have to say that love is innate in God.  However, I believe God could stop loving creation if he so chose, which would accompany my belief that God is all powerful.  However, I also believe God would not choose to stop loving creation, because love in its purest form cannot contain anything but love.  I agree it makes a better argument to accept both views instead of making a case for only one.  While trying to write a response to this post, for example, I was first agreeing that God could stop loving creation.  However, as I thought about it more, I came to remember my other belief that God is love.  Therefore, I came to the conclusion that God couldn’t really stop loving creation if love is innate.  However, by arguing just for that side, that love is innate, then I take some power of God away.  Therefore, I choose to have the best of both worlds, and firmly believe God is all-powerful and all-loving.


Kendria Werner

In general most people love something in their life. Usually for the average person the thing they love the most is usually something from their own creation. We are like God in this way. God created mankind and all of creation. With creating us he loves us and will not stop loving us. Even though we are creatures of a sinful nature we are still loved by God because he created us. The questions asked above, Could God stop loving us, and would God stop loving us? I would have to say no. God will always love us because he created us.


Korri Dobson

After reading these two questions I feel that God has free will to love us and I agree that it is part of his nature to do so.  And I also agree that how he loves each creation is up to him.  I like these blogs because it raises questions that I have never considered and I think that they stretch us in our faith and ultimately strengthen it.  I know there have been times where I have made mistakes and been thankful that God does love me but I have never thought to myself “could God stop loving me?”


beth castro

God is Love.  I do not think that God could or would stop loving us.  He created us; he created all things great and small.  He created the earth and the creatures first, and then created mankind.  He loved his creation so much that he needed to add more love and he created mankind.  Why would he stop loving us?  I guess my question would be, why would you ask the question, “Could/would God stop loving us?”  It does not “seem” like a Christian should ask that question.  Maybe it a question we need to ask ourselves to make our faith stronger, or confirm our belief in God.  Because you would need to be confident in your answer in order to stand your ground if asked the question by someone else.


Elora Drake

God’s love for us is a concept that I personally focus on quite frequently. I believe in the trinity for the purpose that to love and love others perfectly God had to exist in a perfect loving relationship that could only occur in Him and through Him therefore the trinity is necessary. I like your questions that asks the difference between “could” and “would” God stop loving us. I found that when I initially read this my initial reaction was to say of course not to both and found it surprising that people were apt to think that He “could” but not that He “would”. I agree with and I like your point that God’s love has the freedom of how He loves the world from moment to moment. I relate that to the love of a parent I dont think good parents “could” or “would” ever stop loving their child though how they love my change and vary from moment to moment.


Steven Coles

I think you have a few good points here. I do believe that, as Christians, we are inconstant with how we view God’s love for us and the rest of creation. I also think your alternative is a great solution to the inconstancy. It gives Christians, like me, the safety in saying that, “I am loved by God,” but it also leaves God to love me, and others, the way that God chooses to love creation. With that being said, I think that we are trying to but God into a box. I think this because, we are trying to understand this, ‘love’ that God has for us in such a way that i do not think we can fully grasp. What I mean is, by making the statement that, “God loves us,” we put weight upon the word, ‘love’ when there is no clear definition of love (in this context of God loving us). I think be trying to define how God loves us, we are putting God into this metaphorical box (this is, however, unless we are using your definition of love).


Christabel Leonce

I don’t think that God could stop loving us or that He would ever stop loving us. I love the point made about loving being God’s nature, God is love and therefore he cannot act outside of His nature. Everything thing He does, He does it out of love. God’s love goes beyond what we a mere human can understand. As I read the blog I flipped my Bible to Genesis, the beginning the place where it all began where God was purposely creating something that He would love but something He would not force love upon.


Erin Rickart

This was a very interesting topic and not something that I ha really thought about before. I do think that it is important to understand the nature of God’s love for us in order to have a more complete relationship with Him. For me, all of the questions asked and the message conveyed in this blog can be summed with these quotes from it:
“…they should say that God necessarily loves the world. To love creation is part of what it means to be God. But how God loves the world is freely chosen in God’s moment-by-moment relationship with creation.”
That quote explained the whole argument for me. No one can deny that God loves us; it’s the details about the love that gets muddied up. After reading this blog I realize that God does have to love us, but He chooses how to how that love to us, and that is just as important as His love. I also think that it’s important to keep in mind that to love us is what it means to be God. Therefore, He can never stop or start again because it’s always there. That is a very comforting thought.


Benjamin Messmer

This leads me to the question of even though God loves us, why does he allow suffering.  Does suffering allow us to love God?  Would we love God without suffering?  Does God punish us when we do wrong?  Is that part of his love as well?  A parent does not allow their child to walk blindly into something that will hurt them so would God?  God does always remember us and love us that I do agree with, but what does this mean, and why do I not live like it?


Caitlin Bauder

After reading this blog I spent a lot of time thinking about the questions. I honestly feel like I just keep going in a circle with my answers. I find myself thinking about parent child relationships. I think about how anything is possible with God, therefore, God could stop loving us. To be honest the only conclusion I came to after reading this blog is that I need God to love me, I don’t know why He does, but I need Him to love me.


Taylor Watson

Although I had never thought of God being “forced” to love humanity by His very nature, after reading this post I am starting to think I might agree with Oord’s statement. At first I really did not like the thought of God being forced to love us, but after much contemplation I found that it was not so much that God was forced to love, as it was that God’s nature is LOVE. Because of that, although He is not forced by anything to love, it is His very unchangeable nature!


Kindra Galloway

God is the definition of love. I know that He will always love His creation because his love is unconditional.The Bible says “God is Love.’ He promises that He will always love us. Since He is perfect, He will not go back on His word. He is unchanging. I don’t think that we can bind God by His loving nature. I would not say that He HAS to love us, rather He created us and His creation is good. He can’t not love us, and He will never abandon nor forsake us.


Priscilla Cuevas

I thought this blog was very interesting cause I have found myself questioning sometimes Gods love for me yet there is always a reminder in my head that he loves even through my faults. I think Gods love is everlasting and truly believe that God would never choose to stop loving the very things he has created. I have faith that love is one of the most powerful things that symbolize God and agree that God would not be God if he didnt have this lasting love.


Diane Vander Hulst

You ask some very interesting questions that I have never really thought deeply on. My answer is no, I do not think God would or could stop loving us. I do not think God would create this world and than say, “No I don’t want to love you anymore.” The world would be worse off than it already is. The only love in this world exists because the “good” nature from God. I sometimes have a hard time when I am asked these sorts of questions because I can honestly say I do not know the answer. I want to say no to the questions that were raised, however I know that God is God, and he is unfathomable. I do not think we are supposed to know all of these answers. We all know God is a loving and gracious God, either because we have experienced God’s love first hand or this believe is supported by the Bible. I think it is okay to not know all the answers. I have always believed that were reason ends, faith begins. If we knew all of these answers, where would our faith be?


Abbey

Overall, I agree with the main premise of this post – that it is a part of God’s nature to love his creation, but he is free in the expression of this love.  However, I had a couple of questions as I thought about God’s loving nature.  Generally I think that God is God and always has been God – he is who he is and his nature is unchanging.  If that includes loving his creation, what did he do before “the beginning”, or before his creation existed?


Christie

Could God stop loving us? Would God stop loving us? My first instinct is to say yes to the first question and no to the latter. It is strange to think there might be something God can’t do, even if that is to stop loving us. However, when we dive a little deeper into that question, it doesn’t seem that crazy of a proposal. Something that bothers me though is that if I say God cannot stop loving us, it then seems to make Him dependent on us. I think God chose to make us because it pleases Him to love us. However, He already destroy the world once because things got so bad. If it had not been for the righteousness of Noah, God may have chosen to not save anyone. Perhaps then he would have created something else instead of humans. So, I think God wants to love us, He finds pleasure in doing so, however, if generation after generation turned their backs on Him and chose sin over His love, He might just get fed up with it. So why am I so confident that that won’t happen and God will always love us? Because He already told us how it ends. He already said that His people will live with Him in eternity.  Someday He will destroy the world again, but He will never stop loving those who choose Him.


Davis Halle

I believe that God is all powerful. I feel that He chooses to love us not because He has to. He wants to love us because in this way He shows us how to love others. We cannot love if He has not first loved us. I do not think God would ever stop loving us but I also feel that there is no option not to. He has chosen to love us and that was His choice in creating us. When the question is asked “could God stop loving us” I feel that He could because He can do anything but also He can’t because He chose to love and create us. I do not think there is any limitation on God and in this He could stop loving us but in the idea of him never wanting to stop loving us this means he couldn’t stop in a way. When someone has no desire to change in any way and there was no force that would make them change then it could be said that they could not change.


Laura Shacklett

Before reading this blog I never even thought about if God could stop loving me. I grew up learning that God continually loves you no matter how much you mess up. I feel like if you believed that God could stop loving you, there would be no reason to follow rules because everyone makes mistakes. I am sure God has the power to stop loving, I am not sure why he would, but all I do know is that I personally believe that God will never stop loving. God is so amazing and has done such wondrous things and you can see his love everywhere. I do not know why he would ever want to change that. God is love.


mike jaquess

I believe that God cannot stop loving us and He wont stop loving us. To be God is to be unchanging and to have an abiding love for everyone. He couldn’t stop loving us because that’s not God or His nature, and He wouldn’t stop loving us because that’s changing who He is and what he said he’d do for us. He does get sad and hurt when we go against His word, but his plan for us to to always draw close to Him and He wants nothing more than to love us and to be close to us.


Elisabeth Pena

I find this article to be interesting, because in my mind the idea that it is apart of God’s nature to love us doesn’t seem so awful to me. I know that most feel that it puts a limit on God, that it forces him into a corner, but I don’t. It simply just is a part of who he is. And it is absolutely true that just because this is an attribute of God does not mean He does not/would not choose it freely. This attribute does not need to take away the meaning of His love for us, but rather add to the essence of who He is.


Noah Chance

God is love. These three words are one of the most basic descriptions of God, but at the same time this statement says the most about who and what God is. God expresses Himself through love, and he cannot exist outside of what He is which is Love. The main point is two terms love and God cannot be separated from another. It is also true that God would not stop loving us, but more importantly why would He want to stop going against His nature.


Teagan Cameron

I agree with the idea that “God could and may easily decide to stop loving creation”; however, I do firmly believe that God will always choose to love His creation. After all, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He sent his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” God does not need us or anything He created for that matter, yet He chooses to continuously and unconditionally love us. The essence of Him as our Heavenly Father will always be love so I am fully confident that we will always be loved by someone, and that someone is God.


Tara McClees

I agree that God can’t and won’t stop loving us. I think I’ve heard the possibility of God doing otherwise argued from some verse in the new Testament about God loving Jacob but hating Esau. I think this results from a poor translation. Nevertheless, this possibility seems to have added to a wedge between my younger brother and God for years. During this time, upon looking at this verse, he concluded that 1)it was possible for God to hate someone, 2) God hated some people, and 3) God hated him. It was a terrible situation and, as I perceive it, a very unhealthy viewpoint.


Kamerron Monroe

I really liked these questions and the answers you had to them. I always believed that God loved Us because he is God. I have often heard the phrase, ” God is Love.” Therefore, i find it true to think it is apart of his nature. I have never thought of a world where God does not love Us. Would God love us is a good question but I think another good question is WOULD he? and WHY? I think a lot of times when bad things happen people feel like God has abandoned them and as a result God does not love them. What would you say to these people?


Andong Yue

This article makes me wonder if there is a contradiction between “omnipotence” and “omnibenevolence”. If “omnibenevolence” means that God has to love, then God is not “omnipotent” in the sense that God is not capable of “not love”. This also make me think of some of the things we often say such as “God so love the world and he sacrificed his one and only son for us”. The problem is, if an infinite God capable of sacrifice? (Think this way – if I have unlimited amount of money, then no matter how much money I give to the poor, it cannot be considered sacrifice since nothing was lost for me) If not, then is God still “omnipotent”?


Cassidy Ball

I definitely believe that God has an eternal and unchanging nature. The quote “To love creation is part of what it means to be God” gives us hope as Christians. As we fall short of the glory of God I think it is reassuring that his love is constant. Although the quote is solid I wonder if some people take the sentence “He chooses how to love us in the moment-by-moment” as believing that God doesn’t know what is going to happen in the future and lives moment by moment as we humans do- debating in which ways to love us as if he doesn’t already know what is going to happen.


Noelle Parton

While I too disagree with the idea that God could stop loving us, I can understand where people may argue the opposite. I am able to understand the how some may believe that He could stop loving us simply because of His power. However, I do think that the way you frame your answer, in that it is more about how He chooses to express His love makes all the difference in how I, and I think others, would view God’s love.


Taylor Gould

I think knowing that God’s love is never failing at that he never could or would stop loving us is an important concept for us to grasp as Christians, but I think it is even more important for those who aren’t very far in their walk with Christ just yet. Knowing that He is always there and is always loving us makes it so much easier to give our lives to Him. Too often we see people in our lives use love in the wrong context, or in the wrong way, to get what they want. This leaves countless heartache and disappointment and knowing that this situation will never happen with God is truly amazing. He is always there, Always loving us. No matter what. If that’s not amazing, I don’t know what is.


Kara Den Hoed

Throughout this post, the word “necessary” was throwing me off. Why are God’s attributes “necessary?” It almost seems like a phrase people use to justify their logic about a subject in their minds. I think it is more, I don’t know if simple is the right word, but simple to just say that “God is love,” just like the end of the blog states. God is love; that is his person. It is both said and shown in the Bible. Saying that God has to, or it is necessary for Him to love in order for the world to make sense just reaffirms what we have already been told and shown. If you are a Christian, you believe that God loves you, and that’s all that matters. If God didn’t love, we wouldn’t have earth no less be forgiven of our sins. It pretty simple. I don’t see the need to complicate it.


Tawni Palin

I have never and never again want to think about the idea that God could stop loving me. It is because of his love that I am alive and free to love him back. Honestly, his love has always been there for me and thought it sounds like I am taking it for granted, I know that it is the one thing a control freak like me can count on.


Allie Kroeger

This blog post really stirred up a lot of different thoughts in my mind. I had never really thought about God’s love in this way and these questions really prompted me to think through how I would really answer them. I know that God loves us, and I would say it is his nature to, but I also think that it is a choice on His end to love us unconditionally. One thing I do not is that I don’t think God ever could or would stop loving me.


Lexi Sterling

While I definitely do not agree with the idea that God could stop loving us, I do know others who believe this. And I also wonder if they use the argument you suggested here in an incorrect manner: how God loves the world is freely chosen in God’s moment-by-moment relationship with us. While I personally take that idea in a positive light, thinking that God is freely choosing to interact with me moment-by-moment, I suppose others may find that difficult if their moment-by-moment consisted more of sinfulness or struggle. Overall however, God has an unchanging nature of love, and that is something I believe we should be able to find comfort and peace in no matter what our other beliefs may be.


Cali Carpenter

It is strange to me thinking that people think God could stop loving us at any moment, such as 7am tomorrow, like you suggested. I see God centered around love, so if this were not the case and God all of a sudden stopped loving us, I am not sure what would come next for us or for God. If he did not love us, there wouldn’t be much of a reason for him creating us. He would not have put us on this earth if he hated us and wanted nothing to do with us. It is because of his love that we are here.

In relating this to myself, I am thinking about my parents and their love for me. No matter what I do, they will always love me. Although I may make mistakes and they do not always love what I am doing, they still love me as their daughter. From their love, I have become the person I am today. If I did not have the love and support from them, I would be a much different person today. Similarly, I am who I am now because of God’s love for me. Without it, I would resemble someone very different from who I am today.


Kendra Wilson

This is a good questions I guess but I just feel so strongly that God would never want to choose to stop loving us. He is a faithful God and he loves his Children. It is just part of who he is. There is no other explanation; like you said, God is love! I can’t think of it any other way. There is hope in Jesus Christ, there this new life, there is peace, and its all because He Loves us. If He didnt love his people or pick and choose who to love then there wouldn’t be a reason to “spread the love of Jesus Christ.” So it’d be hard to multiply the kingdom for His glory.


Michael Delie

I never would have thought of it in this way, the thought that God could just stop loving us is not how I have viewed Him. From what I have always heard and believe is that God is all-loving, meaning that not only does He love everyone, but all the time as well. This means that no matter what someone does God is always willing to love and forgive. That is at least what I have been lead to believe. And I have always been taught to not take this all-inclusive love and forgiveness for granted. Because we are given second chances we should learn to live in this way and show God’s love to others, and not taking for granted the love we have been shown.


Connor Magnuson

When I first read the remark by Dr. Oord on this blog post that ‘God could stop loving us if he wanted’, it was certainly a sobering thought. I had never considered that question before. It helped when I read the next question and response that God could but wouldn’t stop loving us. The distinction between God loving the world automatically and God choosing to love in different ways was a helpful tool for me to understand at least the viewpoints of Dr. Oord. The biggest takeaway for me is that God will not give up on us. It is up to us, however, to look for ways in which God is showing love often when we might not be inclined to see it.


Brenden O’Neill

Like many others who have grown up in the church, the prospect of wondering if God can stop loving us is something that I have not put much thought into. I have been surrounded since I was young with the belief that God’s love is everlasting, unchanging, eternal. While I still hold this belief to be true, I will admit that in doing so I have, maybe without even thinking about it, placed my own conditions on God’s love. His love is given to all, but as it was stated in the article, “How God loves the world is freely chosen in God’s moment-by-moment relationship with creation.” This is vital to Christianity because if we believe that God is all powerful and all loving, then we must believe that God’s love works outside of what we perceive, and in this way His love is relient upon our response.


Cass

I really liked the points that were made with the questions. It is really eye opening to view how some choose to answer them and their reasoning behind it. Personally, when reading these questions and this blog I was thinking about how essential it is for God to love, but not because we need it or he needs to do it. But rather, that it is his nature and his very being. The Bible claims that “God is love”. It doesn’t say that God loves because he has to, or that he pities us so he shows us love. It doesn’t say that god loves us so that we can…etc. The Bible clearly states that, “God IS love”. Love is His nature, his being. If God could somehow stop loving, he would cease to be. He would be going against his very essence and being. His nature and way of being is love and a god who does not love is not the God that the Bible presents.


Caleb Gerdes

My thoughts are along a line of questioning the idea of “putting God in a box,” the box of love. Do we know all the forms of love that God has? Does God love as humans define and feel love? I ponder the other forms of love once again because I wrestle continuously with the body count the Bible provides, things that men do as supposedly inspired by God and what God does directly with his power according to the Bible. What does God do to and for Israel just because they are his “chosen people” and others aren’t? Then just to ponder the idea of reading the Bible and saying parts of it are wrong then? *sigh* That is just a hornet’s nest of doubt, controversy, and fear for me.


Rachel Ball

“Could God stop loving us?” My answer comes from the fact that God’s nature IS love (having said it yourself). I also think he cannot stop loving us. He created us out of love and because of love. Therefore, the medium and the reason we exist cant cease to exist if we don’t! God’s very character is loving and that aspect of His character is unchangeable. He is love and will remain love. Furthermore, I support the statement that God would NOT stop loving us.


Randy Kingsmore

Thank you for considering/challenging commonly held beliefs and attempting to make them logically consistent. For me, this raised another question: if God didn’t create the world and humans to have a loving relationship with, then what did God create it for? I don’t think I can get behind the alternative idea that it was just arbitrary or for hate or possibly as some kind of short-term experiment. These ideas seem to run contrary to Biblical stories and understanding of who God is.


Matthew Silva

I do not see why the words “necessarily” and “creatures” are used as much as they are. I also do not know exactly why they bug me so much. The idea that love is an essential characteristic of God’s nature is not new to me, and i do not think that is what i have a problem with. However, that God necessarily love creatures is a different and much more specific statement. I think that the simpler claim, that God is necessarily loving, is well supported, but i am failing to see the justification for the addition of the word creatures. To say that God necessarily loves creatures is to say that God would not be God if he did not love creatures. or to say that in every possible world in order for God to be God he must love creatures. this would mean that God would not be God without creation, because without creation there would be no creatures to love, and I find this problematic.


Toniessa Phelps

These questions are pretty interesting. I have never questioned whether God would stop loving me or If God could because I have grown up with the thought that God will always love me just because he is God. So I guess my view goes along with what you are saying Dr. Oord. I think what make God, God is that he is capable of love even when others aren’t and he will never stop loving us because that is apart of who he is. I do believe right along with you that he chooses how he loves. For example, even though he loves everyone he still caused a flood but that doesn’t mean he hates everyone.. I don’t think. This question is tricky and it can go both ways but for me I believe that God will never stop loving me but he will show it in different ways througout my life. One day he may bless me with a new job and then one day he may take it away because he knows what is best for me and open a new door for me.


Matti Munger

This blog brought up a lot of thought provoking topics. I’ve never really thought about if God could stop loving us or not because it’s something that I’ve always heard no matter what He will do. Even as a kid, the first things you hear about Jesus is that “Jesus loves you”. There are songs about it, it’s in the scripture, it’s something that God clearly wants us all to know and I don’t think that He would ever change that. I think God has and will always love each of us, no matter what.


Brianna Kinghorn

This blog asks some very compelling questions. Personally I never believed that God would stop loving us, so I never asked whether he could stop loving us. I just believed that it was in his nature to love us as his creation. I never thought to ask why I believed it was true. The blog brings us the point that we fight for both sides that God could and could not stop loving us because we don’t want Him to ever stop loving us, but there is a free will in His love. If there is no free will in His love than it’s not real, just like if our love for Him wasn’t out of free will it wouldn’t be real.


Sara Wittkopf

Before really reading this blog I thought there was no way that I would agree with the title. However after reading this I do agree that God wouldn’t even stop loving us. It is not in His nature to stop loving us. It is a comforting thought to know that God will always be there for us and will always love us. When I originally read the question I was thinking that God can turn his back on us if we continuously reject him or ignore Him. He will let us do our thing, even if it is not what he wants from us, Much like any parent would know, you can wash your hands of your children’s decisions, but you cannot stop loving them.


Jackson Bevens

I found this blog post really interesting. I never have thought about whether God chose to not love us, because it is simply how I have been told he is, that he loves us. But when thinking about it, I agree that God has to love us in some shape or form otherwise the entire creation and everything would be wrong as we know it. However I do agree that how God shows us love he can change. I wouldn’t say that he shows love differently consistently because then, how would we have any actual basis on how to love. He must stay consistent for the most part in order for us to learn, but I think that he has the ability to show love in a different ways if the situation permits.


Curtis Mostul

The idea that God could stop loving us is terrifying to me. I know that is is only some people who might think that God could stop loving us. However, the Idea that our creator and the one who is supposed to be watching over us could suddenly stop caring for us is not something that I would want to believe. I think that God truly does love us and while we may not understand all that aspect of his love for us, I think that he will never stop loving us and that we will always be under the watchful love of the lord. I have never gone through a situation that has made me question the existence of God. However, I have watch many people struggle through family deaths and other occurrences that have made me question God to some extent.


melissa verhage

The question that God can’t help but love us is an interesting one. I believe this statement I don’t think that God will ever stop loving us. He most definitely will not love some of the things we do, or some our life choices we make but he will also have the love for us and hope that we can turn our life around when we are going astray and see His love for us. Even if God could stop loving us I don’t think he would ever want to that, it is God’s nature to love. He sent his son to die for us I don’t think he will give up on us that easily.


John Treyz

I understand your position and your argument, but I have to disagree. You say that a God that is freely choosing his love and has the ability to stop loving us does not have love as an essential part of his being. I would agree with your stance if God was a human, as humans are weak enough to give in to temptations and can be fickle in their thoughts. But God is different, as far as my understanding He is perfect, all-powerful, and all-loving. This means that he will never stop loving us but he is powerful enough to do so. It may sound like a paradox but God is strong enough to keep the status quo. The unending love from God is stronger and more loving when you know that God has the ability to not love, yet his love is so strong He will never stop loving.


Kayla Sevier

If God were to just stop loving us that would go against everything that we have been told about His “unfailing love” that He has for us and all of creation. Personally, i see it in this way: If my faith and personal relationship with God were to slip or go away i could possibly see myself believing that God has stopped loving mainly because i am angry at God and dont believe that He still loves me. Therefore, i think that it is personal belief of just the idea of God’s love coming to a stop. God’s love could never go away, it will always be there as long as you believe in your heart that it is.


Allison Christy

It’s interesting (and perhaps even troubling) to try and imagine an instant when God would stop loving His creation. I can’t even imagine what that world would look like, and how creation would respond. Even in the midst of the Flood in the Old Testament, I believe that God still loved what He had made. I guess that ultimately, it’s up to us and our faith to believe that God will not stop loving us, even in spite of what we are and how we act. To operate under any other assumption than that–on a concept defining God as anything other than love–would fundamentally change the way and why we choose to commit ourselves to Him.


Rachel Finley

I think I 100% agree with this blog. The Bible makes it very clear in several verses that God is love. However, I do have a couple of questions. I know this is Old Testament, but in some translations, the Bible says that God hated Esau. I have heard that some people read that verse as a metaphor, but if it isn’t, wouldn’t that go against the belief that they very essence of God is love? Also, the way that God got rid of Sodom and Gomorrah, also in the Old Testament, but still, is that considered love? I do believe that the essence of God is love because it is proven over and over in the Word. However, still, these stories make me wonder.


Linnea Phillips

After reading your blog, I was really interested with your conclusions. I would agree that God loves us because God is loving. I wouldn’t say that He is forced to love us, but I also would agree that He couldn’t stop loving us. I truly believe that God’s love never fails. I think God always loves our actions, but I do believe that God always loves his creation. I’ve never really given much thought to this question, so it’s very difficult to answer. I think it’s important to remember that God shows love in a variety of different ways.


Brad

In the Bible it says that we (humans) were made in God’s own image. So to say that God could stop loving us would be hard because God would have to stop loving his own creation made solely by Godself. God said in the Bible that God is love. Those 3 words, God is love, show that God could never stop loving us because God also is unchangeable. If God were to change and stop loving us then it would go against everything we have ever been taught and read in the Bible.


Julie Armbruster

There are several places in the bible where God says that He will never leave or forsake us, this leads me to believe that He will always love us. I believe that Gods’ nature is to love all creation, even if that means that He has to send one to hell. He is the God of love and loving us also encompasses correcting us when we are wrong, but it is done in love. God is perfect in all ways and his nature is to love- so wouldn’t it be uncharacteristic of Him to not love creation?
In the same way, I believe that when a parent corrects their child it is out of love that they discipline them. I do believe that we can anger God to the point of Him turning away from us in silence, but He wouldn’t stop loving us.
I do agree with you that God does love because it is His nature to love and His reaction to each depends on the situation and relationship with each person. I wouldn’t correct all my children in the same way, because what works for one- may not work for the next child, I believe God works in a similar fashion.


Ana

These questions tend to challenge our faith and our analysis of what our religions. I believe that this is great because it allows us to examine our beliefs and critically think about values. These questions are very impactful to me because it allows me to literally rethink everything I believe in God and my religion. There are many verses in the Bible where God has assured us that he is always loving and always with us no matter the circumstances. But throughout my observation of all the movies that we have watched it has made me think where is God in all these circumstances? To be honest I have become critically challenged by these questions and especially this class because it make me rethink all my believes and religious values.


Kevin Field

From my perspective, it is hard to translate “God is Love” into anything other than love being an essential aspect of God’s nature. Therefore, I agree with Dr. Oord’s desire for clarity on this matter. It is very hard to find a ground to relate and count on God if God’s relationship to us is subject to change. People would respond to the second question above with a fervent “no”, not only because of the intense suffering that God, through Jesus Christ, underwent already in love of humanity (that would be all for not if God stopped loving us tomorrow), but because without the firm hold in God’s eternal and everlasting love for creation, any faith a human had would be weak and potentially illusory.


Spencer Hassman

I am a firm believer that God, as an almighty entity (or thing, or nonthing, or whatever exactly he is), has the power to do whatever he wants, and there is nothing that can limit his power. Therefore, God’s love for us is a choice, and God can indeed choose to stop loving us. You’re right in assuming that I don’t believe that that will happen, but I believe that it could. Following that statement, I think that God 100% has the power to change His nature, so His love for us, although consistent, is not set in stone. I appreciate your belief, and see how you arrived at it, but I disagree.


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