Thank you to all of you who responded to yesterdays post. It really helps to know you actually read and enjoy this blog and are encouraged or challenged by the words I peck out and the thoughts I string together. If no one is reading it, there is no point. I mean, seriously, I already know what I think so I don't need to post it for my own benefit. Your kind comments and sincere encouragement provide the energy I need to do it again.
Okay boys and girls. We are going to pick up our lesson where we left off yesterday. There is more to say about this confusing doctrine of the impassibility of God. I just don't understand why people have to complicate things.
I understand wanting to defend God's reputation. I do it myself, and while I'm sure He finds it endearing and mildly amusing, He is certainly able to take care of Himself.
I understand wanting to ensure God is accurately perceived as perfect, lacking in nothing. Because, of course, He is.
What I don't understand is why some very distinguished, educated and brilliant men have come to the conclusion that if God suffers--if He experiences anything like what we experience almost every day to some degree--He wouldn't be perfect.
Now I know that all of our suffering is a direct result of the fall of mankind, and that God didn't fall. And I know that sin causes suffering and God doesn't sin. So maybe these guys are just a bit confused. I am really not trying to be sarcastic or arrogant. I certainly don't have a monopoly on truth. Just a couple of houses on States Avenue and St. Charles Place and a rather uncomplicated view of Scripture.
When I read my Bible and I have this tendency to take it at face value. If it says something specific I tend to believe it means that specific thing. Especially when the concept is constantly repeated in different ways so we will get it.
And for the life of me I can't find anywhere in Scripture where it says God doesn't suffer. In fact, I find it screaming the exact opposite over and over again.
For example, in Hebrew 4:15 we read, "For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin."
Again in 5:8 we read, "...although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered." Seems pretty clear to me.
Lest there are those who would argue that perhaps God incarnate, living as a man could suffer, but God in heaven can't, we need look no further that the verses in Genesis 6:5-6 which were referenced yesterday.
And let's not forget that if you can suffer you can also rejoice. Scripture is very clear that all of heaven rejoices over a single sinner who repents. Could it even be possible for all of heaven to be rejoicing while God is sitting there impassively? Is He filing His nails and yawning? No! He is, I'm sure, leading the celebration! After all, it's His idea, His sacrifice, His blood that made it possible. Wouldn't you think He'd be a wee bit emotionally involved?
One of the constant comparisons God makes in Scripture is how we respond to our children. I have run the gamut with mine: anger, exasperation, joy unspeakable, frustration, satisfaction, concern, disappointment, relief, grief, fulfillment, and the list goes on and on, just as I'm sure you have too, or will.
How could it possibly be any different with God? Although He is unchangeable in His steadfast love, in His character, in His desire that all would come to a knowledge of the truth, in all that is truly unchangeable, His emotions appear to change drastically as He interacts with those whom He has made like Him.
Like everything else in the Kingdom of God, we are presented with a paradox. Just because God is infinite, mind-boggling and incomprehensible on one level, doesn't mean He is unable to be comprehended on any level. It couldn't, or He wouldn't have attempted to communicate with us. But communicate He did, and I, for one, believe He means exactly what He says.