First Causes of The First Cause
Yesterday, I asked what God wanted. For Himself. In acting terms, what good does it do God if I act justly, deliver mercy, and walk humbly with Him? It seems that that life of godly action will not, in the end, benefit Him, Him being infinite, needing nothing.
So we are back at the question I posited a couple of days ago: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, in an eternal community of love and communication, decide to make a universe, a world, a reality called space and time, and into it thrust a being made in their own image.
For what possible reason?
The first answer that suggests itself to me is to say God created creation for no selfish reason. Needing nothing, being in very nature Love, His creative act was surely not simply for the fun of it, or so that His pleasure from praise and glory would increase (that pleasure and glory being infinite already), as if praise from a 6 billion people would raise his happy praise-o-meter more than it would from 4 billion.
What if that eternal community of love and communication simply (profoundly) wanted to share the life They understood and experienced as glorious, to express that glory and love through and with a new creation, so that the new creation could experience and express the same thing, and thereby find the same joy and glory as They had known eternally? In other words, creation comes into existence to share in and experience God's life, the life He has known since before the beginning?
Which another way of saying that in the end, all the commands of God are for us, to help birth in us His life of joy and love and glory and peace, for our sake. Pick your superlative adjectives and nouns and plug them in. The very nature of love means that the Lover is for the other. God is for us, meaning He is on our side, working on our behalf, leading us, protecting us, wooing us to come to the life He wanted us to have to begin with, the days of the garden.
For those opposed to God, His commands come as shackles, wanting for some unknown reason to destroy our sense of freedom, freedom to do what we want, responding willy-nilly to impulse. But we know life does not, cannot, will not work according to impulse. Why won't it? And what does it tell us that it won't work that way?
I think it means that there's a deep structure to life that did not grow from time plus chance plus nothing. (Shaeffer, again.) It also means that acknowledging God's presence in the world is not enough. In the end, it is all about trust.
Trusting God that His action in our lives is driven by His desire to see us living freely in His creation, experiencing the joy and beauty of love which He has known from the beginning, the love and glory that was the very first cause of His speaking anything into existence, means experiencing His commands not as the unreasonable demands of a petulant, giant egomanical personality, but as the firm, insistent guidance of an infinitesimally wise Father, leading His children to a life He meant for them from the beginning.
So is this a whole lot of mental gymnastics just to get to the simple facts the Bible tells us anyway? Perhaps. But for me, the notion that Love is truly seeking the good of the other, and the fact that it begins with God seeking our good, and not His own, is the key that unlocks the meaning of Love. And it stands in deep contrast to the cacophony of ideas concerning love floating in the broad American culture.
God wants our good.
Teach us to listen, and to love...