Let us be perfectly clear from the very outset of this post – God is love, not ‘love is god’!
Before the universe existed, before time itself, God is.
The Triune community of Three Persons – One Deity, existed in perfect union, harmony, and communion. Only the Judeo-Christian world view and theological framework has both love and family existing and in play before the universe was created – and from that source, that community – was spawned not merely the material, but Divinely infused humanity.
This meta-narrative ‘ticks all the boxes’ of both credibility and sustainability when it comes to understanding the human experience inexorable need for communion, community and family.
God created everything both in and through this love and wanted His created beings free in agency and capacity to in turn love, commune, collaborate and co-create with Him in owning and husbanding this utterly unique Third Rock from the Sun.
What a staggering offering and privilege, but that is what an extended family was always supposed to be about – it is God’s design.
This Divine and complete love imparted in and to us free agents, enables all the wonderful potential for all us humans to engage fully in that community of love filled servanthood and all the mind-blowing potential that has. Alternatively, that same agency and capacity can be engaged to leave, ignore, or repel that love and its most profound context and operate as self-serving individuals – an antithesis to the original design.
Yet, regardless of our lesser responses this perfect and omnibenevolent love remains on offer and in play, but it now becomes how we engage (or do not engage) with it, that determines not only potential, but the very level of communion and intimacy we choose to participate in.
In the following verses we see both the extent and ever progressive call toward love that is on offer,
- Firstly, Gods love is on offer and available to all His creation. (John 3:16)
- Secondly Gods love, this offering, must be accepted and received. (John 14:20-21)
- Thirdly for full impact, influence and intimacy, Gods love must be abiding, and the relational response needed from us to abide in that love. (John 15: 9-10)
In the Genesis account we see in Chapter 2, verse 16 and 17 – God’s First, and at that point only, commandment is given. It is important to note that it was established not in a civic or judicial framework, but a relational one – and it was not a recommendation. It was, however, a protective and boundary setting requirement.
The will of humanity has not only been created but given a context in which to be exercised.
This is now the matrix in which free will can choose self-rule or trust perfect wisdom from the Only Perfectly Omniscient and Loving Parent.
“The Lord God gave the man this order: You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die.” (NASB)
It is important to note that this protective requirement – this boundary (prelude to a commandment) was given to Adam, as Eve had not yet been created.
The question then comes in the context of this free agency and its attending capacity is, whose responsibility was it to instruct Eve?
And before you leap into an anti-patriarchal diatribe, it is not about gender or hierarchy, but just as God with Adam, it is those who have the information and understanding to share it fully and empoweringly with those who do not have it. This is so they too can join in the collaboration of best-practice – including the serving, teaching, and giving one to the other. Not using this ‘knowledge’ to control, manipulate or dominate the other.
It is vital to emphasize here, that this new special creation was made for relationship, not utility – to collaborate and co-create – not just comply and fulfill.
No longer was it simply about function, direction and activity, as perhaps with the Angelic hosts, but was about The Creator ‘making man in their image’ and bringing them into the special community and familial relational context that is perfectly modelled in The Trinity.
There was an active collaboration and responsibility sharing within this new relationship. Adam was given dominion over the earth, but to govern with God, not independent of Him.
He was called to name the animals and tend the garden. This was not ‘for God’, but with God – A new and wonderful connection and expanding divine community had begun.
Adams new partner was created from his rib (Gen 2 :22-23) and by his own declaration she was ‘bone of his bone’. So, in this new relational setting, again I ask, whose responsibility was it to initially instruct Eve on the arena she has now come into?
A key point I want to make here is that one vital (and seminal) function that The Creators perfect love performs, and that is it instructs. This instruction is not mere verbal directives rather pre and proscriptions delivered in a context of modelling a caring, protective, and maturing relationship – just as Adam himself had received.
It seeks not only to protect, warn and prevent, but also to enhance, build, strengthen, enable, fortify, equip and mature, so that the object of love has every opportunity to experience the very best that the Creator has placed on offer.
To deliberately do less, is not to really love – well not love the Creators way.
It is important to note that when the Second Person of the Trinity finalized His Incarnation, some of the very, very last words of love recorded in the Gospels were instructive and in a relational context, as reflected in Jesus entire life.
“Go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, teaching to observe all I have commanded you, and understand, I will be with even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:17-20
This final loving directive is again, about equipping, enabling, empowering, and building all in the orbit of love to experience and exercise best practice – God’s Kingdom principles. Notice this seemingly overwhelming commission did not say ‘teach to observe some, or most of what I’ve commanded’. No, it is all. This is an imperative of God’s love, it doesn’t not omit, ignore, or discard what may appear difficult or even austere.
The God of the Bible, the Judeo-Christian Triune Divinity is utterly inclusive in His focus and intent for His creation, particularly His highest creation – humanity. He has never wanted us to leave or reject Him, but since that fateful day God has always had His invitation to return on offer. YHWH has used all means to reach out; Holy Spirit, nature, angels, His own special people – prophets, teachers, ambassadors – wisdom, counsel and of course, His very own Son. The invitation has always been unabashedly clear. To all, and everyone – come as you are, come home – so we can again have the fellowship for which you were created.
However, we must also remember that this omnibenevolent Author of the universe, is also a God of perfection and purity – Holy.
This quality, this aspect of Holiness is unsurpassed in the multifaceted nature of the Divine.
Holiness is the only virtue, quality and facet of the Trinity that receives the <em><strong>Trisagion </strong></em>emphasis. The prophet Isaiah is privileged to encounter this, as recorded in Isaiah 6:3. In all of Scripture, only Holiness gets this supreme emphasis, an emphasis that flavours and shapes and permeates every other virtue, character, and the very nature of the Triune God.
As such He has never changed His position on the clear and perfect boundaries that make for best practice relationships and the fruit they produce. That which was impure, and imperfect could not stay in Eden (Paradise), as it would only detract and bring decay to that idyllic unspoiled space, and having access to the potential for unending longevity with sin that separates would mean relationship permanently lost. Such was the concern of the reintroduction of the now self-governing humanity that a Cherubim guard was set over the gate back into Eden. (Gen 3:24)
Heaven, like Eden can have no impurities permitted, not blemish can be allowed, as perfection requires the complete absence of all such detractors – especially for the eternal context. Divine uninterrupted communion cannot exist with sin in play, and communion is what the Trinitarian God is all about.
Yet in all His perfection this Holy, yet utterly relational God, with a perfect Father’s heart, calls and beckons to all and sundry – no matter your background, your heritage, your conduct, family, brokenness or failings – to come to His great Wedding Feast (Matthew 22 : 14-20). This utterly and incomprehensively Pure and Perfect God, (Yes, I am labouring these superlatives because the Western Church has largely lost this perspective) commissions His agents to compel by begging in their invitation for all to come to this elite, and transcendent celebration.
However, we really need to fully understand this call and its intent. The call is to invite you back into purity and devotional exclusivity, not just a celebration. For it is the surrender in this devotional exclusivity, that will enable us to fully enter in and experience the perfection of love, joy, peace and purity that our self-governing could never ever achieve.
An invite that no one deserved, but one given with only one requirement – not a recommendation. – a command; that the one responding to this free invite, has a willingness to leave all the wilful selfishness and pride behind – all the failed self-government, and instead surrender in repentance to the perfect Father as they enter in.
Of course, a mere moment of reflection brings the obvious reality that we are far from perfection and purity. And yes, unquestionably we are. We are filthy and have nothing to wear to this magnificent unparalleled occasion. (Isaiah 64:6)
Yet even still, we are earnestly invited!
As one who accepts this invitation, I’m saying, I want to be at this feast; I want to leave all and everything to come home to this relational Eden by repenting and making God my exclusive focus of worship, then this inclusive, loving God, does not change the boundaries or lower the standard, no, none of that is done.
Instead, what He does do is breathtaking.
At complete cost to Himself, He washes your life, your real life, completely clean in His cleansing and Redeeming Blood as you confess your need for the purity that only He can give. Then He dresses you in His best garments – even one He wore Himself (an incalculable privilege) the Robe of Righteousness, than enables you to again entrance in to the wedding feast – to then be fully conformed to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29), so you can experience again the ‘best practice’ that is His Divine perfection that makes you so utterly whole and completely rich.
Now, the original intent of our creation, the intimacy with the Perfect G_d in relational and devotional exclusivity is complete and unfettered because nothing else in our orbit even warrants a first, let alone second glance. We are home. We are whole and we are abiding in His perfect transcendent LOVE!
Shane Wesley Varcoe 2020