Saturday, August 20, 2011

Why does God want us to Love Him?

The way I look at Gods love is like this-

Love is by its very nature creative. At an authentic level, even sinful humans will sometimes create, just to create. Paint a painting or write a song. But then, if we are pleased with what we created, we want to share it with other people.

Then we go and create other humans. Now obviously part of that is because the process is pleasurable itself. But take a look at my kids. They are pretty cute and nice and easy to love, but at the end of the day they are a lot of work and self sacrifice. If I had kids because of what I thought I would get out of them- love and affection and companionship, say- then I would quickly discover that a baby can't meet my needs. Most people know that ahead of time, but have kids anyway. Because they want to give their love to someone else!

So I think God created us for very similar reasons. He loves to create, and wanted to have someone who would rejoice in his creation, and someone he could love. He gets nothing out of the deal- just a lot of work and sacrifice. But it is worth it anyway, because love just wants to give of itself.

I think we make a mistake when we try to evangelize or encourage people to have kids or figure out why God does what he does- and that is that we assume that the only reasons for doing things are selfish reasons. So we try to compel people to Christianity or to have families by telling them what they will get out of it, when in reality it's a no brainer to realize that the sacrifices are huge. We have to appeal to a different part of people- the part that is self giving, or capable of love. Because that is what it is really about!

On a different note, I think people make the smae mistake when determinning their vocation- they look at it from a selfish perspective, and most people, selfishly, want to get married. But people who get married for selfish reasons will often get divorced for selfish reasons. It's funny that we keep acting like it is OK to get married considering only what the other does for you. I also think that this is the danger in immature (high school) dating. You commit only until you no longer get what you want out of the relationship, then the commitment is no longer binding. Rather than train you for marriiage, this trains you for divorce!

God lacks nothing and is not at all selfish, so he can't have wanted to make us because he wanted something for himself. Rather he made us because he loves to create and loves us!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Why did God create Free Will?

The thing that sets us apart from the animals is not just our intelligence, or opposable thumbs, but also our free will. Without free will, there is no such thing as virtue. We might speak of a dog being 'courageous' or 'loyal', but really the dog does not (I expect) sit back and deliberate about what he's going to do- he just does it. We as humans can actually choose whether we are going to be courageous or cowards, loyal or traitors, loving or hateful, joyful or self pittying, hopeful or despairing, etc. This is the very thing that gives humans dignity beyond that of animals. We were created in the image and likeness of God, and God is love.

But real love is not a feeling or even consistent affection, but it is a choice. I think God gave us free will for much the same reason that I would prefer to think that my wife has chosen me then to think that I somehow forced her to 'love' me. I think that it is interesting that in Aladin the Genie cannot force Jasmine to love Aladin, and similarly in Bruce Almighty, Bruce cannot force his girl to love him. It's like there is an understanding that to do so would be a violation of that persons diginity, and actually it would not make sense. It would not be what people actually know that love is.

So without free will, we would be little more than intellignet animals. We would still be subject to our emotions, or some other guide, and would not be able to love. God saw that to make a world where genuine love was possible, He had to allow that the opposite, the rejection of love, (sin) was possible.

There is also the question of why God does not put limmits on our free will. After all, what loving all powerful Father would sit back and let some one rape his daughter- yet it seems that God allows this, and many more things, daily. But then I wonder- If I was all powerful, I feel like not only would I not allow someone to rape my daughter- I would not even allow them to lust after her! I would not allow children to call my son names. And I would never allow my child to steal.

God must have deemed that to make love possible, he would have to make sin possible, and I expect he would give man the full range of possibilities within physical restrictions. I think what God wants is for us to choose to love- and this includes responsibly creating laws and a culture which discourage and limmit sin.

If the whole purpose of life and our existence is love, and love has to be chosen to be love, that kety actually, surprisingly, makes sense out of a whole host of existensial questions.