7/9/16 Cassidy and Peter late 20's
I asked a couple on a walk at the park about their beliefs about life after death. Peter let Cassidy do all the talking, and I could see why. Cassidy was quick to quote a wide variety of philosophers who spoke of the different possibilities, which for her included anything but the Bible or Christianity. However she did say she believes we all return to God when we die.
But what exactly did she mean by the term “God” if not the God of the Bible? Now she did find it convenient to quote the Bible - 1 John 4 - “God is love” she said. However this is not just some general statement, but it is written in the context of the historical Gospel. It says “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” God is not described as being love itself but rather the One who shows love, demonstrated ultimately in Jesus’ sacrifice.
This is not what Cassidy meant when she said “God is love”. What she really meant is that “God” is an impersonal idea, love, and that whenever we show love we, too, are being “God”. Her version of “God” is not a personality we can be in relationship with, but just a general idea – love.
Yet her biggest complaint about Christianity is that God is too impersonal, mainly because He tells us what to do, which doesn’t fit within her “God is love” framework. She also feels limited by Christianity’s insistence that God is male, feeling that this is just too archaic for her modern sensibilities. “But God chooses to reveal Himself in this way” I explained. “God presents Himself as male, and Jesus goes further to present Him as our heavenly Father. He commanded us to pray to “Our Father in Heaven.” How much more personal can Christianity be? Imagine! We have a heavenly Father who commands us to do our part – prayer – in order to be in an intimate relationship with Him. And He does His part – we are given His Word, both in the Bible and in Jesus, that we might respond as His children in loving obedience.”
God loves personally in human history, in real time, and within a real context, and He made a very real sacrifice at the cross. He is so much more than just a nice idea about love.