Thursday, December 4, 2008

God's Love

This post at a muslimah's blog, Only a Few Will Attain the Love of Allah, made me start actually thinking about how I view God's love for me. I often read blogs and compose reponses in my head that I never post. It makes me actually reason and argue through my own postitions, rather than just going, 'well that's what I believe, live with it'.

I was never taught that just because God loved us, so long as we belived in Jesus we were going to Heaven. Never.

I was raised viewing God as a parent, metaphorically. (Which got me into a lot of trouble and strain when my father turned into an abusive bastard, but I've mostly worked through that.) Good parents, and we assume that God is a good parent, because He's God, and by definition, good, love their children, unconditionally.

That doesn't mean that the children can't hurt them though. Parents lay down rules (laws) for the good of the child, because they've been there, done that, and have years of experience to draw from that the child doesn't. A parent wants certain things for their child, what they believe to be best, but the child, being their own person, can and often does choose to do their own thing, whether or not their own thing is the right thing.

When a child chooses to do something that their parent would rather they didn't, does the parent stop loving them? No. Does it hurt the parents? Do the parents sometimes have to punish the child, chastise them, be angry with them? Of course. But does any of this mean that the child has lost the parents love? I don't think so. A parent, because of their love, is hurt, terribly, when the child breaks the rules, goes a way that the parent sees is wrong for them, and only going to cause them pain. If the parent didn't love, it wouldn't hurt. And yes, in some cases, all a parent can do, when the child has grown and will simply not change, will not learn and listen and realize that the path they are travelling down is hurting them, all a parent can do is step back. Hold up their hands and walk away, because, while they still love their child, they can't force them to change.

And that's how I view God's love. He loves us, and has laid down laws for us, things to keep us on the right path, the one that leads back to Him. But we've got free will, we're our own people, and we can choose to do what we want, regardless of the consequences. And I think that that hurts God, immensely, because He loves us so much. But He doesn't stop loving us because of that. If that was the case? Everyone, every last person on earth would be going to Hell, because no one has lived a life without offending God at some point, even if it's just the tiniest, tiniest thing. But does that mean that everyone is going to Heaven, because God loves us so much He can't stand sending us to Hell?

Well, no. Because actions have consequences, and laws exist for a very good reason. And at some point (death), there are no more chances. God must, despite how much I believe it must hurt Him, step back and accept that there's nothing more He can do. He gave us every chance, every time there was a choice, He wanted us to make the right one, but He can't force it on us. But death is that last moment, when all your choices are done, and the ones that you've already made have decided the rest of your life for you.

Heaven or Hell. God loves us, and desires that we all be united with Him in Heaven, but He can't make us behave. He's the ultimate parent, the Father, and He'll love us even when we're breaking His heart. And He'll forgive us, when we ask Him to, when we realize our errors and truly, truly regret them, and change our ways, because of His love.

So, my conclusion is this: God loves everyone, it's in His nature. But it's not His love that saves us. His love for us is what makes Him offer us His grace. And it's our acceptance of the gift of grace, and our obedience and continual striving to be what He desires us to be that saves us. We can accept the gift, and we can also reject it, and OSAS doesn't enter into it.


  1. Hi Amber, thanks for linking your post.

    The problem with the parent'God analogy is that you are comparing God to His Creation and He is far above that. Once you start seeing God as The Creator of Everything in existence and stop comparing Him with His creation, realize that He is One and there is nothing like Him...then maybe you wouldn't think the same way.

  2. Hi Umm Adam,

    Well first, thank you for making the post in the first place. Just in case you do wander back over here, let me say that while I've never commented, I enjoy your blog a lot.

    While I would agree that God is the Creator, and above His creation, how else are we supposed to discuss Him but with analogy and metaphor? He is unlike anything else, but in order to speak of Him, we have to have some sort of a frame of reference.

    How do Muslims describe aspects of God, without comparing Him, however poor the comparison, to something concrete and physical, which would necessarily be a part of His creation?

  3. Is there a way to follow comments on blogger. I always forget which blogs I commented on?

    Muslims desrbibe Allah by how He desrcibed Himself. He has 99 names and attributes that He made known to us in the Quran. In Islam it is a major no no to liken Allah to any of His creation, even if it is just to make a point.

  4. UmmAdam,

    There's a thing at the bottom of the comments that says 'Subscribe to Post Comments'. That might be the way to follow the comments. I'm not sure, I'm sort of new to the blog thing.

    The 99 Names, aren't some of them also attributes that are found in man? Is the difference because those attributes originate with God, He contains the perfect expression of them, and that humans, in whatever capacity they posses them, are merely shadows of His perfection in that regard?

  5. Umm Adam wrote:

    "Muslims describe Allah by how He described Himself. He has 99 names and attributes that He made known to us in the Quran."

    And we describe God as He described Himself in the Bible. :-)

    Thankfully, He uses words that we humans can understand (Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, The Good Shepherd, The Bread of Life, The Living Water, The Way, The Truth, The Life. etc.) What good is it to say "I am asdroajisdofaijdfasojif" when we have no idea what that is? Holy, just, love, all powerful, all wise ... we can understand those words.

    I enjoyed your post, Amber. I just found your blog tonight.

  6. Hi Susanne,

    Thanks, I'm glad you liked the post.

    Yes, God gave us the way to describe Him, in the limited way that we can, in the Bible. And it's in terms that we can comprehend. While God is so far from anything that a human can fully understand, He is reflected, in part, in every piece of His creation. And even the entirety of creation is not enough to reflect Him.



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