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God is Love…God is Good…God is Just

This is a video that I saw for the first time the other day. I am not really familiar with the work of Gungor but I have heard a lot of good things. This video communicates two main characteristics of God : #1 God is love and #2 God is good. However, there is, in my view, a serious problem with this video. What is the problem? There seems to be the implication that God loves everyone in the same way. I am going to try and make an effort to highlight this issue and give a response that is true to the text of Scripture and to reason. Let’s look at God’s love.

The video speaks a lot of the love of God. It says:

atheists and charlatans,
and communists and lesbians,
and even ol’ Pat Robertson
Oh God, He loves us all
Catholic or Protestant,
terrorist or president,
everybody, everybody loved, loved, loved

What does this excerpt say about this song? It says that God loves people but it goes a little beyond just that. It suggests that God loves everyone in the same way. I believe this is something that modern-day Christianity has twisted. God is clear in Scripture that he does hate people. Romans 9:13 comes to mind, “As it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”’ There is a difference between Jacob and Esau. God made the distinction. God is free to make that distinction because he is God. God has different kinds of love. The line that speaks about lesbians really hit me when it came by the first time. Does God love lesbians? Yes. Does God love a practicing lesbian in the same way as the believer? Romans 1:26-27 says:

“God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Is calling a homosexual someone who commits shameless acts loving? Is giving them a penalty for their actions loving?

The fact is that God shows love and mercy when he allows one more breath to be inhaled and exhaled from the lungs of a sinner. That is common grace in action. That common grace is shown to everyone because God does love everyone. However, that love is not the same for everyone. Take a look at this analogy.

A man gets married and loves his wife. But because he is so filled with love he has decided to love every woman in the same way that he loves his wife. Is that OK? Of course it isn’t. We all have differentiations in our love. I love my family with a deeper love then I love my neighbors family. I love my girlfriend differently then I love my buddies wife. That is how we were made. There is a counter argument that I know some people may raise with this and that is something like, “we are not God so why couldn’t God love everyone equally?” That is a good question let me answer.

The issue the question raises isn’t against my stance but rather it is against Scripture. The question makes a true statement with, “we are not God”. That is true and I thank God that I am not God. However, the statement “we are not not God” doesn’t support the real question. Just because we, as humans, have a characteristic does not mean that God doesn’t have a similar characteristic. Even further though as I pointed out God has made distinctions in the past with Jacob and Esau. I believe that God is free to make those distinctions. To spark discussion and thinking here are a few questions…

Why is God required to love every creature in the same way? Does God love the atheist who consistently bashes his name in front of auditoriums filled with young college students in the same way he loves the preacher who uses his voice to speak about the grace of God? Does God love the person in Hell (yes I am that conservative) the same way he loves the believer in Heaven? I would suggest that God does not.

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About Travis Berry

I am a blatantly honest person who loves to think, read, discuss, and write about God and theology. I have a bachelor's degree in Youth Ministry from Crown College. I work at a church in Houston, TX as a Youth Director and love every minute of it! I am married to a wonderful woman named Becky and we have one amazing child! I have a love for God's Word, and a fervor to live it out in the fullest, and I pray this blog reflects that. Thanks for checking out AnotherChristianBlog!.

Posted on October 10, 2011, in Christianity, Culture, Theology and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Travis,
    You are right…. I don’t think I like this very much. 🙂

    I guess one of the core themes of the New Testament that I see is that of impartial treatment. We see it in the ethics of inter-faith, inter-cultural dialogue in Jesus, we see it within Christian pluralism in Acts, it’s one of the core themes of the book of James.

    Your stance on differential love is one of covenant. Whoever is in covenant receives the preferential love of the relationship. Therefore, it has nothing to do with the giver of love, but the receiver of the gift. As Kierkegaard points out in his works of love, that a lover cannot deny the object of his love, love, because to deny giving love, means you never loved them in the first place. This is the problem of human relationships. What you described, humans can do. But, because God is love, God cannot go against his own nature, his own being. Therefore, if humans want the preferential love (grace, which is gift), they must accept the nature of the gift, relationship.

    The gift is extended to all, this is why God desires all to be saved (not saying that all will) but the gift is extended to all. Does God love people the same way, yes (it denies his very being not to). But, are we open to receive the love? The lover, must love what he loves, but the beloved does not have accept the terms of his love.

    • I appreciate the comment Mike. It seems that from one phrase, “God is love” you are concluding more then what is there in the text. What in “God is love” means that God must have the same exact love for me then he does for you? Does God not have this freedom or are you simply saying that he could do no other just like he can’t lie? The problem with that conclusion of God having to love everyone equally means that ultimatly our fate is only up to man and not God. This is really made clear in soteriology. Romans 9:16 says, “So then it depends not on the human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

      • If God is love, then incarationally speaking, Love is the affirmation of the infinite. Things that are ascribed as God (Love, mercy, just), cannot be fully ascribed to man. As man attempts to incarnationally live out the experience of God, within this life. This is the importance of the imago dei. When we recognize our divine image, then we can truly being incarnating God into the world. I go back to the covenant analogy, no one deserves Salvation (grace, love) we have all broken these covenants, but God continues to offer this to all people. Man cannot earn it, but God has offered it to all, otherwise he would not desire all to be saved.

      • So God’s mercy and justice is shown in every person equally? I would suggest that Scripture is opposed to that considering some people are punished for sin while others are pardoned by the sacrifice of Christ.

  2. Wow – this is deep! I’ve never thought about it before, but I definitely will be over the next few days! I’d love to hear a parent’s perspective on this. My guess is that they would say that they love each child differently, but still with equal passion. Thanks for this topic!

    • Thanks for the comment Megan and please don’t take my word for anything. One goal of this blog is to stimulate conversation and thinking but it isn’t to simply give people answers. Hope you find an answer that is satisfying.

  3. I would have to agree with Megan that it would be interesting to hear a parent’s perspective on this. I also think its important to look at the context and original language of the verses you quoted as well as others that connect to this subject. What word is used in 1 John 4:16 when it says “God is love” and what word is used in Malachi 1:2 when it says “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I hated,” (which is later quoted in Romans). Love is a word that gets tossed around a lot these days, “I love my family, I love my friends, I love my dog, I love pizza” Those are may all be true statements, but does the person who says them really mean that they feel the same affection and “love” for their family as they do for pizza? I think this could be related to God’s love for us. I believe he has some form of love for all of human kind because each and every person is created in his image, but there may be different forms or levels of his love.

    • Thanks for the comment Becky. I think you and Megan may have something with the parents however, not every person on earth is considered God’s child so maybe the connection between a parent and their children is a little stretched at that point.

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