April 14, 2008

Is God Truly Broken Hearted or is He Just Faking it?

This past Sunday at our home church we studied the broken heartedness of God and just how grieved God is over the rebellion of man's sinfulness. This has to be one of the most overwhelming subjects to study and I would challenge you to take some time to sit down and read every verse in the bible whereby God uses the word grieved, sorrowful, or broken, (See also "played the harlot") over the rebellion and sinfulness of man. For example Judges 10:15-16 speaks of God being grieved over the sinfulness of Israel:

Jdg 10:15-16 And the children of Israel said unto Jehovah, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; only deliver us, we pray thee, this day. (16) And they put away the foreign gods from among them, and served Jehovah; and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.

Once you begin to read of just how many verses there are in the bible (mainly the Old Testament) where God is expressing his broken heart to the Israelites, its really overwhelming to see the God of the universe so broken hearted over man's sin. To think that God desires His creation to love him and yet we have turned to love another - ourselves ! There are many instances in the Bible where God gives us a mental picture of just how deep our sins have pained His heart - whereby he uses the phrase "played the harlot". The visual here is of a lover or bride that has went out and committed one of the most vile acts of betrayal - harlotry. God gives us an image of his beloved who has committed adultery with this "other" person, not out of love but merely fopr the purpose of gratifying their selfish desires, while all along the one who truly loves us and desires for us to love Him in return is brokenhearted or grieved over this great betrayal! What a picture of unrequited love!

I read of God's broken heartedness over man's constant rebellion I have to also reconcile this with two other doctrines that are permeating Christianity today. If God is truly brokenhearted then how does this harmonize with the God of Absolute Foreknowledge or the God of predestination? For one, the language used in the bible expresses the emotion or condition of God's heart at that particular moment in time. If God foreknew of this rebellion or sinfulness ahead of time, then why is he so choked up over it? Didn't He see this coming? Many Calvinist have said this was not really God's heart at that very moment, but rather this is an anthropomorphic expression, whereas God is just trying to express something on a "human level". But if this is really the case then one must come to the logical conclusion that God is merely expressing something he's really not. To express something that your not is the definition of lie! Then this theology is really making God out to be a liar. So for me this theology is in no way a rational explanation of God being truly grieved over the sins of man.

Second, is the doctrine of Total Depravity/Original Sin. How is it that God is so broken hearted over the fact that man is not loving Him nor obeying his statutes or commands, when we have been told that man is depraved, not by choice, but by a predisposed constitution. Did God forget that He had cursed man with this moral predisposition to sin 24/7? How can God get upset over man not keeping his commandments, when He knew all along we were never going to be able to keep them in the first place (not to mention He also knew from "Eternity past")? This would really be the equivalent of getting upset with someone because of the color of their skin or the color of their hair - aren't these "inherited traits" no different than so called Original Sin that we inherited from our parents? If Total Depravity/Original Sin is true, then how does one begin to harmonize the grief God expressed by God? I would suggest that its not God who has the problem here, but it is man who has freely choosen to rebel against God's loving kindness!

Ultimately, what this all comes down to is if you follow the logic of Calvinism you end up making God the author of His own unhappiness. If God is the author of His own unhappiness then sin is neither blameworthy nor would it be just to punish billions to hell for their prearranged rebellion! With the overwhelming evidence the scriptures gives us of God's broken heart over the rebellion of mankind, it leaves one to see that the theology of Calvinism leds people to beleive that the grief and sadness of God is not genuine, but is contrived by God's own doing. This my friend is a theology that does great harm to the character of God. When we read of Jesus as the being express image of the Godhead in human form, we see an image very much consistent with the image of God displayed through the history of scripture.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:3).

He was not the stoic, man of nerves we might have imagined. Nor was he the ever-at-peace teacher we often describe. He was, among other things, a man of sorrows. For Christ himself carried the weight of man's sin upon his shoulders - a burden that was so overwhelmingly sorrowful that it is hard to even comprehend how heavy is such a burden. He willingly and purposefully chose to carry this weight so that all of mankind may see just how much God truly loves us and the deep desire He has that ALL may be reconciled back to Him, that we may turn from our "harlotry" and reside as the Bride He as waited with great anticipation and longing.

1 comment:

joeldad said...

Well written, brother! Not enough people think about this idea. God is capable of expressing the greatest love. Conversely, He is capable of experiencing the greatest grief over mankind's adultery against Him.

Our precious Lord Jesus, with all the innocence of a newborn baby (yet innocence of infinitely greater virtue, due to his complete objective knowledge and ability) chooses to continue to love and have patience with stubborn, rebellious sinners in hopes that some may choose Him before the Day of judgement.

It's heart-wrenching. Thanks for writing this.