Friday, July 25, 2008

enjoying God (1) how God feels about being God

Last term I told you about our Sunday school lessons on the fruit of the Spirit. This term, week by week, I'd like to tell you about a seminar I led recently on enjoyment of God. Here's the first in the series, on how God feels about being God.

Have you ever thought about what life was like for God before he made the angels, human beings, or the universe? Was God lonely? Did he create us because he needed someone to love or glorify him?

No! Father and Son were together forever, delighting in each other with the joy of the Spirit.

Many theologians have pictured the Trinity like this. The Son is the perfect image of God, God's joy-filled view of his own excellencies given form. Father and Son rejoice in each other, and delight to bring each other glory. The Spirit is the love and joy which flow between them.

Which is good news for us. For our joy is the overflow of his. We have joy only because he is a God of joy. All joy, all delight, flow from the happy God.

Here's my favourite word-picture of the joy between Father and Son on the day the "morning stars sang together, and all the angels shouted for joy" (Job 38:7). "Wisdom", or God's Son (1 Cor. 1:24), speaks:

The LORD brought me forth as the first of his works,
before his deeds of old;
I was appointed from eternity,
from the beginning, before the world began.
When there were no oceans, I was given birth,
when there were no springs abounding with water;
before the mountains were settled in place,
before the hills, I was given birth,
before he made the earth or its fields
or any of the dust of the world.
I was there when he set the heavens in place,
when he marked out the horizon on the face of the deep,
when he established the clouds above
and fixed securely the fountains of the deep,
when he gave the sea its boundary
so the waters would not overstep his command,
and when he marked out the foundations of the earth.
Then I was the craftsman at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence,
rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.
Proverbs 8:22-31

Take a minute to rejoice in the boundless joy of God.

I dare to speak of mysteries beyond understanding, but we are given glimpses into these wonders in the Bible. See Isaiah 42:1; Job 38:4-7; John 1:1-4; 17:1, 24; 1 Cor. 15:28; Eph. 1:10; Phil. 2:6; Col. 1:16-19; Heb. 1:1-3. There's a good explanation of the theological position I described in Jonathan Edward's essay On The Trinity, or see chapter 1 of John Piper's The Pleasures of God.

The original artwork in this post is by my daughter, Elizabeth Williams, age 9.

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