On Marriage

Last night, I was a bit enigmatic in how I stated the blog would continue in the near future, and I was that way for a reason. Indeed, all we do is for a reason even if we do not know the reason at that time. The truth is, a lot of my prayer requests have been centered on one area in particular. This blog is not about me. That’s why I try to make it a point to not give personal details about my life. This time, I’m going to make another exception because I will be away for awhile and I want my readers to know why.

As it turns out, this Saturday, the Deeper Waters blogger is tying the knot.

That’s right. I’m getting married and I will be away on a honeymoon. For those concerned, I proposed to my wife while I had a good and steady job that I was sure would last, but this economy hasn’t been good for us. I got laid off nearly three months ago and I’m still looking and being disabled, I do have an organization helping me to find a job. Meanwhile, the people of God have been generous and that has enabled me to be able to pay for a honeymoon. Some people gave us money so we could specifically have one. We are learning in this hard time to rely more on each other and we know we will get through somehow. God has always provided for us and we see his hand at work in bringing us together.

I will not tell my wife’s name on here, but I will say she is a wonderful lady growing in godliness every day and I am growing in that way for her too. Hence, I’m going to write about marriage and some thoughts that I’ve had. My wife deserves simply the best and I look at myself and want to be the best for her. It’s been said that marriage brings out the best in people, but it also brings out the worst. I see in myself many attitudes and characteristics that need to be fixed.

Today I told a friend that if he plans to get married, start working on personal holiness now. I wish I had been doing this years ago. It was no big deal then, but now it is one. It takes something special like a great girl sometimes to wake us up to that reality.

Realize you have the right to be gloriously imperfect as well. We all have the desire to be perfect to some extent, but we won’t be this side of eternity. A friend of mine in counseling told me he has a friend who counsels a lot of Seminary students. All of them believe in total depravity and all of them seem surprised when they find out they’re totally depraved. You are. You are a fallen and sinful human being and while I am not Calvinist, I do agree that your natural inclination, and mine of course, is to sin. Realize you are a work in progress.

You also will see a distance away off in the future you want to reach. It can be hard when you look at the huge distance. Know that Scripture says God will get you there by his power in Christ. When it’s hard, look for the signposts you’re on the right way by seeing how much you’ve changed.

For your spouse, choose your battles wisely. There are some fights that will happen inevitably. Some arguments however are not worth it. Do you really want to argue over something tiny? Are there not times that you should just let things go with your spouse?

When you get a criticism from your spouse, even if it is said in anger, always take some time to consider it. Sure. Maybe your spouse was extreme, but there could be some truth to it. Really take some time to look. Don’t immediately jump to being defensive. Be glad your spouse points out things in private before someone can embarrass you with them in public.

Always keep these two things in mind. Your spouse loves you and they would never do anything that would maliciously intentionally hurt you. Then in whatever it is your spouse does, go back and look at the action in that light and see if you can see it differently.

Always be ready to tell your spouse you love them. Even in the midst of a disagreement, I still stop and tell my lady that I love her. It’s good when you are having those times to be able to stop and say “First point. I love you.” Once you have that, everything else will be easier.

If you are a man, realize that your wife doesn’t always want you to fix her problems. Sometimes, she just wants you to listen. I do that often with my wife where she will call me and be upset about something. My first goal is to try to fix it and then I stop and realize she just needs someone to be there. I can tell her I don’t have any magic words to make the pain go away, but your wife won’t want that. She’ll just want you at that time and to know she has a place of security.

Seek wisdom of others. We are actively talking to people who have been married some for a long time and some a short time. They have things that they can teach you. It is foolish to think you will go in knowing everything in advance. You can learn from experiences, preferably other peoples’.

Pray together. I cannot tell you enough how important this is. We have a tradition of calling each other every night and saying “How may I pray for you tonight?” and sharing our prayer requests. When you pray together, that makes it even more special as you get to see your spouse’s heart and your spouse gets to see yours and you realize you are growing closer to Christ together.

Love and adore your spouse always. Men. Make it a point to avoid desiring other women. I think in our culture the female faces a lot as she gets this idea of beauty thrown at her and television and movies don’t help. I think men do their wives a huge disservice when they make a big deal of a lady they see on TV or in the movies. Now if you’re with a friend and he introduces you to his girlfriend or wife, there’s nothing wrong with saying he’s got a pretty lady, but remember also that your wife is to be the desire of your eyes.

Also, follow the biblical principles. They’re there for a reason. A man is called to lead his wife, but if he is to be the king of his castle, he is to treat his lady like a queen. A wife is not an object and even in marriage, you can treat your wife as an object, such as one who is there simply to fulfill your sexual desires.

And speaking of sexuality, I am saying this as a virgin at this moment, but keep in mind that sexuality is not merely designed to fulfill your pleasures. It’s also about showing your spouse how much they mean to you. I believe sexuality is the closest form of love to the Trinity on Earth. The union where the two become one is meant to be a shadow representing the love that takes place in the Trinity. The shadow’s not a bad thing however! Don’t think I’m putting down the shadow! In fact, I’m exalting it. I’m saying this is what God gave married couples to reveal what union with Himself is like.

Always remember that sex is to be something special, but it is also something sacred and you are to honor your spouse sexually. You can dishonor your spouse sexually without ever having an affair. It can be the constant admiration of others, or the treating your spouse like an object.

Accept your spouse as Christ has accepted you. If you are tempted to be critical, remember there is plenty of yourself that someone could be critical of. If you are tempted to be angry, remember there is much about you that God can deal with you for and chooses not to. If you are attempted to discourage her, remember that you are to lift one another up in Christlikeness.

So dear readers, I will be away then for a time and I do not have any definite time I will be back. My wife will be wanting me to keep up ministry however, but this is not the end.

And to my future wife, I thank you for just coming into my life and as you rightly correct me, you did not turn my world upside-down. You turned it right-side up. You got me to stop looking at myself all the time and look at you and look at my God all the more. You have made me see more and more that any fear I have in my life can be overcome. You have changed my views on so much. I do not know how it was I actually thought about anything in the past before you came along and I thank God that he brought you into my life to shape me into the man I am becoming.

To my Princess, as I call you, I love you. It will not be long before we are husband and wife and I look forward to spending the rest of my life adoring you, loving you, honoring you, taking care of you, and helping you be the woman God made you to be and that you are becoming more and more everyday.

Though I just said it, I have to say again before I go, I love you.

And dear readers, we shall continue sometime in the future. Pray for us on this journey.

And once again Princess, I love you.

Does God Always Love Better Things More?

We’re at the point now of wrapping up our study of the love of God. As we have seen, there has been a lot of metaphysics involved. Tonight, we’re also going to see some exegesis. For those who do not know, our guide as we’ve been looking at the doctrine of God has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. This can be read for free at newadvent.org. Tonight, we’re going to be asking the question of if God always loves better things more.

In this case, we have some passages and maybe the objections will show an interesting way of looking at the passages and while we wouldn’t interpret them that way, we can stop and think “I wonder why I never even had that question pop into my mind before?”

The Scriptures say that God so loved us that he gave his only Son for us and about how much God has given us in giving us Christ. Well who would give up a greater thing for a lesser thing? Since God sacrifices Christ for the world, then surely though Christ is the better, God still loves the world more.

But this is not so according to Aquinas. While God does will the good of the world, he wills the good of Christ more. We are not given a name above all names. We are not ontologically in the position of glory that Christ is in. If we looked at just the cross, maybe there could be a point, but there is the resurrection and the ascension as well.

But what about angels? Does not the Bible say that we are a little lower than angels, but yet he loves us more apparently? Aquinas answers that some angels are better than men and some men are better than angels. We are better than fallen angels, but the good angels are better than us. God assumed human nature because our needs were greater.

There is some debate in the medieval philosophers as to the salvation of fallen angels and one idea presented is that since each angel is its own species, they could not be saved because God would have to become each individual angel in order to save them, and he could not do that. There is no “angelic nature” as it were to save. There are angels to be saved.

But doesn’t the text also say that there is more rejoicing over one sinner who repents than ninety-nine who have no need of repentance? Yes it does. However, this is also become such a sinner is more penitent. Aquinas speaks of how it had been said that in battle, the general desires most the soldier who has fled and yet after fleeing bravely pursues the enemy, more than the one who has never fled, but also never done a brave deed.

Basically, God’s loving better things more is his willing something a greater good. This is especially so the more like something God is. Maybe it’s time we as Christians take seriously then the call to holiness and righteousness. It is something that we are constantly called to. We are not called to be successes in our careers or loved by the world, but we are called to be holy. Let us be.

Thus concludes our look at the love of God and we begin preparation for another section.

Does God Love All Things Equally?

Welcome again all readers and greetings to those as well who are reading via the medium of TheologyWeb. I welcome people with comments to also come to TheologyWeb and join in the fun as I hope we have many lively debates started on relevant topics. Tonight, we continue our look at the most relevant topic of all, the doctrine of God. Our guide for our study has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas which can be read for free at newadvent.org. Tonight, we’re going to continue our study of the love of God by asking if God loves all things equally.

To begin with, an objection is that God has equal care for all. Since he has equal care for all, it would follow that he loves all equally. Therefore, he loves all equally. Aquinas says that this is not so however. God does not deal out equal good to all and we as Christians know this seeing as not all get the final good of being in the presence of God with the beatific vision. However, God uses the same wisdom in his care of all.

But is not the love of God his essence? Since that is the case, then it would seem that since his essence does not change, then his love cannot change and if his love cannot change, then what reason do we have to believe that God wills his love towards others differently?

However, the love of another is the willing of that person’s good. God does not will His essence to them, for no creature can have the essence of God. He does will the good that is fitting to that creature for them to have in relation to the kind of being that that creature is. Therefore, he does not in this case either love all things equally.

God’s love extends to created things, but so does his knowledge and will. However, he does not know some things more than others or will some things more than others. If that holds true, then it would be true also that God does not love some things more than others.

Aquinas answers that knowing and willing signify only acts and the acts are not equal to the creatures that are the recipients of those acts. God could very well know some things more because there is more to know about them and will some things more because they have more being to them. In the same way, he can love some things more as well.

The basic answer Aquinas also gives is that if love is the willing of the good of another, then it is self-evident that there are some things that he loves more because not all things are equally good. If you disagree with this, then just ask yourself a question. Are you as good as God is? No.

We do this also on a human level. Your friends and your family and yourself are all equally human, but you also love each differently. We would not respect a man who treated his wife in the exact same way he treated all women. Of course, he should love all women in the sense that they are all humans, but he should give a different kind of love to the woman he’s married. A person should love all humans as they are all humans, but his parents and friends have a different love.

God most of all loves himself and we should as well. Is this egotistical on God’s part? No. It’s realistic. God is treating himself as the greatest good because he is the greatest good. He could not treat anything else as if it was the greatest good. God acts in conformity with reality. We should do the same.

Love all? Of course you should. However, realize love does vary, and that’s just fine.

We shall conclude this topic tomorrow.

Does God Love All Things?

We are continuing our look now at the love of God in Christian thought. Our guide for this is the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas at newadvent.org. This is also available on the IPhone, IPad, and ITouch with the new ibooks application and can no doubt be found on various other electronic devices that allow you to read works of literature. Of course, I always recommend most of all the version that you can hold in your hand. We’re talking about the love of God and we’re going to ask today if God loves all things.

Aquinas affirms that God does indeed love all things insofar as they exist. This is something we should do as well of course and indeed I will touch on this at the end. How can this be however as God’s love is eternal, but that which is the object of His love is not eternal?

Aquinas tells us that all things exist in God. That is, God knows in Himself what you and I are according to our proper natures and this is what He loves. This is why God can eternally love us but not eternally be angry at us. God loves that which is our proper nature because that is good. There is nothing about our proper nature however which can bring about eternal anger in God. This does not mean of course that God loves everything about us, and again, this is something I plan to touch on further at the end.

But are there not two kinds of love at least? There is the love of desire and there is the love of friendship. The love of friendship God does not have with creatures that do not possess rationality. Since that is the case, how can it be that God loves them? More importantly, if desire is based on need, then how can it be that God loves any of us since He does not need any of us?

That last point I wish to stress as in Bible College I did have a systematic theology professor who said that God created man because He needed someone to love. Acts 17:25 treats the idea of God needing anything as a mockery. Throughout the whole of Scripture, we see the constant praising and worship of God without wishing He could be greater or saying anything negative or limiting about Him. (The exception of course being that sometimes, the Psalmist and Jeremiah and others in sorrow can cry out to God as an oppressor of sorts, but this is more referring to His actions than to His nature.)

If God needed something, then He would certainly be lacking in perfection which we established early on in this series is something God has. After all, if God lacks some aspect of being that is not a limiting principle, where is He going to get it from? How does it exist apart from Him?

God loves out of desire but not out of desire for need but desire for our good. We can desire something for others as well as for ourselves and if someone is loved, then we naturally seek the good of that someone. As for friendship love, God does not have that with that which cannot reciprocate it, but He does have it with creatures like ourselves and angels.

There are passages that say God does hate sinners, but Aquinas will tell us that he loves sinners insofar as they are beings that exist, but insofar as they fall from that, he does not love them. I would also say that the word hatred refers to something being set at a distance as well and indeed, God does do that with sinners. He sets them apart from Him.

What does this tell us for ourselves? Our love should seek the good of the other as well and when we are doing that, we tend to find our own happiness. This does not mean we love everything about that person. In fact, that which holds back the person and is a negative influence on them we hate. Consider the parents of a child with a terminal illness. They love their child, but they hate that illness. If you have a loved one with a bad habit, you love them, but hate that habit. In fact, it is because you love them that you hate those things. Those things keep them from being them and if they are more them, it makes them more lovable.

We should be pleased also when we see this in ourselves. We should hate that which is in ourselves that keeps us from being the best that we can be. It is no glory to God for you to not be the best that you can be. Wanting to be the best you can be is not arrogant. It is realizing who God made you to be and deciding that you want to pursue that with your life.

I hope this has been a helpful look at the love of God. It is a topic we shall continue tomorrow.

Is Love In God?

A friend of mine commented on the last blog saying humorously since we were moving into the love of God that that meant no more metaphysics. I’m sure he knows that’s not the case since, yes, there is even a metaphysics of love. That’s where we’re going to begin today in our look at the doctrine of God with the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas as our guide. You can read it for free at newadvent.org. Tonight, we will start this question with asking if love is in God.

Some objections to this rely on the belief that love is a passion. This is nothing new then really. Now let me be upfront and say that love can indeed result in strong passions. However, it does not always have passion. Those of us who are good fans of Lewis know that he has warned us that the passion is an explosion meant to start us off in the right direction, but we dare not make a diet out of that passion.

Aquinas tells us that God is not one with passions because those passions come through the senses out of the sense appetite. The body responds to love, fear, joy, anger, etc. Insofar as these relate to the senses, then they are passions that God does not have for he does not have senses. However, God can have eternal love and joy because that is a matter of the will and God eternally wills the good. This is also a reason why he does not have anger. God is not eternally angry at anything. That would mean he’s eternally responding to sin in a way that affects his very nature.

God does love however because he has a will and like any will, his will seeks the good. Aquinas tells us that we only seek the good directly and the evil indirectly. Consider the case of a man who wants to have an affair. He does seek something that he deems a good, pleasure. It is not to be disagreed that pleasure is a good. However, the way he seeks to get that good is an evil, he wishes to have an affair.

This is a point I like to use in the abortion debate. What are some reasons given for an abortion? So a teenager won’t have to raise a child, or so a woman can pursue a career, or to give financial peace. Now when I hear the goals desired to be reached in the debate, I by and large consider them good goals. However, the question I want to ask is “How does abortion help me to be good?” Just because my goal is good, that does not mean the means chosen to get there are good.

Keep in mind as has been said that the only way one can will something is if they believe that something is good. Now they could be twisted and evil and what they will is twisted and evil, but there is something that they are reaching for that they perceive to be a good.

Aquinas also tells us that an act of love tends towards two things. That is the good of the willer and the person for whom it is willed. Thus, to love your neighbor as yourself is to seek the other person’s good as if it was your own and in doing so, lo and behold, you find your good. So many of us run around seeking happiness for ourselves and yet what we need to realize is that if we seek the happiness of others, we will eventually find our own.

So we do conclude that love is in God for God is always willing the good and that includes his own good. It behooves us to be in covenant alignment with him and be on the receiving end of his good as well.

We shall continue tomorrow.

Whether The Five Signs Of Will Are Rightly Said Of The Divine Will

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. We have now expanded and can be found at theologyweb.com. I encourage all readers to come to the Deeper Waters section. Many comments that require long answers I will be glad to give such answers to there so we can have a better back and forth exchange. For now, we’re going to continue our look at the doctrine of God in Christian thought and our guide will be the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas, which can be read for free at newadvent.org. Tonight, we’re going to conclude our look at the will of God by asking if the five signs of will are rightly said of the divine will.

First off, what are we talking about? These are the ways by which the moral will of God can be known. Prohibition is the forbidding of an action. Permission is God allowing an action that goes against his moral will. Counsel is persuasion to do a good action. Precept is when God insists upon an act as necessary. Operation is when he acts himself.

Are these rightly said? Yes they are. Aquinas wants us to keep in mind that God can at one time allow us to do something and then another time prohibit it. This depends on the event itself and the persons doing the event. An example would be that if you work at a company, you can be admitted to enter into staff only areas. When you leave that position, you cannot enter those areas. The company gives you the permission at one time and at the other time, they prohibit you.

He also wants us to realize that there are some signs of will that can only apply to rational creatures, namely us and angels. These are precept, counsel, and prohibition. It makes no sense for God to literally make a precept for how an animal ought to act and a prohibition for how it ought not to act. However, for us, he can give counsel to encourage us to do as we ought, prohibitions so we will know what we ought not to do, and precepts so we will know what it is we ought to do.

Also there is a distinction in how we come to the good. Prohibition is the area namely concerned with the denunciation entirely of an evil act. God does permit some things but these are things he will allow us to do for a greater good. There are sadly some situations that are less than ideal but these are allowed for the time being. Precepts are given so we may know the good that we ought to do and counsel in order for us to come to embrace that goodness all the more.

In conclusion, when I read this list I am struck once again with how much the goal is about attaining divine goodness. In our modern world, we are more often concerned with how things are good for us. We don’t really ask often if things are good. We are busy finding the will for our lives rather than finding out what the will of God is. Perhaps we should look less at us and instead look more at God for our continuous sanctification.

Tomorrow, we shall begin discussing the love of God.

Is The Will of Sign Distinguishable in God?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters as we continue our dive into the ocean of truth searching for those pearls. We’re going through the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas now in an attempt to understand the doctrine of God fuller. Our guide for this has been the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. That can be read for free at newadvent.org. Those who have products like the IPhone or Kindle can also download it. Best, however, would be to just purchase your own copy someday, at least the Prima Pars. We’re talking about the Will of God and today we’re going to be talking about the Will of Sign. Is that something distinguishable?

The Will of Sign refers more to the moral relationship that exists between God and men. This would mean such things like the Ten Commandments. Now in idea, we can speak about different wills in God. There is his sovereign will and there is his moral will. Sometimes, we speak of an individual will for some people, but I often think this falls more under the sovereign will in that he has a desire and he’s chosen certain individuals to fulfill that. In other words, the individuals play a part in the greater will of God. The will of God is not subservient to the individuals. We make it all about us, when really, if “God has a plan for our life” it is all about him. Not us.

The way we know what God’s will is also is that he has revealed it and he acts in accordance with what he desires. He punishes sin and he rewards goodness. We read in the Bible that God gets angry at sin. However, this is for our understanding of God’s view of sin. God does not get angry in the literal sense, but anger is a characteristic of one who punishes another and so when we see God acting in this way, we say of him that he is angry in the sense that he acts the way that an angry person acts.

The reason of course that God has only one will ultimately is that God is simple as has been said and what he has, he is. If there were two wills in God, then there would be parts to him. Once again, we are reminded that God is simple in his nature and why this is important. Aquinas went through his work in the order that he did for a reason and as we’ve gone through, we’ve seen that each part beautifully comes and builds on the part that came before it.

Today, we Christians should get out of this that we ought not to focus on so much an individual will for our lives but building on the nature of holiness in our lives. Is it not so much if you’re marrying the right person as it is if you are going to be the kind of spouse that you ought to be. It is not so much that you are picking the right career so much as if you are being the kind of employee you ought to be. It is not so much that you are going to the right school so much as you are being the right kind of student. God’s will for you, in fact, is not about you but about his glory.

I hope this has been a help to you. Remember everyone that what I do does depend on part from the help of people like you. I encourage any way in which you might want to help to make that a reality.

We shall continue tomorrow.

Does God Have Free-Will?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’re going through the Summa Theologica now of Thomas Aquinas in an attempt to better understand the doctrine of God. This can be read for free at newadvent.org. After all, if we are to truly worship God and live out his teachings for a lost and dying world, we need to know who he is. We’ve been studying the will of God and tonight we’re going to look at the question of if God has free-will.

This is a really short question, but I do hope to expand it some. I also desire to bring in some personal application for us. The first objection to the idea that God has free-will is that God does not have free choice because according to Jerome, who was the church father who translated the Bible into the Latin Vulgate, God cannot sin.

Aquinas answers that this is not an objection against free will in the absolute sense. It only means that God is not free to sin. This is not a deficiency on the part of God. It is like the question of which general in a war is the deficient one? Is it the one who wins every battle and cannot lose or the one who can lose a battle? To answer this question, just choose which one you want to go out fighting your battles for you and which one you want to put your trust in.

This also applies to us. When we get to Heaven, we will not be able to sin because upon seeing God, our wills will be moved towards him and we cannot move away from his utter goodness and perfection. Freedom is not an end but a means and it will have met its means, that we will always be doing the good.

The second objection tells us that freedom is a matter of the reason and the will. However, God cannot will evil. Thus, he could only will the good. Since it is only the good that he is capable of willing, then it would seem to be that God does not have free will.

However, while God cannot will evil, God can will to choose between two opposites where neither one is evil. For instance, I can choose to stand up now or stay seated. Neither one is evil. Either choice can be made and neither choice will involve sin.

The ultimate reason for why this is the case however is that God must only will one thing necessarily and that is his own goodness. God cannot be bound by anything external to him as if he has to will that thing. God did not have to will our creation, but it was because of his love and his grace that he chose to bring this about. God did this freely. It is our privilege that we can truly turn in freedom and praise the Father above who gives us every good and gracious gift.

I hope this look at God’s freedom has been helpful. If you do support the work that is being done here, I invite your prayers for me in my own walk and if you wish to support financially, that’s welcome as well. Our ministry will be expanding soon and I look forward to sharing that when it happens.

We shall continue tomorrow.

Does God Will Evil?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I hope last night cleared up the issue I wrote for and I do hope my readers understood it. It’s a difficult topic to explain and I certainly won’t claim to have full knowledge of it yet. I see through a glass darkly. Tonight, we’re going to continue looking at the will of God in the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas. That can be read at newadvent.org for free and I hope that many of you who might be being introduced to Thomas for the first time are really enjoying his knowledge and seeing how he dealt so well with questions we are asking today.

Aquinas says that in no way can God will evil because the good relates to the appetite and a good appetite always seeks the good. A wise man is one who in no way would help someone be worse. If that is the case, how much more would God, in an a fortiori sense, not help someone else be worse seeing as he is not just wise, but wisdom, and not just good, but goodness?

Aquinas does say that God might allow some evils to happen accidentally. The example is given of a lion who kills its prey. What the lion really seeks is the food that he desires. What he does not seek is simply the death of the gazelle simply to kill the gazelle.

In the sense of ethics, Aquinas tells us that no one seeks evil for the sake of evil. They seek it for something else. The man who seeks an adulterous affair does not seek it for the sake of adultery. He seeks it for the sake of pleasure perhaps from secrecy or the idea that he could get caught at any moment.

C.S. Lewis once spoke of a man who is a sex addict and how someone will say of him that he needs a woman and Lewis says that a woman is the last thing he needs. He is seeking instead pleasure and a female body is the apparatus by which he intends to get that pleasure. If he met a woman, he would not know what to do with her.

God then does not seek out evil. he does bring about punishment as a natural order of things and that is in the willing of justice, which is a good. He does will some things to be corrupted, but this is willed in the ordering of the preservation of nature as a whole. In willing the good of human freedom, he also willed that there would be a possibility of evil, but we are the ones who have actualized that possibility.

In conclusion, God being goodness wills the good of all things. We Christians should take heart in that. Whatever is going on in our lives, God is willing our good. He is seeking that which is best for us and what we need to do is submit to the hand of the potter and allow him to operate.

That’s it for tonight and remember dear readers that I do always seek your support be it prayerfully or financially.

We shall continue tomorrow.

Does God Change His Mind?

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters as we continue our dive into the ocean of truth. I’d like to take the time to respond to a question that came in on the wall. I don’t often do this. This blog is just one aspect of ministry after all and I’d really like to see interaction with those who post on here amongst themselves someday, but that is in the future when this expands. The question was asked by Jwarrend on my stance on God changing his mind. After all, it seems pretty clear from Scripture that he does change his mind doesn’t it?

Well, not so fast.

In Numbers for instance, we find that Balaam implores of God as to whether he should go with the men of Balak to curse Israel. Eventually, God lets him go, but the incident with the donkey shows he isn’t exactly pleased with this. It is later on that Balaam aware of what happened anyway says the following in 23:19.

God is not a man, that he should lie,
nor a son of man, that he should change his mind.
Does he speak and then not act?
Does he promise and not fulfill?

Let’s go to another example. What about 1 Samuel 15? In describing the conquest of the Amalekites, we find the following:

“I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the LORD all that night.

Yet what do verses 28 and 29 have to say about this?

Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you. 29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind.”

Here’s the point I want you readers to see. The clash is intended! How do we know what to take as literal however and what to take as metaphorical? What’s going on in these passages? Has God changed his mind or not?

An analogy of this would be to see numerous passages that describe a body of God. They speak of his hands and his eyes and his arm and his ears and several other body parts. However, when we read those, we know that those are not literal descriptions. God is not physical as is shown all throughout Scripture due to him being spirit.

However, he is described in this way because this is the way we understand things. When we hear about the eyes of the Lord going throughout the land, we understand it to mean that God is searching. When we hear about the arm of the Lord, we understand it to mean his power. We understand visions are meant to capture his glory. He does not have a body as described in visions, but that body is meant to show his grandeur for us.

I take the descriptions of God changing his mind to be the same way. God does not literally change his mind, but he describes it in that way so we can understand him. We know what it’s like to grieve over something. I do not believe God is literally doing this, but he is acting like one who is grieved.

Jwarrend also gave an analogy to use of his changing his relation to God. I thought this was an excellent one and I’ll just put it here.

“My solution to this question is to posit that God, rather than being atemporal, is in fact omni-temporal — He is dynamically involved in all moments of time simultaneously. So when God says, in year X, “I will not bless Jeff with my favor, because He is not a believer”, that can be true, and when He says in year Y (Y>X) “Jeff WILL receive my favor because now he IS a believer”, that’s also true, and there’s no incompatibility. Because my status changed in God’s eyes, God’s will towards me changed as well. But God’s goodness — His desire that I become a believer, His arrangement of circumstances in my life to bring about my belief, His offer of salvation extended to me as a free gift — were always constant, because His nature is constant.”

I find this to be an excellent description. God does not change in relation to us. We change in relation to him. The same fire that melts wax also hardens clay. This has also been a view of the after-death. The love of God that believers experience as joyful and bliss are, to those who want nothing to do with God, experienced as wrath and judgment.

Thus, I do agree. God’s will never did change. It is we who are changing in relation to the changeless God.

So thanks for the question and dear readers, if you support what is going on here, remember that I look for help from people like you. I welcome your donations but if you cannot do that, I appreciate your prayers.

We shall continue tomorrow.