1 John 4:8 says, “God is love.” However simple those three words (four in Greek), the idea behind them is so deep, so profound, that we can barely grasp their implications. They don’t say that God loves, or that God reveals love, or that God is a manifestation of love but that God is love. Is love — as if love is the essence of God’s identity Himself. As fallen human beings, with only a few pounds of tissue and chemicals in our heads with which to grasp reality, we just aren’t able to fully comprehend what “God is love” fully means.
But we can, certainly, understand enough to know that it’s very good news. If, instead of “God is love,” it said “God is hate” or “God is vindictive” or “God is indifferent,” this revelation about Him could have been something to worry about.
And the truth that “God is love” helps us better understand the idea that God’s government, how He rules all the creation, is reflective of that love. Love permeates the cosmos, perhaps even more than gravity does. God loves us; and we, too, are to love God back, in return (see Deuteronomy 6:5, Mark 12:30).
Love, though, to be love, must be freely given. God cannot force love; the moment He does it’s no longer love. Hence, when God created intelligent and rational beings in heaven and on earth with the ability to love, the risk always existed that they might not love Him back. Some didn’t — and, hence, the origins of what we know as the great controversy.
Why do the following texts make sense only in the context of the freedom, and the risk, involved with love? (Isaiah 14:12-14, Ezekiel 28:12-17, Revelation 12:7).
Especially insightful is Ezekiel 28:15, which shows that though this angel, Lucifer, was a perfect being created by a perfect God, iniquity was found in him. It was not because He had been created with that iniquity to begin with. Instead, created with the ability to love, Lucifer had true moral freedom, and despite all that he had been given (“Every precious stone was your covering”), this angel wanted more. One thing led to another until, well, there was “war in heaven.”
|In some places you can buy robot dogs, which will obey your commands, never soil the carpet, or chew the furniture. Would you, however, have any kind of meaningful relationship with this “dog”? How does your answer help in understanding why God wanted beings who could, truly, love Him back?|