Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A Gracious Cascade

To the question “What was God doing before He made heaven and earth?” Augustine answered humourously: “He was preparing hell,” saith he, “for those who pry into mysteries.” A witty response from one of the church's greatest theologians. However, the Bible does give us some indication of God's activity before creation. Michael Reeves, in Delighting in the Trinity, notes,
Jesus tells us explicitly in John 17:24. "Father," he says, "you loved me before the creation of the world." And that is the God revealed by Jesus Christ. Before he ever created, before he ever ruled the world, before anything else, this God was a Father loving his Son. (21)
Reeves builds on this idea moving to the idea that the overflow of the loving relationship between Father and Son "begins a gracious cascade, like a waterfall of love" (28) under which we are showered with the mercy of God. That is,
as the Father is the lover and the Son is the beloved, so Christ becomes the lover and the church the beloved. That means that Christ loves the church first and foremost: his love is not a response, given only when the church loves him; his love comes first, and we only love him because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). (28)
Reeves summarizes this section writing,
For eternity, the Father so loves the Son that he excites the Son's eternal love in response; Christ so loves the church that he excites our love in response ... Such is the spreading goodness that rolls out of the very being of this God. (29)

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