Pain...in three parts: part 2

This is the second of a three-part series in which we've been laying out a framework for understanding life's difficulties both in terms God’s will and the choices we make. This understanding is based upon three premises:

  1. There must be a God who is perfect.

  2. Because God is perfect, he didn't/doesn't need us, and His act of creation, including creating us, demonstrates His love for us.

  3. Pain and difficulty are both God's gift, and the result of man's choice. They are a reminder that although we live in a broken world that can trace it's brokenness to our rejection of God’s plan for us, His love is revealed to us through an existence where our decisions and actions proceed from free will, the consequences of which allow us to experience the opportunity for His reconciliation and grace.

Part 2: CREATION DEMONSTRATES A PERFECT GOD'S LOVE

IF GOD IS PERFECT, WE ARE NOT NECESSARY

At the conclusion of Part 1, I posited that logic and experience dictates there must be a thing or person at the top of the hierarchy of beautiful and desirable things which our human nature compels us to seek; a most beautiful and most desirable form that exists for its own sake. I call that perfect form God.


Perfect means 'flawless or faultless, without practical or theoretical improvement.' Being flawless means having no shortfalls. Faultless means having no mistakes. Without improvement means being in need of, or want of, nothing; being fully complete; finished. Fully complete means God is lacking nothing. It also means He doesn't change. He doesn't need to become anything, so growing and decaying, progress and decline, simply don't apply to him.


Growing is a process of becoming more fully complete, which is unnecessary for God. Already being "fully complete" means there's no more that God needs. Some things, in the process of growing, become more fully the thing they began as; for example, an apple that grew from a tree and eventually becomes one. For other things, growing means becoming an entirely different thing; for example an immobile egg that changes into a crawling larva (caterpillar) that becomes flying adult butterfly. These types of change also don't apply to God, who, already being perfect, has no need to become something other than what, or who, He is.


Perfect things don't decay. Decay is the process of changing from a superior to an inferior condition; declining in excellence. Logic and the laws of science preclude a thing from being perfect and simultaneously less than perfect. Things cannot be both superior and at the same time moving toward inferiority, or fully complete while becoming less than fully complete. Being perfect, God isn't coming or going, increasing or decreasing; he just is.


Lacking nothing means not only the absence of need, it also means everything else that exists provides no supplementary value to God. Things other than God do not make Him better, bigger, or happier; none of that is even possible for a being "without practical or theoretical improvement." Of course, that pile of "everything else" which brings God no additional value includes us humans and our world.


THEN WHY CREATE US?

So, if God didn't/doesn't need us and creating us brings God no additional value, then why would God put forth the effort to create us and our world? Two reasons: love and perfection.


A perfect God is the only being that can manifest the perfect embodiment of love, which came to us in the form of creation purely for our sake, rather than for God's. God created us, as he did all things: to pursue perfection in our being; to become the best we can possibly be. That is, to live the way God made us to be, in loving kinship with Him. In His act of selfless creation, God both performed the perfect act of love and invited us to learn what love means by imitating His example.


The highest form of love is practiced under two principles: first, when it is showered freely upon the object of that love without any expectation of a return and second when it is received in all its fullness and returned in equal measure. In His infinite wisdom, God created love as a tool for perfecting his creation. God knew that simply receiving His love for us would not be enough to enable us to pursue and achieve perfect love. He knew we would also need to observe how love should be practiced. So, he created love, the noun, but he also created love, the verb. He created perfect love as both a thing to be given and received, and an act that must be performed in order for it to be begotten.


He did so knowing that should we develop the capacity to demonstrate such love, we would be exemplifying the superlative of what a human can be. Think of it as "humanity school." Learning to become the best human means demonstrating the type of perfect love God showed us, albeit limited in capacity because of our sinful nature.


Man was created in God’s image and likeness: ▪ Man has and intellect that enables him to know and reason. ▪ Man has a will that enables him to decide, choose, and love. Man was given the ability to respond to God's love or reject it. In the beginning man enjoyed full fellowship with God, but soon rejected Him, bringing the ruination of all creation.


When God chose to create us, despite knowing our humanity will keep us from achieving perfection, despite knowing that we will be forever prioritizing things higher than Him, He demonstrated what love truly is. In other words, God purposely chose to shower His grace on those who don't deserve it, even though it will deliver Him no value. This demonstration of God's love, grace and mercy stands without parallel as both a blessing and an example to us.


unrequited vs. reciprocal: What God also knew, is that only requited love is truly perfect. requires not only the giver to give, but the receiver to receive. Because being the object of someone's love But for that in His love He desired reciprocal love, not for his sake, but for ours. Even though God does not need us, He is still intensely interested in our wellbeing. He deeply and tenderly loves us—not because He has to (out of need), but because He chooses to (out of love). There is no question that our seeking and discovering God and his His love makes us better people.


a God who so loves mankind whom He created that He gives them a beautiful paradise to live in, gives them authority over creation, grants them freedom (setting them only one restriction) and most importantly of all spends time with them, communing regularly with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. God created us in His likeness because God wanted communion with man, fellowship with man. In other words God created man first and foremost to have a relationship with Him.


THIS WORLD IS NOT AN ACCIDENT OF CHANCE


ABSOLUTE GOODNESS

We return to our discussion about goodness from Part 1.

that must include beauty, which is goodness for its own sake. In a sense,


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