This is where I don't read the bible literaly. I don't believe that any meaningful love can be based on fear, nor do I believe that the most wise being in the universe would want EVERYONE on earth to fear him.
I totally agree with you that, it seems to me illogical for anyone with a measure of self-worth (that, I think, is given by God) would want to be a simpering weakling before God; nor do I think that is what God requires, or desires. Here is what Jesus said:
John 15: 9-17
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other.
To me, this indicates pretty darn clearly that what Jesus (and therefore, through Jesus' obedience, God the Father) wants from/with us is a relationship - a sort of mutuality that is, of course, a mystery, as it cannot look like a human-human friendship (since God is perfect and we are not). But, God fills up our imperfections with God's grace. And I, for one, am in AWE of that - for me fear means awe, not dread and horror as it may seem others suggest.
Some other verses on God's approachability, and the CONFIDENCE with with we can approach:
The wicked man flees though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,
So we say with confidence,
"The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?"
And to call ourselves nothing is to insult God's handiwork, and to insult the work of Christ. All that for nothing? I don't think so.
|..His awesome power and our nothingness in relation to it.|
I am speaking of His power.
That is why we owe Him 'fear' (i.e. reverential awe).
We have NO power in relation to God. Our power in relation to His is zip, zero, nada - nothing.
I never said we are nothing.
why does fear get such a bad rap? It isn't the kind of fear you get from uncertainty or evil. It is the kid you get when you see how huge and mighty and powerful something/someone is and realize that your very existence is dependent on them. Even if you can approach Him with confidence in his great mercy you should still know you place. and even though we were made in His image we have not returned to that yet. Until we are walking side by side with Him we will not be back to what he created us to be. Adam and Eve walked with God. Moses, as rockin' as he was, had to be hid in a rock and covered by Gods hand when His Glory passed by so that he wouldn't be vaporized on the spot. Christ came as fully God but also fully human which made us capable of looking upon him face to face.
In the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, C S Lewis when speaking of Aslan says "make no mistake about it, He is good but he is not safe" I htink this ia very profound truth that Christians tend to overlook. he is good and just and merciful but he is also still God.
The truest answer to violence is love. The truest answer to death is life. The only prevention for violence is for the heart to have no violence within it. We cannot prevent evil through any system devised by mankind. But we can grapple with evil and defeat it, but only with love—real love.
Raising Alice in Wonderland (DSD, 17), and in love with a Superman
While it is true that we exist only because of God's love for us and nothing else (as He loves His creation) I think it is sort of a misnomer to say God's love is unconditional, when the more accurate term is to say God's love is infinite.
God's love has all kinds of 'conditions,' if you will. There are all sorts of things that He asks us to do if we love Him. He expects us to show our love for Him and He expects us to stay free from sin, so I would think of that as a 'condition.' But, He still loves us infinitely, even when we have hardened our hearts and turned away from Him and He still gives us graces to return to Him.
But, He is a jealous God, BTW, as he says in scripture.
Oh, I also wanted to add that the act of worship I don't see as a 'bowing down' in a derogatory manner. You're not being forced down - it's something you do out of humility. It should humble one, I think, to realize the power God has over His creation. What is that axiom (or maybe it's a scripture passage?) "...fear of the Lord is the start of wisdom..." or something like that.
FWIW, He also says that at Christ's Second Coming during the General Judgment, every knee shall bow to him - those in Heaven, those on earth, and those in Hell (including the devil and his demons and the condemned) - everyone. There will be no exceptions - all will recognize Him and worship Him as God at the end of days.
I wanted to say that I have no problem with feeling reverence and awe in relation to God's wisdom and power. I have an issue with the implication that it's demanded by a jealous, proud God. That's the part that I reject. I understand perfectly all the loving parts.
In the end, for me, belief in God, and in particular in the Christian picture of God that I subscribe to, has been a matter of choice. I don't believe in my head because I just am not put together that way for whatever reason. But I believe in my heart because there's just something that pulls on me. It's been a conscious choice, a discipline, and a matter of constant study and reflection. Hence my somewhat overly enthusiastic entry into this discussion. I'm pretty much this guy: "I do believe; help my unbelief."
You might be interested to read about Universal Reconciliation ... as others have said, Christians almost all agree that people can't earn salvation. So, here's another take on it that may not be orthodox but is certainly as based in the Bible as what is taken as "obvious" today by most Christians who believe that the Nicene Creed is the word of God, somehow. Even if they've never heard of it.
Also check out Matthew Fox, a former Catholic priest, now Episcopalian. He teaches a focus on "original blessing" rather than focusing on the doctrine of "original sin." It's pretty much why he can't be Catholic anymore, and is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read. He also writes about deep ecumenism and universal reconciliation, rather than division.
If you read some of the writings of the mystic Catholic monks and nuns you will find a lot of beauty and ... I believe... truth in them, within the Christian framework.
"When I'm sad, I stop being sad and be AWESOME instead."
For the OP:
You might be interested to read about Universal Reconciliation
|So you believe the main thing was has to do is be Christian? That works don't matter if you're not Christian? I'm a bit confused, please explain.|
Not that works don't matter (they're important for the good functioning of our personal lives and society, and they are pleasing to God.), but that none of us can be perfect enough to stand before a perfect God on our own, no matter how many good works we do.
Point taken. I just don't think God is proud in the sense that we understand it. I think the jealousy is sort of like how a lover feels towards his/her beloved. I see it as more of a deep longing and craving for intimate relationship than psycho protectiveness. I can't explain it well, though, so I'll leave it at that.
That's actually a GREAT explanation!