“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Trinity: Love and Joy in the Being of God

Understanding the Trinity helps us to see how “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Even before the creation of the world, there was love within the community of the Trinity, inherent to the very being of God. If God were not Triune, but instead simply a “one-person being” as we are, perhaps one could still say that it was in his nature to love. But it could not be said that the very act of love was part of God, as it in fact is in the community of the Trinity. Before the foundation of the world, before any created thing existed, the Father and the Son loved and delighted in one another (John 17:24).

Not only is love inherent to God, but joy also. In his remarkable book The Pleasures of God, John Piper works through the Scriptures and identifies the things that are said to bring pleasure to God. First and foremost is the wondrous fact of the Father’s delight in his Son, a theme that comes across again and again in Scripture (Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 3:16-17, 12:18-20, 17:6). The Father delights in and rejoices in his beloved Son! Piper writes:

“Who can look upon the sun shining in full strength? The answer is that God can. The radiance of the Son’s face shines first and foremost for the enjoyment of his Father. ‘This is the Son whom I love; he is my pleasure. You must fall on your face and turn away, but I behold my Son in his radiance every day with love and never-fading joy’…The original, the primal, the deepest, the foundational joy of God is the joy he has in his own perfections as he sees them reflected in the glory of his Son…There is only one fountain of lasting joy – overflowing gladness of God in God. Without beginning and without ending, without source and without cause” (The Pleasures of God 28, 42, 45).
Overflowing from the love and joy within the Trinity came creation (John 1:3, 1 Corinthians 8:6, Colossians 1:16, Hebrews 1:2). Piper writes of the Son “rejoicing with the Father in the work of making a million worlds” (The Pleasures of God p. 31). From God, the ultimate Reality, came created reality, different from God and something other than God, but imbued with his power and wisdom – and filled with beings capable of love and joy, beings like God himself. Together the Father and Son, in the love of the Spirit, sang creation into existence, and “the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7).

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