God's Emotion Towards Those Who Perish In Their Sins

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Reformed, Jun 29, 2014.

  1. Reformed

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    In another thread the question was raised as to whether God rejoices over the perishing of those who die outside of Christ. This logically calls into question divine emotivity, i.e. divine emotion. Does God experience emotions relative to human scale? If so, does God's emotions effect his actions, similar to how emotions effect human actions? Is emotive language simply anthropomorphic? In other words is emotive language in the bible used to convey God's mind or opinion on something? If God does experience emotion, is it unbridled emotion? One poster suggested that when the wicked perish, "it is a GLORIOUS reality to be CELEBRATED!!!" (direct quote).

    First and foremost, to ascribe to God motives and emotions without carefully studying the scriptures is dangerous and foolish. We are describing the infinite, most holy, all-wise, omnipotent, omniscient God. There is a reason why the Law detailed the ceremony and rules that governed entering into the holy of holies. It is true that once the temple veil was torn asunder it signified that entrance into the holy of holies was accomplished by Christ's death, and that all who trust in him have access to the Father through the Son. But does that mean we should have a cavalier and disrespectful attitude when we approach the Father in prayer or when we enter the assembly on the Lord's Day for worship?

    There is a principle established in scripture:

    Numbers 23:19 "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?"

    The principle is that God is unlike man. Isaiah writes:

    Isaiah 55:8, 9 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts."

    Secondly, if God is unlike man, and if his ways and thoughts are unlike ours, how could we possibly understand anything about him if he does not condescend to us in some fashion? Think about this for a moment. The all-knowing and most wise God, has chosen to reveal things about himself to his creation. His creation is not all-knowing, and is not wise at all (considering the first human man was willing to throw away eternal fellowship with God for his own lust). So, God chose prophets to reveal his will to a people he called into a special relationship with himself. In these last days he has revealed himself to his creation through his Son (Hebrews 1:1-4).

    What should our attitude be towards God, seeing as how he is so unlike us, yet he has chosen to reveal some of himself to his creation? Certainly nouns like respect, awe, contrite, and humble come to mind. We should take James' advice to heart when it comes to prioritizing our response to God:

    James 1:19, 20 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.

    Even a righteous man like Job knew his place:

    Job 40:4-5 Then Job answered the LORD and said, “Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth. Once I have spoken, and I will not answer; even twice, and I will add nothing more.”

    Should we not humble ourselves in the sight of God before we presume to write or speak about who he is and what he thinks? If a righteous man like Job knew when to keep quiet, might we not learn from his example?

    Thirdly, how does this apply to God's emotion towards those who perish in their sins? Based on how the bible presents God, there is not a one dimensional answer that will please everyone. God is not high-fiving the other members of the godhead whenever a sinner dies. The godhead is not a raucous body. But neither is God not content within himself when his glory is made manifest through the condemnation of evil-doers. The complex nature of our God is seen through the lens of the Son of God.

    2 Peter 3:8, 9 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

    Revelation 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

    A seeming dichotomy between these two passages, but one and the same God. On the one hand God expresses patience and forbearance towards humanity, giving them time to come to Christ. On the other hand he is justified and without regret when he judges the guilty. The gospels present the same complex God.

    Mark 9:42-48 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life crippled, than, having your two hands, to go into hell, into the unquenchable fire, [where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.] If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame, than, having your two feet, to be cast into hell, [where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED.] If your eye causes you to stumble, throw it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, than, having two eyes, to be cast into hell, where THEIR WORM DOES NOT DIE, AND THE FIRE IS NOT QUENCHED."

    Matthew 23:37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling."

    So, how do we respond similarly? What should be our emotive response to the death of the person who dies outside of Christ? We are less complex creatures than God in scale, but not in scope. There is grief over the death of a loved one who dies outside of Christ, whereas there is joy a midst the reality of death when a loved one dies in Christ. Whereas our human emotion can effect our judgment, God has no such frailty.

    This is not an exhaustive essay on the topic of divine emotivity. Time does not allow for that. What I hope to accomplish is to give us all pause when we attempt to describe God's motives and represent his feelings on a given topic; especially when we try to paint our theological opponents with a wide brush.
     
    #1 Reformed, Jun 29, 2014
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  2. Revmitchell

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    To suggest that God is not like man while ignoring that man was made in the image of God will lead to a misunderstanding of God and therefore a misrepresentation of God.
     
  3. Reformed

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    Rev, I appreciate your caution. Thank you.

    I do not ignore the fact that man was created in the image of God. As I alluded to in the next to last paragraph, it is a matter of scale and scope. Man was created in the moral likeness of God (which was corrupted upon Adam's sin); but man is also unlike God for reasons given in the OP.
     
  4. Revmitchell

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    So my question to you for clarification is "Do you believe that the likeness that man was made of God is limited to strictly morality?" Am I understanding that correctly of you?
     
  5. Reformed

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    Well, yes. God created Adam in his moral likeness; certainly not his physical likeness. But when I say "moral" I do not mean just the knowledge of right and wrong, like when we say someone has a moral character. Adam's God-given morality included not only the inherent knowledge of good and evil, but also a nature untainted by sin.

    I placed this thread in a non-Calvinist/Arminian debate forum on purpose because I do not want it to turn into that. But of course my view of man's moral likeness includes that likeness being corrupted by sin. Man no longer is born with a nature untainted by sin. Man still has an innate knowledge of good and evil (c.f. Romans 1), but it is insufficient to lead him to salvation. Man cannot repeat the unique freedom of choice that Adam possessed. I'll stop here lest someone jumps in and hijacks the thread to a place I don't want it go.
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    You seem to be indicating that man has emotions because he is frail and that God has no such emotions and further being created in the image of God does not include said emotions.

    Do I understand you correctly?
     
  7. Reformed

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    God created man to have emotions. Man's emotions are corrupt and cannot be trusted because of sin. That is where the frailty part comes in.

    Does God have emotions? Now that is a question, isn't it? If you think Calvinist vs. Arminian debates are full of fireworks, you should see some of the debates between those who believe in divine emotivity and those who don't! But to answer your question...

    Jesus displayed emotion. He wept. He lamented over Jerusalem. He vented righteous anger on the money changers in the temple. Since Jesus is God, then how else can I respond then to say, "yes" to the question? But just like God's thoughts are higher than our thoughts (c.f. Isaiah 55), so is the issue of emotion. When we were kids we may may have been jealous that our brother, sister, cousin, friend had something that we wanted. Our emotion led us to sinful desire to have something. The emotions that come from love probably overrode our good sense when we tried to win the hand of our spouse. Think of all the stupid things we do in the name of love. I believe scripture reveals God has been complete within himself. Any emotion expressed by God is simply that; an expression of his opinion or his nature towards a matter. To be sure we can express emotion that way too, but all too often our sin effects our emotion, whereas God has no such frailty.

    Sorry for the lengthy answer, but I have a difficult time being brief and succinct on this topic.
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    Gotchya :thumbsup:



    Actually this is all that needed to be said. Short, sweet, and succinct.
     
  9. convicted1

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    "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth."(Isa. 63:1-6)




    "Wherefore, as I live, saith the Lord God; Surely, because thou hast defiled my sanctuary with all thy detestable things, and with all thine abominations, therefore will I also diminish thee; neither shall mine eye spare, neither will I have any pity. A third part of thee shall die with the pestilence, and with famine shall they be consumed in the midst of thee: and a third part shall fall by the sword round about thee; and I will scatter a third part into all the winds, and I will draw out a sword after them. Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted: and they shall know that I the Lord have spoken it in my zeal, when I have accomplished my fury in them. Moreover I will make thee waste, and a reproach among the nations that are round about thee, in the sight of all that pass by. So it shall be a reproach and a taunt, an instruction and an astonishment unto the nations that are round about thee, when I shall execute judgments in thee in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I the Lord have spoken it. When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which shall be for their destruction, and which I will send to destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will break your staff of bread:7 So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee: and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the Lord have spoken it."(Ezek. 5:11-17)



    "The burden of Nineveh. The book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite. God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him."(Nahum 1:1-6)



    "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."(John 3:36)


    "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."(1 Thess. 5:1-3)



    Just a few verses that shows God's anger is going to be poured out, it's even over the wicked right now.
     
  10. Revmitchell

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    My question for you is why focus solely on God's anger?
     
  11. Reformed

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    I would like to add some further thought to the OP.

    God the Father is spirit. He is eternally existent. He has need of nothing to make him more complete than he already is. God the Son took on human flesh. Some theologians quibble as to whether the Son had bodily form before creation, but I believe the biblical record is clear that he took on permanent human form at his incarnation (Jesus may have taken on temporary human form during some Old Testament christophanies. See the reference at the end of this post from Tim Chaffey at Answers in Genesis*). Jesus is going to physically reign in the New Jerusalem for eternity, so we will always behold his visage. The emotions that the Son of God displayed during his incarnation is part of his humanity, but as God his emotions are a perfect expression of his being. They are not tainted by sin, nor do they influence his actions. Jesus cannot be carried away by his emotions like we are often tempted to do.

    The Father is a different study. The Father has never taken human form, ergo he has never expressed human emotion in the way we typically describe emotion. We read of his approval, happiness, anger, and wrath through the Old Testament biblical writers. But we would be in error if we attempted to equate God's anger with our anger. The two are not the same. Equally with God's happiness. When we are angry or happy we not only display an emotional response, we display a physiological response. Our heart rate and blood pressure may increase or our face redden. Fear (an emotion God cannot express because fear comes from uncertainty) causes similar physiological responses as anger or happiness, but it also may cause out palms to become clammy, our knees to grow weak, and even fainting. The Father is incapable of a physiological response to emotion as we know it. The Son did express a physiological response to emotion (c.f. Matthew 21, when Jesus drove out the money changers from the temple), but it was never sinful.

    Of course our emotional response to situation is so much different than either the Father or the Son. I genuinely grieve when someone close to me dies in their sins. This does not change my conviction that God is sovereign and He brought it to pass. Sorrow in this case is not a display of a lack of trust in God. As a created being I cannot see what God sees. Since God is omniscient and eternal, he sees the beginning, the present, and the future all at one time. To him everything has yet to happen, is happening, and is yet to happen. Therefore everything has its place. The impact of a human event playing out in time is received differently by God and man. If we remove the emotion over the death of those who die outside of Christ, we will see them as God sees them. Unbelievers are enemies of God, and the wrath of God abides on them (Rom. 1:18). Until their last breath they taste the goodness and mercy of God. They have food, water, air to breath, clothing, housing et. al. God is not under obligation to save any, so therefore he is under no obligation to make sure unbelievers hear the gospel. Still, while they are alive, unbelievers have the opportunity to hear the gospel. No one came call God unjust or unfair if they perish in their sins. Once they are on the other side of eternity all the common mercies they experienced during the life are gone and there remains nothing less than condemnation. If we look at it from that perspective we can rightly say that the unbeliever is justly punished and God is glorified in doing so. But we are not God. Judgment does not belong to us.


    *Christians generally agree that the above passages and many others that mention “the Angel of the Lord” are appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ (Christ before He came in the flesh)

    Let’s take a look at some of the characteristics of this “Angel” as given in the various passages.

    The “Angel” is referred to with masculine pronouns (Genesis 16:13; Judges 6:21).
    He is identified as God (Judges 6:11, (14); Zechariah 12:8).3
    He performed miracles (Judges 6:21; 13:20).
    Gideon and Manoah thought they would die because they saw the “Angel” face to face (Judges 6:22; 13:22).
    The “Angel” accurately foretold future events (Judges 13:3).
    His name is “wonderful” (Judges 13:18; cf., Isaiah 9:6).
    He destroyed 185,000 soldiers of the Assyrian army in one night (2 Kings 19:35).4
    While angels have occasionally performed some of these actions, such as miracles and prophecy, there are clear examples when “the Angel of the Lord” cannot be viewed as a normal angel. He is occasionally identified as God, accepted worship, and at least two people who saw Him thought they would die for seeing Him face to face. These same attributes and activities are clearly attributed to God elsewhere in Scripture.
     
  12. Winman

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    Nevertheless, scripture says the sinfulness of man "grieved him at his heart" speaking of God in Gen 6:6.

    Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
    6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.

    This word 'atsab means;

    1. to hurt, pain, grieve, displease, vex, wrest
    A. (Qal) to hurt, pain
    B. (Niphal) to be in pain, be pained, be grieved
    C. (Piel) to vex, torture
    D. (Hiphil) to cause pain
    E. (Hithpael) to feel grieved, be vexed

    According to this scripture, God feels pain.

    We are also told that the Holy Spirit who does not have a physical body can be grieved as well.

    Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

    This is the word lypeō and means;

    ..I. to make sorrowful
    .II. to affect with sadness, cause grief, to throw into sorrow
    III. to grieve, offend
    IV. to make one uneasy, cause him a scruple

    So, the Holy Spirit can feel sorrow, sadness, and grief despite not having a physical body.
     
  13. JonC

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    Personally, I would think it an affront to the glory of God to describe Him as incapable of grief. Theologically speaking, I understand the objection. But Scripturally…it’s nonsense.
     
  14. Reformed

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    In relation to divine emotivity, what is meant by grief? Grief is defined as a deep sorrow. How does God grieve? How does God process grief? If God grieves does his grief in any way effect his actions? Does God second guess himself when he grieves like we are wont to do? I'm begging the question on purpose (obviously). If God grieves it is completely unlike our grief. Our grief does effect what we do. I do not see evidence in the biblical record that any emotion God may have effects his actions.
     
  15. John of Japan

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    The poster that said such a thing is completely wrong and needs to study theology proper more deeply.

    Ezek. 18:23--"Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?"

    Eze 33:11--"Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"

    Enough said.
     
  16. convicted1

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    Because people continually say that "God is love", and that's true. But that's the only thing they want to harp on.


    The more I study, the more I see God's love focused upon those whom He chose from before the foundation of the world, and will do all things necessary to bring to back into the fold that Adam was driven out of. The others will have no love from Him, but only Hiss mercy in not casting them into hell at a moment's notice...
     
  17. convicted1

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    Not to derail this thread, but I was reading in Psalms the other day, and where David said on more than one occasion for God to "awake". Now, we know that God doesn't sleep, so why did David say for God to "awake"? I am using this to parallel what you said here. We grieve, and the bible states He grieves. But I don't think it's the same emotion of grief....get what I am trying to say?

    Taking things literally at times can cause a misinterpretation of what is actually being said....
     
  18. convicted1

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    Awake, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, cast us not off for ever.(Psa. 44:23)


    Thou therefore, O Lord God of hosts, the God of Israel, awake to visit all the heathen: be not merciful to any wicked transgressors. Selah.(Psa. 59:5)


    As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.(Psa. 73:20)


    Then the Lord awaked as one out of sleep, and like a mighty man that shouteth by reason of wine.(Psa. 78:64)
     
  19. Reformed

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    Agreed. David used anthropomorphic language (the attribution of a human characteristic to God). Does God sleep? Of course not. Jesus slept before his resurrection because he was fully human and fully God (hypostatic union). I can cite other instances of anthropomorphisms as when Jesus calls himself the Bread of Life or the Lamb of God. Jesus is not a loaf of bread or an actual lamb. Those terms where used to convey a meaning that would relate to man. But the study of scripture is not simple. Understanding what voice is being used, verb tense, anthropomorphisms et. al. allow us to better understand complex passages. It is my opinion that many theological disagreements would resolve themselves if there was a more thorough approach to bible study.
     
  20. Aaron

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    Was there any mourning over Judas?
     

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