"The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, 'For we also are His children.'
"Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead." Acts 17:24-31
Several days ago I participated in a discussion with a good blogging friend, and the issue of “need”, and whether God has any came up, and stayed visible throughout the conversation.
Let me state first that I do not believe God has any need; yet I must also then explain that when I talk about God having need, I do so because I am trying to explain what I perceive in a way that I, and people can understand.
So…does God have need?
I included the above sentences from the book of the Acts of the Apostles to show where most people get the idea that God has no need. If you would look at this one section of your bible, you might be forced to state definitively that God certainly then has no need whatsoever.
I would agree with that.
But let’s look at things in a different light, shall we? If we can get to the understanding that God doesn’t “need” anything from us, maybe we can begin to see a little further into God’s love for us, because I am of the opinion that as easily as one can say love has no need, I can say love is full of need.
I think there is trouble with our view of what Jesus came to do. Most focus almost entirely on the cross, and to me, if I had to pick what Jesus came to do, I would have to say He came to rise from the dead. Dying is no special feat, everyone does it. But no man can rise from the dead, save Jesus. So we can focus on His death as the pinnacle of His earthly mission, but I think His resurrection is the reason He came. To do what every man before Him had done would not have required God in the flesh. But to do what no man had ever, or could ever do without Him required God in the flesh.
Does God have need?
Not if you look at “need” from a merely human perspective. What could God possibly need from us? But if you look at the resurrection, do you see need then? I do.
I don’t see God’s need, however. I see our need, yet when I look at the resurrection, I don’t see a normal man being able to fulfill our need; I don’t see any man ever having fulfilled it. When I look at the resurrection, I see God fulfilling our need.
But is that need our need, or is it God’s?
I think I can safely say that God MADE it His own need. I think I can safely conclude that God came not to fulfill His own need, except that need of ours which He took upon Himself as His very own need. If it wasn’t a need He took upon Himself as His own, then sending any man would have done the trick. But scripture shows us time and again that God knew it would be Himself He would send, not just some ordinary man. He would not trust this mission to any of us, even though the need was ours.
So the question isn’t whether God has need, because our need became His need by His choice, so if we have need, is it not safe to say that our need is God’s need, by His choice?
The discussion I joined in ventured into God’s wrath, and I was asked, “What ‘need’ does God have of wrath?” Truly, if all I did was to focus on the cross, and to claim that everything was finished at the cross, I would have to admit that God has no need of wrath. But the lie of the statement “everything was fulfilled on the cross” is proven rapidly when Jesus rose from the dead. For I can ask the same question. “What ‘need’ does God have to rise from the dead, especially if EVERYTHING was accomplished on the cross?”
The issue of God’s need for wrath is too deep to go into today, but I think I will continue this thread the next time I post. Truly, I don’t think God REALLY has any need of wrath, but if you consider that we have needs, and if we consider that God takes our needs upon Himself, who can say that God would then have no need of wrath or justice?
Paul tells us to leave room for God’s wrath; what “need” have we to do that if there is no wrath? Personally, I hate God’s wrath. I hope everyone avoids it. But to me, a God who takes our need upon Himself and dies only to rise again, because that’s what we needed, is also a God who will not shy away from protecting those who are defenseless, against those who would hurt them. That’s a need, and for many, it’s our need. What’s to prevent God from taking that need upon Himself time and time again? Yet what form would that defense take?
Is that “defense” Jesus nailed to a cross? Maybe.
Or is it something far more immediate?
To me, to believe that God no longer gets angry over things seems like a very uncaring, distant God. If I hurt, I want Him to FEEL something. What would He feel if He didn’t feel anger? Maybe pity? Sorry…I don’t want pity. Love? Nah, too undefinable and my point of view is that love includes anger sometimes. I want it to be vivid, descriptive, ALIVE!
If someone hurts my daughter, I feel her pain. If someone hurts my daughter intentionally, not only do I feel her pain, but I also feel anger toward the person who hurt her. I can forgive that person, but I will never leave my daughter unprotected around them again, and that means I will do WHATEVER is necessary to protect her, even if that means the person who hurt her gets hurt by me so that my daughter can be protected.
If God is different than that, then NONE of us was created in His image. But that's just my point of view at this time in my life.