After explaining why God is not angry last week, Steve dives even deeper into what it means for us that God doesn’t just love, but that God is love.
Steve looks at some of the apparent contradictions to God being love: if God is love, how does he hurt when people turn against him or when bad things happen in the world? This, Steve argues, is another example of how we have become lost in translation.
Reflecting on conversations he’s had with scholars, such as Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Steve argues that the word in Hebrew that has been translated into “wrath” and “anger” actually more closely resembles ”anguish.” This distinction is important because “anguish” comes from a place of love, whereas “wrath” and “anger” tend to originate in vengeance. As Steve puts it, “If God is love, then every action and reaction dealing with humanity flows out of love.”
For example, when we think of what makes a good parent it’s not someone who disciplines their child to seek revenge or for personal retribution. Steve reflects on how, “Love drives parents to serve their children devotedly and unselfishly, to look over and forgive shortcomings, often without any apology, let alone thanks.” In the same way, God’s anguish is a testament to how intrinsic love is to who he is.
So what do you think? If God is love and Jesus favourite description of him was as a father, do you think that Rabbi Jonathan Sacks definition of God’s response to our self-centeredness and rebellion as anguish rather than wrath makes sense or ducks the issue?