Written by Rev J Duckworth from a suggestion by Rev D Moffat
Let’s start out then with the basic idea of God, so far as we can know about God…
The best way to think of God is to say that God is. This sort of says it all and it takes us away from ideas about space and time which can become a real problem when we think about God.
God is … is everywhere, all the time, completely.
Yes, but what is God? The best way to think about that is to say that God is being. Try to understand this. God is not a being! We are beings, because we’ve been made. God isn’t, because that would put him somewhere, which is impossible.
But God is not simply an idea. He isn’t abstract. He is incredibly real. We can say that God is personal because he is and has perfect love. Notice that it is perfect love. We love, but our love is always less than perfect. God’s infinite love wants everything to be well and be as it should be.
Now we must mention something else, that God is infinite wisdom. This means he always knows how to direct his infinite love and he will always do so perfectly. God is everywhere and God knows everything. We cannot ever be apart from God’s love and wisdom.
The last thing we need to include is that God’s infinite love and wisdom is always towards everything being useful. In a way, that is all that God is about, in the sense that everything created is there to be an integral part of existence. And of course that includes each of us in it.
Now we will look at the area of human nature and what we can say we are like, realising we are created by God and yet we feel that our life is our own.
A really important word with this topic is ‘tendencies’ – important because it means we are likely to get things wrong, or likely to act selfishly, not bound to do so just because we are human. This will help us a lot, and it also helps us to think about whether human nature makes us ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or ‘both good and bad’ or ‘neither good nor bad’. And remember we are thinking about human nature in general, not what so-and-so is like or does but what we are all generally like.
The starting-point has to be with love. Love is our life’s energy, but what we love may differ or it may change over time. But we must (by nature) love something. Because it seems to us that our life is ours, we tend (note the word) to love ourselves most of all to begin with. The goal is for that to change more towards loving other people and loving the Lord. How that can happen is for another time.
Another important part of human nature is that we can think things over. We call this being rational. It dovetails with our free will which means that we can choose and determine things for ourselves. Hopefully both reasoning and free will together are pointing in the same direction of wanting to love more than just us.
Lastly – and very neatly – is the idea that we make these choices as if we’re making them ourselves but learning more and more that our wish to reach out to others or to do what is good and right is something that comes to us from the Lord. But even so, the Lord still lets us feel it’s all our doing because he loves us.