December 6, 2007

Nothing Like Some Good Conversation

So I had the opportunity to visit with one of my college students tonight and we ended up having a great conversation. We talked about everything from love, faith, the ways in which God does or doesn't interact with creation, freewill and a little more. A couple highlights that I left the conversation still pondering:

  • If God is Love, is it possible for someone to give or experience love and not know God? This is one I've been wrestling with for a couple years now and am not sure I'm closer to any sort of conclusion. The best I've come up with so far is that maybe we can know or experience love in part but never fully without knowing God...
  • Is it possible that we attribute things to God that He didn't do or don't give Him credit for the things He does do? Whether it's a tsunami, the death of a friend or loved one, that promotion at work, the joy experienced in a relationship, sickness, poverty, etc etc
  • Discerning God's voice in your life isn't easy but it sure helps when you have people you respect and trust in your life.
Those were just a few of the things we talked about at length. I must admit that I find conversations like this not only fun but challenging and meaningful. If you have thoughts on these or any other topics you want to share, don't hesitate to throw your $0.02 in.


Anonymous said...

Okay, this comment, which is probably going to turn out more like a question, relates to bullet point #1. This is a question I've heard argued a MILLION times, and I'm not sure we really need to come to a clear conclusion about it. I mean, first of all, how is "knowing God" being defined? In my life, the friends who I've experienced the most love from have been my "non-Christian" friends. So, I think it's crap to say that you have to be a Christian to know God (and thus to "experience" love). The Bible says that God is Love, but it also says that he created everything (and in his image, at that). So, if we're accepting those two things as truth, then couldn't it be possible that when he gave people life, he gave them the capacity to love as well? I think it's a little high-and-mighty of Christians to say that only Christians can know or "experience" love. And I know this post isn't saying that, but I think that's something that happens a little too often...and I wish it didn't.

Matt said...

first, thanks for reading and i hope you found it to be somewhat interesting.

second, thanks for being willing to share some of your thoughts. i always appreciate and enjoy comments.

now some thoughts in response...
1) i would agree that a clear conclusion is not only unnecessary but impossible because we will never come to a clear conclusion of God.
2) good question about the "knowing God" thing. i guess what i was trying to say was something along the lines of "having an intentional relationship with God that impacts the individual's day to day lifestyle".
3) i guess my return question would be, is it possible to know the God of Jesus and not be a Christian?
4) the Bible does say that God is Love and it also says that He created mankind in His image (not everything) but i'm not sure it's fair to assume that all of God's attributes are ours as well. so if God is Love, Peace, Justice, Sinless, etc does that mean you and i are too? i agree more with your thought that God gave us the ability to love, what we do with that is a whole other matter i guess.
5) it's sad how often Christians can act "high-and-mighty" and i, like you wish it didn't happen.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response.

In response to your #3, I'm not sure how I feel about that one. I mean, I'd like to think it's all the same God (but I obviously don't have any concrete proof to back that up); I just think that's how it should be. Maybe that's idealistic or overly optimistic, but that's how I feel.

As for #4, I think my first comment was a little too vague. By everything, I meant people, since that's what we're focusing on here. And I don't think that God simply cloned himself when he created humankind in his image, because obviously we aren't omniscient or omnipotent...and we're definitely not sinless or always just or always peaceful. But we're also not always loving. So, I guess what I'm saying is that I think everyone has the capacity for love and some tend to express it more than others. Humans are never going to be omniscient, omnipotent, or sinless, but we do have the capacity to express peace, love, and justice. While some Christians might claim they are always loving, I'm not sure this is really possible because we're all flawed and none of us is perfect. And, looking at your last sentence of #4, it looks like we might be on the same page as far as that goes?

All right, that's all I have. I hope I answered your questions.

morgan j w said...

Hi Matt! I'm reading your blog. This semester in one of my classes I was really challenged to think about to what extent God is involved in our lives. We talked about him having primordial will, things that are set in stone and consequent will, things he does in response to other wills. I don't know why things happen the way they do, but I know we can rest assured that God never wills evil for anyone. Thanks for you wisdom about discernment too. This is something I worry about too much! You're right on.

One more thing... I just love over the rhine :)