Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Does God love the Devil?

Thanks to Dawn for this question, which I certainly hadn't thought about until she asked...

I think the key to answering this is to extrapolate from God's relationship to non-elect humans, since Satan is a non-elect angel. [Some of the stuff I'm going to say has already been said on this blog by
Matthew in the comments here. Marc's question there still hasn't been answered, so any further thoughts welcome!]

God loves everyone, so must love all non-elect humans (1Tim 2:4, Matt 23:37 cf Lk 19:41-44). In Reformed thought this has been understood as loving them because he created them. He does, of course, also hate them because they reject his son.

If we then extrapolate this to Satan, who has had much greater revelation and thus has correspondingly greater understanding than any human, we might understand that God loves Satan as a created being, yet hates him with a burning, white-hot, righteous passion since Satan celebrates everything God hates and is opposed to everything God loves and embodies.

The presumption behind this is extrapolation from God's relations to humans. I can't right now think of a verse or passage to justify that. I don't know a huge amount of relevant information about angels except that they are sentient (though non-human) beings. If I'm wrong here I trust that someone will tell me.

In my own defence, however, Mike Ovey seemed pretty convinced by this gambit when I ran it past him yesterday.

Thoughts, anyone?

Further questions, Dawn?

6 Comments:

Blogger matthew said...

Obviously, I agree :-)

I'd not seen Marc's question in the previous post's comments. I've attempted a reply.

9:18 am, August 15, 2006  
Blogger Celal Birader said...

Hello Andrew... This idea that God loves because He created them is an interesting thought. Does this "love" somehow imply that God has something "invested" in his creatures through the act of mere creation ?

12:31 pm, August 16, 2006  
Blogger Andrew said...

Hi Celal, good to hear from you.

A few thoughts:

First, we certainly do know that God loves everything he has created - he has compassion on all that he has made, for example (Ps 103).

Secondly, what might the alternatives be to such an investment? With humans, presumably our bearing his image, however poorly, might have something to do with it. What do we understand by the current frustration of creation, such that it is longing for the return of Christ as much as we are? Could the love be proprietry love rather than 'I've invested in you' love?

Thirdly, does it help to remember that the whole of creation reveals God to us? I'm thinking particularly of Part I of Jordan's 'Through New Eyes', especially Ch 2.

Fourthly, if we go with God investing something in creation, the issue might be: something of what? If of himself, what a) has that done to him, his immutability, etc [I've not yet done Doctrine of God, so am a bit at sea here] b) does that do to him as & when such investments are spurned, marred, even damned in eternity.

Fifthly, I'm just now a little unsure where to go from here. Some of God's image bearers do get damned in eternity... I think we can't go with God investing in creation, for the above reasons. God neither created out of any sense of lack, nor changed in the act of creation.

So I (tentatively) go with proprietal love for the whole of creation, concern for it as revelation of himself. And, of course, love is intrinsic to God.

Not sure if that helps at all. Get back to me with thoughts. Hopefully Matthew or Ros or some other nice person might clarify things a bit...

1:36 pm, August 16, 2006  
Blogger Mandy said...

Dr Gerald Bray touched on these issues (tangentially) in the AMCL's summaries of his lectures can be found
here


I think we need to remember that all humanity is in a relationship with God, for he is their creator. Those who are in active rebellion do not have a right relationship, but e is still the one that created them and upholds them and enables them to do anything. Being in the image of God is primarily about being persons who are capable of relationship, indeed are beings-in-relationship. More of that to come as I do more work on my project (sorry, you got me on a hobby horse here!)

1:23 pm, August 17, 2006  
Blogger Celal Birader said...

Thank you, my brother, for your insightful comments.

BTW i am looking to make good on my promise of pints made on Mandy's blog -- are you available one evening next week ?

I am with you on proprietary love. How does one own anthing ? a) by making it (only God makes ex nihilo) b) by working for it and c) by being given it as a gift.

I want to ponder on this last point (c) a little.

Not that He needs or lacks anything BUT does God "inherit" ?

Unless I'm missing someting it seems He does - see (Deu 32:9) (1Sa 10:1) (Psa 78:62) (Psa 78:71 ) (Psa 94:14 ) (Psa 106:40).

I suppose then that we are to understand Satan and the un-elect as not being a part of or in God's "inheritance" ?

Hmmm i'm gonna have to think about that one for a while.

9:42 pm, August 17, 2006  
Blogger Celal Birader said...

Dear Mandy ... I couldn't get your link to Dr.Bray's lecture summaries to work.

9:44 pm, August 17, 2006  

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