God’s love is the foundation of which flows His goodness. Jesus said that loving God and loving people as we love ourselves are the greatest commandments that keep all others. When we are properly related to God and in proper loving relationships with people we treat them the way they ought to be treated. We live the way we ought to, because we love. When one person loves another properly they are good to them. A loving Father is good to his children. Even in rendering punishment upon a child, he is good for he punishes because He loves the child. Real love includes being able to render correction, rebuke, or punishment.
God is good, because God loves. His goodness is an extension of His love. God’s attributes are eternal. Were they not eternal, He would not be God for God’s nature must be complete in and of Himself: self evidently. If God depended upon anything outside of Himself, He would not be God. Love is actualized through relationships not in isolation. We don’t actualize loving someone when we are not in relationship with that person. To know the love of a parent for a child, you must have a child in which you love as a parent loves a child. To know romantic love you must have an object of that love. Therefore for Him to love, He had to love before He created. He didn’t begin to love once He created the world. He always loved. He always was a personal God. That’s why the doctrine of the Trinity is so essential. For God to love mankind, He had to first love interpersonally the Son of God. Who is begotten of God versus created by God. For God to be a personal God, He had to be interpersonal eternally versus gaining His personal nature with reference to creation. Once again, every attribute of God must be eternal. God loves because He eternally loves the Son and the Son eternally loves the Father. God is the ultimate Father to mankind because He gains His fatherly identity through His relationship with the Son. The Holy Spirit is the agent of His love which binds the Father and the Son and who is given to each person who is in relationship with the Father through Jesus. Jesus said that the greatest act of love is to lay down your life for your friend. Jesus, while we were yet sinners, laid down His life for man. Jesus was purposed to do this before the creation of the world. Before we sinned, He was still going to lay down His life to bring mankind into holiness that is only found in God. Man was made dependent upon God. But the only way we could attain holiness is through God providing that to us by an extension of His grace to us which comes through His greatest act of love and that is sacrificing Himself for us. We were not made equal to God for the created cannot be equal to the Creator, thus to be brought into His holiness He had to elevate us by grace through His supreme act of love which is in Christ work on the cross. Jesus coming to give His life for man was not God’s back up plan because mankind messed everything up. It was still purposed to be. However, when man sinned, Jesus’ sacrifice included His forgiving us our sins.
The doctrine of the Trinity is essential to the existence of God. If God were not a Trinitarian Being He could not be, for a being to have an identity, he has it relationally to another. If God was this cosmic static entity with no persons of the Trinity He could not be self-evident. He gains identity from Himself because He is a personal being. Thus any religion that posits a non-Trinitarian God cannot theologically support the existence of that God. Moreover polytheism fails to be a foundational system of belief for each of the many gods would have to be finite for you cannot have more than one all powerful God. It isn’t logically possible. Thus multiplicity of gods lends itself to finiteness of gods and that is not an adequate foundation for they would not be eternal.
In conclusion, God, being perfect, loves perfectly and eternally and all ethics and morality derive from the goodness that flows from His love. This is why Jesus said the greatest commandments are to love God and love your neighbor and that the second hinges on the first. When we learn how to love God and to experience His love and compassion for us we are enabled to love our neighbor the way we ought. This is why I have repeatedly advocated that morality is not about following the letter of the law, but about the fulfillment of the law which is love. When we are filled up with God’s love we can love others the way we ought to and we do good by them as a byproduct of that relationship with God.
God loves mankind and His love is actualized and experienced through the Holy Spirit who draws all men unto Himself. God is loving us even when we rebel against Him. All the consequences for sin is to bring about our restoration unto Him. It is all for our good even when it doesn’t feel so good at the time. Hebrews 12:11 “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Even when God is allowing us to reap the consequences of our unrighteousness it is for our redemption.
The end product of a community of people who live lives of love is a beautiful picture. John Lenon asked the world to imagine a world with no religion. In reality, we need to imagine a world where God’s love is known by people and lived out through people. A world of people who live like Jesus lived would indeed produce a utopia. Imagine just a city of people who are living like Jesus. There would be no crime. The jails would be empty. There would be no hate. People would treat each other with kindness. They would always do good for their fellow man. God is calling us to such a way of living and it is possible through Christ.
However, there will always be those who will refuse to live as a part of the Kingdom of God. So even as this community of believers matures into this society built on love those outside of this society will be living lives in opposition to this reality. Hence the world will become darker and darker (more vile and destructive) and the church community brighter and brighter (more pure and glorified) until the day Christ comes for His Bride the Church.