Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Relational God and Love

The metaphors the Bible uses to picture the relationship between God and His people give us an idea of just how warm and close He intended it to be. In some passages He portrays Himself as a Father, in others as a Brother, a Lover, or a Shepherd feeding and protecting His sheep. Many passages portray the relationship of God to His people as a marriage. The core idea within these various pictures is clear: God desires with His human creation a relationship that encompasses all the joy and warmth of our closest human connections.

God intended love to be the dominating characteristic and driving force of all creation. He created men and women to be relational creatures who desire to expand and share the love He lavishes on them. We were designed to live not only in an upward relationship with Him but also in outward relationships with others. These connections can be as diverse as the neighbor who borrows a cup of sugar, the friendly competitiveness of a foursome on the golf course, the best friend who lends a sympathetic ear, the deep and delightful bond with children, the intense commitment and intimacy of marriage. We thrive on such relationships because we were created for connection with each other.

This intertwining dance of love with God and others is what gives meaning to human life. As long as the first couple maintained their relationship with God, His love flowed through them and enabled them to remain in perfect relational harmony with each other and the rest of creation. Bearing the life of God within themselves, their life had ultimate meaning, and they were fulfilled. There was no missing piece.

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