We run our website the way we wished the whole internet worked: we provide high quality original content with no ads. We are funded solely by your direct support. Please consider supporting this project.

What We Long For

Image of Creation of Adam by ideacreamanuelaPps via Flickr

Image of Creation of Adam by ideacreamanuelaPps via Flickr

Augustine once prayed, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.” We all have an unquenchable yearning in our hearts, a yearning for nothing less than to share in God’s own eternally full life. This is why our deepest desires cannot be permanently satisfied by anything in this world. More specifically, the life of God is nothing other than the perfect love that eternally unites the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and this Triune God spoke creation into being with the ultimate goal of inviting humans to share in this life. This is what God created us to long for!

The great Puritan theologian and pastor Jonathan Edwards expressed this concept in a powerful way in his famous work A Dissertation Concerning The End for Which God Created the World. Edwards painted a portrait of the Trinity in which the love and joy of the three divine persons was so full and intense, it simply could not be contained. God’s fullness thus yearned to be expressed and replicated by sharing it with others. So this fullness overflowed, as it were, as God brought forth creation and that mirrored his triune beauty. And the pinnacle of this creation is created beings whose yearnings for God mirrors, in a small way, his yearning for them. But whereas God’s yearning comes out of his fullness, our yearning comes out of emptiness.

It’s a beautiful arrangement. The God of overflowing love longs to pour his love into others, so he created beings that long for his love to be poured into them.

It wasn’t God’s original intention for us to ever go a moment with this longing unsatisfied. Living without the fullness of God’s love is a reality we have brought on ourselves through our rebellion, and it’s completely unnatural to us. And try as we may to run from it or numb it, the pain of our unnatural emptiness is acute and incurable. The profundity of our emptiness is the negative reflection of the profundity of the fullness of the One we long for.

God’s ultimate goal in creation is nothing less than for the very same perfect love that the Father has for his own Son to be given to us and to be placed within us. Not only this, but his goal is for Jesus himself to dwell in us and for us to dwell in him (see John 15:4-5). We become the recipients of the Father’s eternal love for the Son because we are in the Son and he is perfectly loved, and the Son is in us, as he is perfectly loved.

God’s plan is to completely envelop everyone who is willing into the threefold loving eternal dance of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And as a result, the love of the Triune God will be replicated toward us, in us, and through us as we love God and one another. I can’t imagine a loftier and more beautiful goal for humanity than this!

—Adapted from Benefit of the Doubt, pages 57-60

Related Reading

Does Jesus’ Abandonment on the Cross Destroy the Trinity?

In my previous blog I argued that Jesus’ experience of God-forsakenness on the cross was genuine and that, as a matter of fact, there was a genuine abandonment of Jesus by the Father on the cross. In fact, I am convinced that a good deal of our theology hangs in the balance on our affirming…

Why Bart Ehrman Doesn’t Have to Ruin Your Christmas (Or Your Faith) Part 5

This is the fifth of several videos Greg put together to refute Bart Ehrman’s claims published in the article What Do We Really Know About Jesus? In this segment, Greg points out that none of Bart’s material are new discoveries. Even the most conservative scholars in this field are aware of them, and yet, none of them…

In the Wilderness of Religion

 Eric Bryan via Compfight There are an awful lot of us in the Church today who are no longer feeling at home in Evangelicalism. Regardless of how you feel about World Vision’s hiring policy decisions, the spectacle of thousands of people discontinuing their child sponsorships (relationships with flesh and blood children in need) because of…

Trinity and Love

Steve via Compfight There is a lot of mystery around the concept of the Trinity, and because the word is not used in Scripture some people think it’s not “Biblical”. David D. Flowers posted a very clear and concise article on the history and reality of the Trinity. This is a really helpful and quick…

2 Ways We Misinterpret God’s Promises

In the church where I first found Christ, we used to sing a hymn called “Standing on the Promises of God.” The hymn itself isn’t bad, for it focuses entirely on our relationship with God. But in many cases, I’ve found this phrase applied in ways that express, and reinforce, a magical kind of faith.…

Is the Bible a Legal Textbook?

Olga via Compfight Too much theology treats the Bible as if it were legal textbook. In the following except from Benefit of the Doubt, Greg addresses the problems when we approach theology and Scripture this way. Incidentally, if you like these excerpts we’ve been posting from Benefit of the Doubt, you’re not going to want to…