Participating in the Divine Nature (Love)
When God created the world, it obviously wasn’t to finally have someone to love, for God already had this, within himself. Rather God created the world to express the love he is and invite others in on this love.
This purpose is most beautifully expressed in Jesus’ prayer in John 17. Jesus prays to his Father that all of his disciples would “be one … just as you are in me and I am in you” (vs 21). Jesus wants his followers to live in some sense inside one another—just as he and the Father live inside each other.
He then says that he’s given his disciples the same “glory” the Father gave him. He did this “so that they may be one as we are one” (vs 22). What God is aiming at, clearly, is a community of people who reflect and participate in his “glory,” which is nothing other than the radiance of his own perfect, eternal, loving, communal, oneness.
As if this wasn’t beautiful enough, Jesus continues by saying that just as the Father is in him, so he prays he’ll be in his disciples “so that they may be brought to complete unity.” This is how “the world” is to become convinced that Jesus was sent by the Father (vs. 21-23). Then Jesus ends his magnificent prayer by proclaiming that he will continue to make the Father’s name (or character) known “in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (vs 26).
Stop and read that last sentence again.
The very same love the Father has for the Son—a love, Jesus says, that goes back before creation (vs 24)—is to dwell in Jesus’ disciples, for Jesus himself dwells in his disciples! This blows me away! God’s love for us isn’t a secondary, derivative, watered down kind of love. It’s the very same eternal love the Father has for the Son. It’s the very same love that God’s eternally is.
What I wrote in the post yesterday about God now applies to us. God’s love for us isn’t merely a verb God does: It’s the noun he is. When God loves us, he’s simply being himself toward us. With God there’s no distinction between the love he gives and the love he is.
If we catch even the slightest glimmer of this magnificent truth, we can’t help but be overwhelmed by its beauty.
So, humans were created out of God’s perfect love—in his “image” and “likeness”—for the purpose of participating in and expressing God’s perfect love (Gen 1:26-27). We were created to dance with and in the triune God. We were created for a relationship with God and each other that is nothing less than a participation in, and reflection of, the triune relationship that God eternally is. This is how we “participate in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).