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

Participating in the Divine Nature (Love)

Image by *Leanda via Flickr

Image by *Leanda via Flickr

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).

Related Reading

What do you think of Thomas Aquinas’ view of God?

Question: You have written (in Trinity and Process) that the relational God of the Bible is the antithesis of the immutable God of Thomas Aquinas. Could you explain this? Answer: Aquinas and much of the classical theological tradition borrowed heavily from Aristotle’s notion of God as an “unmoved mover.” God moves the world but remains…

How To Fix The Church: The Kingdom of God (Part 4)

God has leveraged everything on the Church loving like Jesus loved, as outlined in our previous posts in this series. “By this the world will know you are my disciples,” Jesus said, “by your love” (Jn 13:35). By God’s own design, Christ-like love is supposed to be the proof that Jesus is real. In John…

Welcoming Strangers

Zack Hunt shared this video over on his website and we loved it so much that we wanted to share it as well. There are many opportunities to demonstrate the reality of God to the world around us, if we’ll only start to open our eyes and hearts. How might God be inviting you to put his…

Lighten Up: Theological Love

Um, yeah. Let’s do better than this, shall we?

You’re Not a Pacifist Are You?

 Jayel Aheram via Compfight Brian Zahnd wrote a great piece the other day on this topic. He contends that when he is asked this question, it often has the same flavor of the question, “You’re not a pornographer are you?” Why is this question so contentious among believers? Brian has some interesting ideas about it.…

The One True Image of God: God’s Self-Portrait, Part 4

This point is emphasized throughout the New Testament because, if we don’t get this, we are left to our own imaginations about God, and we’ll draw from a multitude of different sources to construct a mental picture of God that will, to one degree or another, fall short of the beauty of the true God…