We have shown in our discussion of the divine attributes (vol. 1, pages 268 - 275 ) that holiness is neither self-love nor love, but self-affirming purity and right. Those who maintain that love is self-affirming as well as self-communicating, and therefore that holiness is God?s love for himself, must still admit that this self-affirming love, which is holiness, conditions and furnishes the standard for the self-communicating love, which is benevolence. But we hold that holiness is not identical with, nor a manifestation of, love. Since self-maintenance must precede self- impartation and since benevolence finds its object, motive, standard and limit in righteousness and holiness, the self-affirming attribute can in no way be resolved into love, the self-communicating. God must first maintain his own being before he can give to another and this self- maintenance must have its reason and motive in the worth of that which is maintained. Holiness cannot be love, because love is irrational and capricious except as it has a standard by which it is regulated and this standard cannot be itself love, but must be holiness. To make holiness a form of love is really to deny its existence, and with this to deny that any atonement is necessary for man?s salvation.
(b) The universe is a reflection of God and Christ the Logos is its life. God has constituted the universe, and humanity as a part of it, so as to express his holiness, positively by connecting happiness with righteousness, negatively by attaching unhappiness or suffering to sin.
We have seen, in vol. I, pages 109, 309-311, 335-338, that since Christ is the Logos, the immanent God, God revealed in nature, in humanity and in redemption, the universe must be recognized as created, upheld and governed by the same Being who, in the course of history, was manifest in human form and who made atonement for human sin by his death on Calvary. As all God?s creative activity has been exercised through Christ (vol. I, page 310), so it is Christ in whom all things consist or are held together (vol. I, page 311). Providence, as well as preservation, is his work. He makes the universe to reflect God and especially God?s ethical nature. That pain or loss universally and inevitably follow sin is the proof that God is unalterably opposed to moral evil and the demands and reproaches of conscience witness that holiness is the fundamental attribute of God?s being.
(c) Christ the Logos, as the Revealer of God in the universe and in humanity, must condemn sin by visiting upon it the suffering, which is its penalty. At the same time, as the Life of humanity, he must endure the reaction of God?s holiness against sin, which constitutes that penalty.
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