even though it is the purest benevolence, is the fundamental thing, but rather activity of will and a right direction of that will. Hodge, Essays, 133-136, 262-273, shows well that holy love is a love controlled by holiness. Holiness is not a mere means to happiness. To be happy is not the ultimate reason for being holy. Right and wrong are not matters of profit and loss. To be told that God is only benevolence, and that he punishes only when the happiness of the universe requires it, destroys our whole allegiance to God and does violence to the constitution of our nature.
That God is only love has been called ?the doctrine of the papahood of God.? God is ?a summer ocean of kindliness, never agitated by storms.? (Dale, Ephesians, 59). But Jesus gives us the best idea of God, and in him we find, not only pity, but at times moral indignation. <431711>John 17:11 ? ?HoIy Father ? more than love. God can exercise love only when it is right love. Holiness is the track on which the engine of love must run. The track cannot be the engine. If either includes the other, then it is holiness that includes love, since holiness is the maintenance of God?s perfection, and perfection involves love. He that is holy affirms himself also as the perfect love. If love were fundamental, there would be nothing to give, and so love would be vain and worthless. There can be no giving of self, without a previous self-affirming. God is not holy because he loves, but he loves because he is holy. Love cannot direct itself; it is under bonds to holiness. Justice is not dependent on love for its right to be. Stephen G. Barnes ?Mere good will is not the sole content of the law; it is insufficient in times of fiery trial; it is inadequate as a basis for retribution. Love needs justice, and justice needs love; both are commanded in God?s law and are perfectly revealed in God?s character.?
There may be a friction between a man?s two hands, and there may be a conflict between a man?s conscience and his will, between his intellect and his affection. Force is God s energy under resistance, the resistance as well as the energy being his. So, upon occasion of man?s sin, holiness and love in God become opposite poles or forces. The first and most serious effect of sin is not its effect upon man, but its effect upon God. Holiness necessarily requires suffering, and love endures it. This eternal suffering of God on account of sin is the atonement, and the incarnate Christ only shows what has been in the heart of God from the beginning. 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. If holiness is the same as love, how is it that the classic world that knew of God?s holiness did not also know of his love? The ethics here reminds one of Abraham Lincoln?s meat broth that was made of the shadow of a pigeon that died of
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