without self-sacrifice, or of self-sacrifice without suffering. It would seem, then that, as immutability is consistent with imperative volition in human history, so the blessedness of God may be consistent with emotions of sorrow.
But does God feel in proportion to his greatness, as the mother suffers more than the sick child whom she tends? Does God suffer infinitely in every suffering of his creatures? We must remember that God is infinitely greater than his creation, and that he sees all human sin and woe as part of his great plan. We are entitled to attribute to him only such passableness as is consistent with infinite perfection. In combining passableness with blessedness, then, we must allow blessedness to be the controlling element, for our fundamental idea of God is that of absolute perfection. Martensen, Dogmatics, 101 ? ?This limitation is swallowed up in the inner life of perfection which God lives, in total independence of his creation, and in triumphant prospect of the fulfillment of his great designs. We may therefore say with the old theosophical writers: ?In the outer chambers is sadness, but in the inner ones is unmixed joy.?? Christ was ?anointed? with the oil of gladness above his fellows,? and ?for the joy that was set before him endured the cross ?( <580109>Hebrews 1:9; 12:2). Love rejoices even in pain, when this brings good to those beloved. ?Though round its base the rolling clouds are spread, Eternal sunshine settles on its head.?
In George Adam Smith?s Life of Henry Drummond, 11, Drummond cries out after hearing the confessions of men who came to him: ?I am sick of the sins of these men! How can God bear it?? Simon, Reconciliation, 338- 343, shows that before the incarnation, the Logos was a sufferer from the sins of men. This suffering however was kept in check and counterbalanced by his consciousness as a factor in the Godhead, and by the clear knowledge that men were themselves the causes of this suffering. After he became incarnate he suffered without knowing whence all the suffering came. He had a subconscious life into which were interwoven elements due to the sinful conduct of the race whose energy was drawn from himself and with which in addition he had organically united himself. If this is limitation, it is also self-limitation which Christ could have avoided by not creating, preserving, and redeeming mankind. We rejoice in giving away a daughter in marriage, even though it costs pain. The highest blessedness in the Christian is coincident with agony for the souls of others. We partake of Christ?s joy only when we know the fellowship of his sufferings. Joy and sorrow can coexist, like Greek fire that burns under water.
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