Valerie is a 42-year-old, single, Reformed Christian lady who lives in Baltimore. She doesn't remember a time
before she knew and loved Jesus, but she does remember accepting John Calvin into her heart in March of 2000.
Valerie is a member of Christ Reformed Evangelical Church in Annapolis.
Though her career aspiration is to be a housewife, Valerie has not yet found anyone suitable who wishes to hire
her for employment in that field (or, more properly, anyone suitable has not found her), so in the meantime she
earns her daily bread working in communications -- editing, writing, print design and website management.
Peter Leithart Usually Writes over My Head...
...And this time he quotes over my head. But if I get the gist of Hart's point, then I'd add that completely disinterested love cannot suffer by a lack of reciprocation, and therefore cannot give of itself sacrificially, and therefore isn't really love at all...at least where there's any chance of an ungrateful beloved. In the Trinity there is no chance of ingratitude, just pure, complete, constant love and pure, complete, constant reciprocation. But His love for men He ordained to sin is real only because the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the World. His love for us was always a suffering, self-sacrificing love.
Posted by Valerie (Kyriosity) at 9:03 AM
On September 1, 2009 11:36 AMpentamomwrote... I've been thinking lately about the "disinterested love" strain of Calvinism, and I've decided that I don't like it, and for that matter, it's not really Calvinistic, if Calvinism has much to do with either Calvin's views OR scripture. And I don't like it not because of how it "feels," but for pretty much what you're saying here -- disinterested love doesn't actually make any real sense.
Not that I was ever a big proponent of it, but my objections to it have come into better focus.
On September 1, 2009 12:04 PMpentamomwrote... Oh, I think you must have heard it, given the circles we've mutually run in. The idea is that God only loves us because it manifests some aspect of character that makes Him a loving sort of God, not because, deep down, he really CARES what happens to us. I don't think anyone actually argues that as a theological position, but it's kind of an attitude people fall into as a result of thinking there's some implication of a consequence of a conclusion required by some doctrine.
On September 1, 2009 12:10 PMValerie (Kyriosity)wrote... I guess I've gotten that sense (if not those words) from those who seem take "God is without passions" to mean that God is a cosmic granite stoic. I get the sense that for some people "God loves you" is an anthropomorphism.
On September 2, 2009 9:35 AMEmilywrote... I'm not as well read as y'all are, but I haven't heard of God being dispassionate. Where do they get that idea from Scripture?
If God is stoic and doesn't really care about me, I'm toast. :)
Yes, or "man-centered." It feels like some people want to say that God doesn't really love you because it's YOU He loves, it's just that He wanted to love SOMETHING so it was handy to make you. And then once you're made, it's all about His desire to be loving, not about you, really, at all.
It's an over-reaction to the concern that "it's all about me." But of course that isn't really balanced properly by saying, "Nah, God doesn't really care about YOU, He just wanted love SOMETHING. Could as well have been the dustbunnies under your bed."
The safeguard against that kind of thinking, ISTM, is to say, "Yeah, but He decided to love ME. So I guess He really WANTED to love me, being completely free to do what He likes and all -- He didn't just settle because the dustbunnies were busy that day. So the kind of God He is isn't just a God who loves SOMETHING, He actually wanted to love ME."
On September 2, 2009 9:14 PMpentamomwrote... And NONE of that has to imply that it's because there's something great about me, of course. It's still about Him loving despite our unworthiness. It's just that people will tie themselves up into all kinds of absurdities to avoid the mistake they're most afraid of.
On September 2, 2009 9:18 PMpentamomwrote... If I have this right, the word "passions" in "God is without passions" has a very specific meaning, somewhat different from the way we think of the word.
If I understand correctly, it means that every choice God makes is completely free -- He's not driven by things that overtake His ability to choose the highest good, as we can be by "passions" that inflame us. If He's angry, it's because He chooses to respond with anger to something, not because anger wells up in Him and overwhelms His choices.
But people don't understand the way the phrase was used in the Confession (which is quite understandable given that it's an unusual and old-fashioned usage) and so they take it to mean that God doesn't really "feel" anything at all. But it was never intended to convey that, and that notion flies in the face of scripture.
On September 3, 2009 12:27 AMEmilywrote... This question may be induced by lots of allergy meds, so bear with me. I talked to my husband about some of this (we aren't Reformed, though fans of the Reformed so, again, bear with me), and we wondered: Did God anthropormorphize Himself when He created man in His image? What of when He became incarnate? And I'm asking acknowledging that we are fallen and do not bear a perfect image.
One thing that I find among my Reformed friends is that they have a much better grasp of symantics and theology than I or most other Christians do.
I keep dwelling on "He decided to love me." I loved that! 'nuf rambling, off to bed. :)
On September 3, 2009 10:33 AMEmilywrote... Sorry, I keep comin' back. But I wanted to sympathize with Valerie's statement about being slow to trust God's love. My Dad was an alcoholic until I was 10. He sobered up then and became a Christian. As a little girl (which is why paedofaith resonates so much with me) I took what my Mom (who was a Christian) taught me about God being my Father to heart. I used to pretend I could climb in His lap and that He'd hold me. It takes getting back to childlike faith (which can be so hard) to believe that He loves me and to define what true Fatherly love is by His Word not by the examples of my earthly father.
On September 3, 2009 2:54 PMpentamomwrote... Hey ladies, you think maybe I can wax so eloquent on this because I've had to (and still have to) tell myself this stuff constantly, too? ;-)
BTW, Valerie, doesn't it get uncomfortable with Dr. Leithart standing behind your chair holding his laptop up in the air, when he writes?
Emily, "anthropomorphize" implies that it's just an illusion or a figure of speech to help us understand. Of course God becoming man in Christ is not just an illusion or an illustration, it is a reality. So it's better to say that God joined Himself fully to man in a single instance.