Grasping ‘The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God’

The topic of God’s love has been on my mind this year. I wrote an article on the subject back in May and then read C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves and ruminated on that as well. You would think I’ve grasped the subject by now, but I was still not satisfied and so took up D.A. Carson’s The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God, a series of four lectures compiled into book format.

Carson opens by joking that most people would assume this to be an easy topic to digest and then spends the rest of the book showing why that’s not the case. I already knew this to be a difficult doctrine, but I appreciated Carson’s way of explaining its complexities.

Indeed, too many people seem to take God’s love for granted or in a flippant manner. Carson notes that there are five different ways the Bible discusses the love of God and it would be foolish to isolate one aspect and focus on it while neglecting the others. In short, these are:

  1. The love seen in the Trinity of God for Jesus and the Son for the Father
  2. His general love to His creation
  3. His love for fallen humanity by offering salvation
  4. His specific love for His chosen people, the church
  5. His love for His people, based on obedience, with disobedience leading to discipline

As you can see, God’s love does not easily fit into a box but is complex, deep, and rich. Being able to rightly and biblically understand this doctrine allows us to better comprehend how God’s love and sovereignty work together and how His love can coexist with His wrath.

This little book may not answer all the mysteries surrounding the depths of God’s love, but it works hard to help clear some misconceptions, such as God’s love and wrath. If, like me, you’ve been weighing this topic in your mind and trying to understand it, I would encourage you to seek out a copy (or download one). It’s small, easy to read, and will go a long way in helping you grasp the “difficult doctrine” of God’s love.

P.S.- I forgot to mention it last week (because, I’ll admit, I was falling asleep while typing the post), but Seasons So Far is now available in e-book format for the Kindle. You can find it on Amazon for $3 today!


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