Why, if God is without passions, is He described as jealous, angry, moved with compassion, impatient, and having love?
The descriptions of God as jealous, angry, moved with compassion, impatient, or loving are considered anthropopathic expressions. These expressions use human characteristics to describe God's nature, actions, or attitudes in a manner that we, as humans, can understand and relate to. It is important to remember that our human language and concepts are often inadequate to fully capture the true essence of God's being.
When we say that God is angry, for example, it reflects His unchanging and steadfast nature in relation to His character, attributes, and divine purposes. His anger towards injustice is not a sudden fluctuation but rather a reflection of His perfect and unchanging justice.
God's holiness is a fundamental aspect of His nature, and anything that is not in alignment with His holiness is subject to His righteous judgment. It is akin to something getting too close to the sun and being consumed by its intensity. Holiness and His righteous judgment that results from it, is just who God is. Not because he is suddenly taken by surprise and has an emotional reaction. Instead, it is a reflection of His perfect and steadfast character, which always maintains divine order and upholds the moral standards He has established.
Using anthropopathic expressions such as anger allows us to better understand and appreciate the consistency and perfection of God's nature. It helps us grasp how God responds to situations that are contrary to His perfect unchanging divine will and standards. This, in turn, provides us with insight into His expectations for His creation and the moral order that He has established.
When we speak of God as being "without passions," it emphasizes the immutability and perfection of God's nature. This means that God is not subject to fluctuating emotions or desires like humans. His character, attributes, and divine purposes are steadfast and unchanging. While God's actions and interactions with His creation may appear as emotional responses, they are, in reality, manifestations of His consistent and eternal nature, rather than capricious emotional reactions.
Anthropopathic expressions, such as jealousy, anger, compassion, impatience, and love, are used in Scripture to convey aspects of God's character and His relationship with humanity in terms that we can grasp. These descriptions should not be taken as an exact representation of how humans understand these terms but rather as a means to communicate divine truths. For example, when God is described as "jealous," it emphasizes His steadfast unchanging commitment to His people and His eternal purpose and desire for their exclusive devotion. When God is described as "loving," it highlights His unwavering benevolence, mercy, and grace towards His creation.
Ultimately, these anthropopathic expressions serve to deepen our understanding of God's nature and His relationship with us. They provide a way for us to comprehend and relate to the divine, even though God's true essence transcends our limited human understanding.
Does Jesus have passions due to his incarnation?
Good question. In the Incarnation, Jesus, the Son of God, took on human nature, becoming fully human while remaining fully divine. In this unique union of the divine and human natures, Jesus experienced human emotions and passions as a part of his humanity. This means that during his time on earth, Jesus felt emotions such as joy, sorrow, anger, and compassion, as recorded in the Gospels.
For example, Jesus wept at the death of his friend Lazarus (John 11:35), felt compassion for the crowds (Matthew 9:36), and expressed righteous anger when he cleansed the temple (John 2:13-17). These emotions are not contradictory to his divine nature but rather demonstrate the reality of his human experience.
It is important to note that although Jesus experienced human emotions and passions, he did so without sinning. His emotional responses were always in perfect alignment with the will of God the Father and demonstrated his holiness and love for humanity. In this sense, Jesus serves as the perfect example to us of how to live a holy and righteous life, experiencing human emotions while remaining in perfect obedience to God's will.
If he doesn't body parts such as an eye, then how does he see?
God's ability to "see" is not limited by the absence of physical body parts, as His nature transcends the physical realm. When discussing the divine attributes, it is essential to understand that our human language and concepts often fall short in capturing the true essence of God's being. As such, anthropomorphic descriptions of God, like "seeing" or "hearing," are used metaphorically to help us comprehend His divine attributes in a way that is relatable to our human experience. Yet, without physical eyes He sees infinitely better than we do. He's God.
When we say that God "sees," it refers to His omniscience, which means He possesses complete and perfect knowledge of all things, past, present, and future. His awareness and understanding encompass every detail of creation, and He is fully aware of every thought, action, and event that occurs. This divine knowledge is not dependent on physical senses like sight or hearing but is an inherent aspect of His infinite and perfect nature. His all-encompassing knowledge is a fundamental aspect of His divine nature, which operates beyond the confines of human perception and physical limitations.