Website of Dr. John K. LaShell
“Love makes the world go ‘round.” That is what they say, and they are right. But some kinds of love go around like old-fashioned tires in minus forty degree weather. They used to become hard and flat on the bottom when the car sat out overnight. Thump, thump, thump, thump. The ride was pretty rough for the first few miles.
Love at its best unites two as one and yet leaves them as two. It is the opposite of the possessive, jealous love of a man who is trying to destroy his wife’s individuality. He cuts her off from her family and former friends so that he can browbeat her into a slave-like dependency on himself.
Two walking hand in hand down the path of life in a unity that leaves room for individuality—that is a healthy kind of love. The two may be husband and wife, parent and child, life-long friends, or even God and His worshiper.
Some theological systems make room for that kind of life with God better than others. In some traditions, submission to God leaves little room for a warm, personal relationship with Him—that is difference without unity. Other, more philosophical strains of religion, teach that the goal of life is losing one’s identity in God. The little drop of individuality disappears into the great ocean of Being—that is unity without difference. Thump, thump, thump, thump.
The Biblical doctrine of the Trinity, however, provides a perfect pattern for healthy love because the Trinity exemplifies both diversity and unity. God the Father and God the Son live in an eternal union of love and Being, and yet they remain distinct persons.
On two occasions, the Father spoke from heaven and said about Jesus, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matthew 3:17; 17:5). Jesus, in return, said to His disciples, “So that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me” (John 14:31). The Son is a different person from the Father because the Father commands, and Jesus obeys.
There is only one God, and He alone is worthy to receive all glory and worship (Isaiah 44:8; 48:11). But Jesus receives from the angels exactly the same glory and worship as God the Father (Revelation 5:11-14), so the two are one God.
Therefore, within the Trinity we see the deepest unity, and yet the individuality of the Father and the Son is clearly maintained. (If I had more space, I would discuss the place of the Holy Spirit in the Trinity.) These Trinitarian relationships form the basis for a genuine love relationship with God because God draws His people up into the difference and unity of the Trinity.
On the night He was betrayed, Jesus prayed, "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:22-24).
God’s people will be with Jesus and see His glory, so they remain different individuals. They will not, however, be onlookers and outsiders because they will enter into and share the eternal love between the Father and the Son.
The great thing about God’s love is that we don’t have to wait until heaven to begin to experience it. You can begin a love relationship with Him now through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Jesus is God’s valentine to the world. Why not receive Him and enter into the eternal love of God that truly makes the world go ‘round?
© 2010, John K. LaShell