By Fred Pruitt
Love cannot be “love” except there be an object to love. Love does not simply exist in an uncaring mystical bliss recognizing nothing except itself. Love is moving; love is dynamic; love has to reach out; love has to reproduce itself; keep itself alive by re-begetting itself in an ever expanding effluence of desire. Love and desire cannot be taken from each other. That is the first attribute of love – it is a desire to go out and find the object of its affection. It is a drive – love must love, desire must desire.
Up until now I have been treating “love” and “desire” in a neutral fashion, ascribing to them neither good nor evil. Because this love-fire that has to reach out and find the object of its affection and possess it, can either be in a “for you” love-desire, or a “for me” love-desire.
This fire is the source of the glories and unbounded blessings of heaven, just like giant turbines turning generating electricity (by friction – heat, fire) are what make our world possible. But turned around into self-glorification, that same fire becomes in us the fires of wrath. It is like taking the energy of the fire into a nuclear meltdown consuming everything around it to feed its fire, rather than generating gentle light and precious sounds and indescribable colors, that come from the right use of fire. The fire-source is the power-source!
That is the origin of evil in the universe, when Lucifer sought the power source for himself and turned that love-fire in on himself in self-worship, and claimed equality with God – “I will be like the Most High,” and even in that fire to ascend higher than God, “I will ascend higher than the stars of God.” (Is 14:12-14).
That same fire that is the love-fuel to the manifold blessings coming through Father Son and Holy Spirit, producing light and gentleness and color and warmth and nurture, turns into wrath in everyone who seeks to save himself (in a denial of God), for the purpose that they might be divested of that wrath while still in this life.
This is what “God’s wrath” is. It is not God getting really mad at everybody up in heaven from His Throne. God does not live in wrath. He only lives in love. He does not see evil. William Law called God the “eternal will to all goodness.” There is nothing “wrathful” about God! Yet there is wrath, and it has its origin in God because it is taking the created “fire,” which is meant to be a source of power, beneficence and drive as an expression of the “other love” of God, and turning it inward in self-deification and self-elevation, and that produces the fire’s “negative” effects, defined by Boehme and law as, “pride, covetousness, envy and wrath. That kingdom eternally consists of the pride of self-sufficient self, covetousness (wanting what others have), envy (being mad that they have it and you don’t), and finally hatred, rage, anger or wrath, which produces violence of spirit, soul and body. No one is locked there, and may hear the Lord’s Word at any time and turn the other way, toward the Light, and we see those the Lord gives us in this way. We see the Father drawing them.
But no one cannot make the guaranteed promise, though some do (but how could they?), that after this life there is “another chance.” That is quite a promise to make to people who are currently living in their hells. In our effort to have God be “nice,” the failure to offer them the free grace available if they want it, and the water of life to quench the inner fires of wrath they are living in right now in this life, where Hebrews says, “Today is the day” to believe, is an unbearable tragedy. It does absolutely nothing for a person; we may be “nice” and want to spare their feelings, and we may want them to know God is “nice,” but it leaves them in HELL!
And not only that, but to divert them from necessary repentance (turning toward God), while falsely promising “grace” in the afterlife, which we do not have the authority to determine, is really an ultimate presumption. “Don’t worry about it. You won’t die spiritually and live in separation. It doesn’t matter whether you turn to God or not.” It reminds me of another voice, a long time ago, speaking to the woman when she was looking and desiring a certain fruit, though she had been given the commandment that to eat of it, would cause her to die. But a friendly, “nice” voice said, “You shall not surely die.”(Gen 3:4). Surely we do not speak out of that voice!
It is the same “nice” voice, expressing genuine “human” concern, that through Peter tried to get Jesus to not go through with His commission and its end at the Cross in Jerusalem. Peter tried to get Jesus to think better of it, in his “nice” concern, and Jesus turned to him and hit that nail on its head when He said, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”(Matt 16:23).
God needs no defense, no one to protect His reputation, nor anyone to apologize for Him. His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. And no one sits in judgment of Him, nor is anyone able to mitigate His truth as He has spoken it.
But that is not our discussion here. Though when speaking of love as “fire,” this is part of it.
God Is Will:
Finally, God being Spirit, God is “will,” or (speaking from the crudity of human understanding), God is “Spirit choice.”
It is this faculty that in every spirit being, turns it this way or that. It is the faculty that decides between “me for you,” or “you for me.”
We are not able to determine a “moment” when God made a “choice” about Himself, though there are multitudes of Biblical moments when God expresses “will” regarding this world and the people in it. So we have to speak of God in some sense as if He is human, because it is only in this sense we are able to have any understanding.
It is too much to go into a full explanation at this moment, but let me just interject here, that “choice,” or even “will,” implies alternatives and limitations. The alternatives are obvious, either we choose this or we choose that. But what is not so clear, is that in making a choice between alternatives, this or that, I place myself in a limitation because I chose “this,” and not “that.” Again marriage is a perfect example. Before I was married, I was not “limited” to only my wife. In that sense, I was “free.” But in taking someone in particular to be my spouse, I have willingly limited my freedom in order to keep my marriage vow, to “keep only unto her.” I have unlimited freedom within the “borders” of my marriage, but there are borders.
So in a way we cannot possibly understand or grasp even a little bit, God has forever “chosen” to be “other love.” The greatest example of this we see in Revelation, where we see in the center of God, in the Throne, there is eternally a“lamb as it had been slain.” (Rev 5:6).
What kind of God is this? A slain lamb in the midst of the Throne? What it is telling us, is the “attitude” of God, the attitude that simply says, “I will die for you.” I think it quite a telling thing that this little helpless lamb sits in the throne, instead of a throng of great warriors, who have won the day by slaughtering thousands, or a great conqueror, who is able to subjugate whole races of people to him. No, none of that, just a weak little helpless lamb bleating in Heaven, and that is the mighty power of God!
Scripture says God “cannot lie,” even though we know God can do all things. Why can He not lie? If God is truly God, and there is no one who preceded Him, then it follows (again in the crudity of human understanding), that He is “self-determined” to be Who He is. In other words, somehow, some way, God eternally “decided” that He would not be a self-lover, but an other-lover. And also that the ultimate expression of Himself would be an embodiment of that other-love, through the One Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the whole family of eternal sons is raised up. That is the reason it says that, “God cannot lie.” It is part of His own self-limitation to be for eternity the “will to all goodness.”