As I do the required reading for my courses, I often encounter golden nuggets that force me to stop my reading, ponder, and at times dance inwardly. Then I rejoice and mutter a few words of wonder and doxology.
Today was one of those days. Ron Highfield’s Great is the Lord is one of the excellent reads, for persons who delight in meditations about God’s inner life and perfections.
A unique perfection that gladdened my heart today is God’s dynamism. That is; His eternally dynamic activity and energies that pulsate like a song filled with life-giving harmonies. The catholic (universal) doctrine has it that God is not static, but He is a vibrant and living reality. In the words of Highfield, He is ‘action as well as Being.’
As I thought about this intensely, I remembered the words of the Son: ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working (John 5:17).
The setting of this profound utterance by Christ is the Jewish festival. Jesus goes to Jerusalem, and as He walks by the Sheep Gate, He meets a man who had an infirmity for 38 years and heals him. This healing causes a commotion among the Pharisees, who accuse Him working on Sabbath, a day God instituted for Man to rest. John tells us that ‘for this reason, Jews persecuted Jesus, and sought to kill Him because He had done these things on Sabbath’ (verse 16).
Jesus’ answer is profound. He doesn’t deny that He worked on Sabbath. Neither does He say that the law was void. Instead, He explains that God has never stopped working, and neither has the Son.
There are many weighty implications of this assertion. The first is that Jesus has to be God, for only God is unlimited by the laws men have to obey. If Jesus is not God, His answer would be empty. It would be useless for Him to appeal to the continued activity of God that respects not days and seasons, to explain why He, a man (if He is merely a man), is not heeding God’s command to rest on Sabbath. The only reason this response makes sense is if Jesus is God, and thus as God, He is free from God’s commandments to man.
Of course, Jesus’ point registered with the Jews. John tells us: Therefore, the Jews sought all the more to kill Him because He not only broke the Sabbath but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal to God (verse 18).
The second implication, which is the occasioning of this article, is that God eternally works. He never sleeps, neither slumbers. He has always been working.
As I mentioned before, the catholic teaching holds that God is not static. He has eternally been full of loving freedom, and loving freely, to borrow Highfield’s terminology. Because of this, God has perpetually been complete in Himself, in no need of anything, or anyone. He is full of life, overflows with joy and kindness and patience and with every other virtuous thing.
Because of this, God was not for all eternity bored with Himself, and consequently, creation is not a product of this boredom. As absurd as this might sound to some, there are those who maintain that God created the universe out of need. They teach that God wanted someone to love, someone who would cherish Him and worship Him, someone who would pamper Him with praises. They allege that God admits imperfection, He needs us to worship Him since He could not adore Himself. In this way, we are providing God with something He could not offer Himself.
But to speak thus is to express absurdity, and to be impious and ignorant. A Being that is complete and perfect has no imperfection in Him, no lack, and no need. He is not just filled with eternal joy as though He is something apart from it; He is joy itself. He is not in need of someone else to love; He overflows with love within Himself. God is His attributes, and He is pure. He does not possess His qualities compositely.
The dynamism of His being owes to His being Triune. And thus the Triune God eternally enjoys fellowship within Himself, the Father loves the Son, in perfection, and the Son loves the Father in equal excellence, the Spirit existing as the bond of love between the Father and Son, joining them together in an eternal relationship of activity. Thus, the Son does what He sees the Father do, and the Father ‘does’ His works in and through the Son, in the unity of the Spirit.
Because this is so, because God is Three Persons eternally, He is relational in Himself. And because He is Love, He is other-centered, so that forever, the three Persons of the Trinity give themselves to the other, and receive love from the others, in a kind of vibrant, entertaining pulsating dance. And because God is infinite, this depth of joy is so immense that no creature can increase or reduce it. Infinity plus one, and infinity minus one, both leave infinity undiminished and unimproved.
It is this eternal working without ceasing that He extended to the helpless man on the Sheep Gate. The dynamic activity of the Trinity was at work, even that day, ending thirty-eight years of this man’s misery at that Gate. It is because God is perfect in Himself, and in need of no one, that He saves wholly and eternally.
He invites us into this dynamic fellowship, through which He heals and restores all that has been ruined by sin. We have fellowship with the Father, Son, and Spirit (1 John 1:3-4), by the working of the Triune God.
What this also means is that our anticipation of heaven should heighten. You see, some think of paradise as some boring place, devoid of color except white, and lacking creative melodies except (I do not know what genre of music you dislike) unceasing choruses of ‘holy, holy, holy’ for eternity.
That would be such a miserable image and uncreative imagination of heaven to have! The good news for us is that God will out-surprise our uncreative fancies of beauty, goodness, and joy, eternally. Because God is beauty, and because He is dynamic, His creative power will forever amaze us. We shall behold God in Himself, and since He is infinite in Himself, our joy in Him shall not cease, and our wonder at His majesty shall be endless. His dynamic life shall be our life as well, and our source of unceasing delight.
All this should cause your heart to leap with joy. It should prompt you to ponder on His excellencies. It should provoke your praise and adoration, as you anticipate His second coming. Just like it did to me, or even more. Take time to deliberate and meditate on such excellencies found in God, through Christ, by the Holy Spirit.
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17)