Posts Tagged ‘God’

God is the Great Philanthropist

September 3, 2014 Leave a comment

…how far the divine mercy, revealed in Scripture, transcends the pagan conception.  Cicero: “Misericordia (mercy) means to be touched by the misery of one who suffers injustice.  For no one is moved to pity by the supplications of a parricide or traitor.” (Tusc. IV, p. 8.)  God, however, is merciful to those who deserve their sufferings.

…God is the greatest Philanthropist.  Titus 3:4: “But after that the kindness and love (philanthropia) of God, our Savior, toward man appeared.”  Luther remarks on this passage: “This philanthropia, love of mankind, embraces all that is called man, no matter how lowly he is…Naturalists call some animals lovers of men, as, for instance, the dog, the horse, the dolphin; for these animals have a natural fondness for me, adapt themselves to them, and serve them gladly, etc.  Such a disposition the Apostle attributes here to our God.”

God’s benevolence or kindness is the opposite of His severity and strictness…It expresses the thought that God does not deal with us as a severe judge, but as a kind lord…Luther: “[Kindness] implies that friendly, lovely course of conduct which renders an individual attractive to all and makes his society so sweet as to move everyone to love and affection.  Such an individual bears with all men, has no disposition to neglect or repel anyone in a harsh, uncouth manner.  Thus God presents Himself in the Gospel to us in a manner altogether lovely and friendly, adapts Himself to all, rejects no one, passes over all our defects, and repels no one with severity.”


Franz Pieper Christian Dogmatics vol. 2 pp. 8-9.

St. Augustine. Self-Knowledge and God’s Embrace.

April 5, 2013 3 comments
Fra Angelico.  "The Conversion of St. Augustine."

Fra Angelico. “The Conversion of St. Augustine.”

For Thou, Lord, dost judge me: because, although no man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of a man which is in him, yet is there something of man, which neither the spirit of man that is in him, itself knoweth. But Thou, Lord, knowest all of him, Who hast made him. Yet I, though in Thy sight I despise myself, and account myself dust and ashes; yet know I something of Thee, which I know not of myself. And truly, now we see through a glass darkly, not face to face as yet. So long therefore as I be absent from Thee, I am more present with myself than with Thee…

… I will confess then what I know of myself, I will confess also what I know not of myself. And that because what I do know of myself, I know by Thy shining upon me; and what I know not of myself, so long know I not it, until my darkness be made as the noon-day in Thy countenance.

Not with doubting, but with assured consciousness, do I love Thee, Lord. Thou hast stricken my heart with Thy word, and I loved Thee. Yea also heaven, and earth, and all that therein is, behold, on every side they bid me love Thee; nor cease to say so unto all, that they may be without excuse. But more deeply wilt Thou have mercy on whom Thou wilt have mercy, and wilt have compassion on whom Thou hast had compassion: else in deaf ears do the heaven and the earth speak Thy praises. But what do I love, when I love Thee? not beauty of bodies, nor the fair harmony of time, nor the brightness of the light, so gladsome to our eyes, nor sweet melodies of varied songs, nor the fragrant smell of flowers, and ointments, and spices, not manna and honey, not limbs acceptable to embracements of flesh. None of these I love, when I love my God; and yet I love a kind of light, and melody, and fragrance, and meat, and embracement when I love my God, the light, melody, fragrance, meat, embracement of my inner man: where there shineth unto my soul what space cannot contain, and there soundeth what time beareth not away, and there smelleth what breathing disperseth not, and there tasteth what eating diminisheth not, and there clingeth what satiety divorceth not. This is it which I love when I love my God.


Augustine of Hippo, Confessions.  Book X.


God encloses us in our trials like an ocean encloses a spark:

Genealogy of Words

English: Wolves chasing an elk

English: Wolves chasing an elk (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I like the sound of the word “wolves”.  It’s an unsettling sounding word.  But notice this:


How much does “wolves” sound like “wool”?  Quite a bit.  If you pay attention in English, there are strange affinities between words.  “Wolves” or “Wolf” are very close to a prominent feature of the animal they are frequently portrayed as eating.


I’m not saying this is a unique thought or a new idea.  It’s just kind of new to me.  Not really even new, it’s an old idea that only recently I started to think about.


Why is the highest part of a human being–“soul”–the same sound as the lowest part of a human being–“sole”–or the same as “only”?

The critical theory that I sort of learned in college said that we construct the world with words…we construct reality with words.  And there is some truth to that, right?  At least we construct the way we perceive reality; and we help to construct the way others perceive it by means of words.  Even if we didn’t originate a phrase or a way of thinking, by repeating it we contribute to a way of seeing the world.

But if you believe that God created with His Word, it makes you wonder what you are looking at when you see the way words have developed or evolved.

A Luther Quote Almost As Great as the One at the Top of This Blog

For to whom are you going to confide your weakness if not to God?

And where can you find him except in your brother?

Luther, “On Confession and the Lord’s Supper,” Church Postil.  1524.

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