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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.

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