The Agora
Bible Editorials

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One God, or the other?

It is true and reassuring (to those who believe and love God) that He is a Father to us, His children. With all that implies of the best and most comforting and most loving of human parents for their children.

But... God is more than this! He is the all-powerful, eternal, and eternally righteous Creator of all things. Something no other fathers or mothers can, in their wildest dreams, imagine themselves being! This awesome fact adds another dimension to His character -- which we have to think about, and take into account: that is, Almighty God is a being of such purity that He cannot continue to look upon sin. Sin, wickedness, in any and every form, cannot exist in His presence, any more than darkness can exist where there is perfect light.

The point is: there are, simply put, two primary aspects of God's character, and neither can exist without the other: (1) there is an absolute holiness, and purity, and righteousness, AND (2) there is a wonderful love, mercy, and peace. But neither of these aspects of character can "drown out" or nullify or negate the other! It's not an "either-or", but a "not only -- but also"!

Man must find the way, which thankfully God has provided, to enter into the presence of the merciful, loving Father... whilst giving proper acknowledgment and service and deference to the holy and righteous Being, who burns with an unquenchable fire, and who hates sin everlastingly.

That way, as we know, is only through Christ, and an acknowledgment of our sins, and repentance, and renewal, and faith in His promises, and belief in all that God has said. That way cannot be on our own, or based on our own achievements or merit -- of which there will never be enough!

If we find that "place", in the bosom of the Father, then He is -- surely -- a kind and loving parent to us, His children. But if we lose that place, or leave it -- like the Egyptians or Jews who did not remain in their blood-sprinkled houses on the fateful Passover night -- then the same Being who can be the loving Father can manifest Himself in a merciless, avenging Angel of Death.

True, He may -- with some portion of His vast mercy -- continue to bless us, or any other sinner, with long life and good health and/or other "good" things... but the separation and death will be inevitable -- because He is a God who cannot tolerate willful disobedience or indifference or neglect.

I keep coming back in my mind to that "either-or" and "not only-but also" choice! So many times, it seems to me, we human beings, in a vain and partial attempt at logic, set out to argue with one another (or even with ourselves, in our own minds!): 'Let's see now. The right answer ought to be A or B..." And we seem forget that the right answer might be... A AND B!

We could ask the question: "Which God do I worship? the powerful, jealous, demanding God... or the loving Heavenly Father?" As if we have to choose one or the other. When the right answer should be... "not only, but also".

Or: "Who best expresses my concept of God? the Presence that burned with fire, and shook the mountain, and opened up the earth to swallow up the rebels in the wilderness? OR the tender and gentle and loving Presence who so loved the world that He became the Father of a human Son -- through whom He could reach out to us?" Did Yahweh cease being the one when He became the other?

Or: "Do I serve God because I love Him, or because I fear Him? I must choose one or the other."

But... should I choose one or the other?

Or... should I try, difficult though it may sometimes be, to worship both?

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