“God, who needs nothing, loves into existence wholly superfluous creatures in order that He may love and perfect them. He creates the universe, already foreseeing – or should we say “seeing”? there are no tenses in God – the buzzing cloud of flies about the cross, the flayed back pressed against the uneven stake, the nails driven through the mesial nerves, the repeated incipient suffocation as the body droops, the repeated torture of back and arms as it is time after time, for breath’s sake, hitched up. If I may dare the biological image, God is a “host” who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and “take advantage of” Him. Herein is love. This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
Lewis’ words shut my mouth in silent wonder at the God of whom he writes. I must read them again to drink in their fullness. Yet, they are only a man’s words. Remarkable to be sure. But the author is merely one of us “superfluous creatures”. How great, then, is God! How unparalleled his love!
“This is love: not that we loved God,
but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
(1 John 4;10)
“In God there is no hunger that needs to be filled, only plenteousness that desires to give.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
God is so far “other” than we, it’s beyond us to comprehend him fully. We see him in Jesus, the God-Man. Yet in power and wisdom and eternality and holiness and love, yes, in love, he is so “other” than we. What is a being without hunger needing fulfillment? What is One so profuse that his longing is to give and give again and still not be less than he is?
Jesus taught the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength (Mark 12:30). Why, when he doesn’t need my love? Were I to love him fully, would such meager love be worthy?
How can I love such a God? Yes, by believing and obeying and praising him. But I am like the little boy with a few fish and loaves facing 5000 hungry souls. Could my gift fill even a tiny place in a God who has no need to be filled?
And what is this God before whom all comparisons crumble? Augustine, early church theologian, asked the question (Confessions, 397-398 A. D.) . . . .
But what do I love when I love my God? . . .
Not material beauty or beauty of a temporal order.
Not the brilliance of earthly light;
not the sweet melody of harmony and song;
not the fragrance of flowers, perfumes and spices;
not manna or honey;
not limbs such as the body delights to embrace.
It is not these that I love when I love my God.
And yet, when I love him, it is true that I love a light of a certain kind,
a voice, a perfume, a food, an embrace;
but they are of the kind that I love in my inner self,
when my soul is bathed in light that is not bound by space;
when it listens to sound that never dies away;
when it breathes a fragrance that is not borne away on the wind;
when it tastes food that is never consumed by the eating;
when it clings to an embrace
from which it is not severed by fulfillment of desire.
This is what I love when I love my God.
How great (for him a paltry word) he is!
With my hands lifted and my mouth open,
Sing with the video and with me and worship our infinite, unfathomable God!