The post today is the beginning of a series concerning a topic I have been working on for quite some time. The topic is Relationship Theology and seeks to utilize the disciples of classic theology, spiritual formation, spiritual direction, sociology, and psychology to understand and explain God’s providential will and purpose for humanity.
In the beginning of the book of Genesis there is recorded the story of creation. I believe the purpose of this story is not to give us a scientific explanation of how but instead to give us a reason why. Note the following statement in this story.
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; (Gen. 1:26 NRS)
In the Hebrew language, the grammar for the word “make” indicates a future intent, an uncompleted action yet to be fulfilled. The Greek translation (the Septuagint) uses a word in the subjunctive mood. The subjunctive mood is for expressing wishes, suggestions, or desires.
The story of creation is a story of a beginning relationship that joins with an eternal relationship well established beyond the confines of time and space. It is the beginning of our relationship with God. A relationship God desires.
In the Psalms we find the psalmist stating: Psalm 8:4 what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? (Ps. 8:4 NRS). I believe the psalmist also implies, “Why do people matter so much to you God?” Any relationship we have is built on a foundation of some sorts. Why did God create us? What is the foundation for this relationship?
The Scripture (especially the Scripture the Holy Spirit lead the Apostle John to write) states to us the nature of God is love. John writes, in 1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.”(1 Jn. 4:8 NRS), and 1 John 4:16,”So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” (1 Jn. 4:16 NRS) John (by the power of the Holy Spirit) makes it clear that if we are to be in a true relationship with God, the love is the defining factor. God created humanity out of love for the purpose of love. If this is true, then our theology must operate with the definition and boundaries of love.
But what is love and what are its boundaries? These are the questions we must address next.