The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God

The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God

D. A. Carson, Intervarsity Press

Donald Arthur Carson is a Canadian theologian currently serving as the Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois. He is a remarkable man with the understanding and confidence to tackle the most complex theological issues of our time, such as evangelising to postmoderns and the Emergent Church.

The content of The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God is no exception.
The manuscript came from a series of lectures made to the Dallas Theological Seminary in 1998 and was put together a few years later. The revelation contained within this book is life-changing.

Carson begins with a commentary on how these days, when we speak of the love of God, we speak of him in our comfortable image. We say that God feels the emotions that we feel and through this we purge God of anything uncomfortable.

It is a true but confronting word. Carson goes on to say people are no longer surprised that God loves them and the systematic journey we are taken on brings us to a new revelation on what the love of God really looks like.

By picking and choosing the aspects of God we like, we are treading on dangerous ground and Carson eloquently and sensitively walks the reader through a way back to true understanding.

We learn that God “is” and we humans are always only “becoming”.

We learn that God doesn’t experience emotions like we do; he is certain characteristics and he is unchangeable in them.

For example, we have all heard God is love; what that means, though, is that God doesn’t just love us when we are good but, no matter what we do, God loves us because God cannot do anything else.

For another example, God hates sin, meaning God never changes in God’s hatred for sin.

The 100-page study ends with a studious elegance as we see how God’s love and God’s wrath sit side-by-side the entire New and Old Testament, only to come to a crescendo in the cross of Jesus.

Carson finishes with the powerful words, “Do you wish to see God’s love? Look at the cross. Do you wish to see God’s wrath? Look at the cross.”

And it is there we meet with Jesus once more, our mediator and only hope.
I thoroughly recommend The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God to anyone who wants to understand God more, so that you can love God more.

Callum Iles

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