[Love-2.1-15] Eusebius. Oh! Theophilus, you have forced me now to speak, and I cannot contain the Joy that I feel in this Expectation which you have raised in me. If you can make the Scriptures do all that which you have promised to Theogenes, I shall be in Paradise before I die. For to know that Love alone was the Beginning of Nature and Creature, that nothing but Love encompasses the whole Universe of Things, that the governing Hand that overrules all, the watchful Eye that sees through all, is nothing but omnipotent and omniscient Love, using an Infinity of Wisdom, to raise all that is fallen in Nature, to save every misguided Creature from the miserable Works of its own Hands, and make Happiness and Glory the perpetual Inheritance of all the Creation is a Reflection that must be quite ravishing to every intelligent Creature that is sensible of it. Thus to think of God, of Providence, and Eternity, whilst we are in this Valley and Shadow of Death, is to have a real Foretaste of the Blessings of the World to come. Pray, therefore, let us hear how the Letter of Scripture is a Proof of this God of Love.
To know God as Love seems to commonplace for comment. But post-moderns mistake God as Love with God as Sympathizing Sentimentality. God is not sentimental. God does not affirm us in our sinful rebellion against Him. Love is Wrath when we reject His Will. The Love we speak of here is the Being of Power who enlivens and quickens invisibly all things simultaneously. This Love pierces and penetrates every being with that potential meaning towards which it strives. It is omniscient and omnipotent. It is All-Wise. This Love offers to lift all fallen creatures back into the realization of their ends and to thereby perfect them. This Love offers to reward willful obedience with Happiness and Glory. This Love is never forced. It must be desired and embraced by the mind and the heart, through reason and will. Every creature who becomes sensible of this Love through intelligence will be seized, captured, and ravished with delight. The contrary nature of the Divine Love as perceived ‘in the valley and shadow of death’ stands only to reinforce desire of it and transformation by it. But before we move on with Love, we must examine the nature and condition of Wrath. Such will better enable us to understand God as Love.
[Love-2.1-17] Now there are two Things, both of them visible to your outward Senses, which entirely open the true Ground and Nature of Wrath, and undeniably show what it is in itself, from whence it arises, and wherein its Life, and Strength, and Being consist. And these two Things are, a Tempest in the Elements of this World, and a raging Sore in the Body of Man, or any other Animal. Now that a Tempest in the Elements is Wrath in the Elements, and a Sore in the Body of an Animal a Wrath in the State of the Juices of the Body, is a Matter, I think, that needs no Proof or Explication. Consider, then, how or why a Tempest arises in the Elements, or an inflamed Sore in the Body, and then you have the true Ground and Nature of Wrath. Now a Tempest does not, cannot arise in the Elements whilst they are in their right State, in their just Mixture or Union with one another. A Sore does not, cannot break forth in the Body, whilst the Body is altogether in its true State and Temperature of its Juices. Hence you plainly see, that Wrath has its whole Nature, and only Ground of its Existence, in and by the Disorder or bad State of the Thing in which it exists and works. It can have no Place of Existence, no Power of breaking forth, but where the Thing has lost its proper Perfection, and is not as it ought to be. And therefore no good Being, that is in its proper State of Goodness, can, whilst it is in such a State, have any Wrath or Rage in it. And therefore, as a Tempest of any kind in the Elements, is a sure Proof that the Elements are not in their right State, but under Disorder, as a raging Sore in the Body is a certain Indication that the Body is impure and corrupt, and not as it should be; so in whatever Mind, or intelligent Being, Wrath or Rage works and breaks forth, there, there is Proof enough, that the Mind is in that same impure, corrupt, and disordered State, as those Elements that raise a Tempest, and that Body which gives forth an inflamed Sore. And now, Gentlemen, what think you of a supposed Wrath, or Rage in God? Will you have such Things to be in the Deity itself as cannot have Place or Existence even in any Creature, until it is become disordered and impure and has lost its proper State of Goodness?
God cannot be in a state of Wrath, Rage, Ire, Fury, or Anger. In His Nature, He is one with the created universe. To Him, the created universe is wholly Good, True, and Beautiful. Even sinners sinning in their sins can only ever be some Rational and Logical Part of the Good that is established and Being Fulfilled. Wrath, Rage, Ire, Fury, and Anger are expressed at disorder and impurity. To God the greatest of evils are the poorest of choices in a nevertheless rich and abundant Providential Plan that will unfold despite bad angels and sinning men’s rejection of Him. God can turn all evil to good and all sin to the benefit of His Unchanging Love. His Love is Unchanging and thus He never ceases to desire the worst of sinners, though they have willed their eternal destiny in the furthestmost depths of Hell. God’s Love extends into Hell itself and the greatest anguish is felt in the hearts of those who have denied its effectual offer for the highest happiness and joy.
St. Michael and All Angels Sermons