Monday, February 13, 2012

David Wells on God's Holiness

That God is dangerous in his holiness should not be dismissed as if it were a primitive idea, beyond which we have now evolved.  It is, in fact, a reality toward which we are all moving, for in the end God's holiness will prove to be the final line of resistance to all that is wrong, all that is evil in the world.  The day is coming when truth will be placed forever on the throne, and error forever on the scaffold.  (p. 142)

So it is when we succeed in cloaking the holiness of God, in focusing on his love to the exclusion of his wrath, we unsettle the whole moral universe.  We create a God who may be patient, kindly, and compassionate but who is without the will to resist what is wrong, without the will to judge it, and without the power to destroy it.  Such a God lacks the moral earnestness to attract our attention, let alone inspire our belief or warrant our worship.  Such a God is not the God of the Bible, is the not the God of Jesus Christ....When holiness slips from sight, so, too, does the centrality of Christ.  (p. 143)

Without the holiness of God, sin has no meaning and grace has no point, for it is God's holiness that gives to the one its definition and to the other its greatness.  (p. 144)

God is holy and we place ourselves in great peril if we seek to render him a plaything of our piety, an ornamental decoration on the religious life, a product to answer our inward dissatisfactions.  God offers himself on his own terms or not at all.  (p. 145)

From: David Wells God in the Wasteland: The Reality of Truth in a World of Fading Dreams (Eerdmans, 1994)