Tuesday, September 24, 2013

D. A. Carson's book "The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God"

D. A. Carson's book The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God (Crossway, 2000) is small--about 75 pages of text--but very profound.  In this slim volume Carson has packed a great deal of content.  He touches upon lexical studies regarding the word "love" in the New Testament, the doctrine of impassibility, limited atonement, different aspects of the love of God, and the importance of seeing God's love in light of the fulness of all of his attributes.  Here a few comments I was again skimming today:
I do not think that what the Bible says about the love of God can long survive at the forefront of our thinking if it is abstracted from the sovereignty of God, the holiness of God, the wrath of God, the providence of God, or the personhood of God—to mention only a few nonnegotiable elements of basic Christianity.

The result, of course, is that the love of God in our culture has been purged of anything the culture finds uncomfortable.  The love of God has been sanitized, democratized, and above all sentimentalized. p 11

Carson also has a great discussion in which he recognizes five different aspects of God's love.  His five categories are:
a.     The peculiar love of the Father for the Son, and of the Son for the Father

b.     God’s providential love over all the he has made.

c.      God’s salvific stance toward his fallen world

d.     God’s particular, effective, selecting love toward his elect.

e.     God’s love is sometimes said to be directed toward his own people in a provisional or conditional way—conditioned, that is, on obedience. pp 16-21

The great news is that Carson's book is available for free online HERE.  Take up and read!