Friday, February 3, 2012

God is not a Democrat (an observation by an orthodox rebel)

"Love is not an attribute of God, it is God; whatever God is, love is. If your concept of love does not agree with justice, judgment, purity, and holiness, then your idea of love is wrong. It is not love you conceive of in your mind, but some vague infinite foolishness, all tears and softness and of infinite weakness." -Oswald Chambers

"Love loves unto purity. Love has ever in view the absolute loveliness of that which it beholds. Where loveliness is incomplete, and love cannot love its fill of loving, it spends itself to make more lovely, that it may love more.... Therefore all that is not beautiful in the beloved, all that comes between and is not of love's kind, must be destroyed. And our God is a consuming fire." -George MacDonald

Our society's long-standing shallow view of tolerance has produced a strong internal notion to accept ourselves and others "just the way we are". This is not necessarily a bad thing. Outer appearances should in no way be a litmus test for a person's dignity and value as a human being, and ofttimes what certain callous persons refer to as "flaws" in others are merely quirks that serve as facets to a person's unique and individual essence. Christian orthodoxy sets a standard for human worth that is simpler and yet higher than such paltry things as looks, education, status, class, race, gender, or even behavior. That standard is the imago dei, which we all meet simply by being born. It is God who determines are value, and no one else.

That being said, God's standard and our toleration are both double-edged swords. The latter is so, because it would have us believe that "who we are" (or who we make ourselves to be) is as good as it will get for us, and the idea that we should "love ourselves" means that we should just be satisfied with what we get. The former, however, knows no such satisfaction. Who we are is valuable, but who we are is not the end. We are what we are, but we are not what we ought. For there is another doctrine of Christian orthodoxy called the Fall, and if it says anything at all, it says that we are not who we ought to be. Herein lies the danger of our self-satisfaction: to be content with a categorically valuable and yet lesser state of being when there is a higher one available to us; and God is saying, "Friend, go up higher."

Judging people by our shallow personal standards is wrong, but not because people are ultimately "fine the way they are". Rather, it is wrong because (as stated before) we are not the judge of human value: God is. We "judge not" because we are not the judge; but (much to the chagrin of our postmodern society) there is a judge, and though He loves us for who we are (i.e., the imago dei) He also loves what we ought to be. There is an excellence of existence for which we were created for, an excellence that is nothing short of God Himself, for it is His glory that we have fallen short of (Rom. 3:23).

A democracy cannot stand excellence, and it is an unfortunate element of modern society (which worships at the altar of democracy) that we would rather view excellence with suspicion and tear it down to our level than aspire and try to ascend to its. We sense that there is something intrinsically undemocratic about glory, about perfection, about holiness; but unfortunately for us, God is not a democrat. He is a King and a Father, and He will see His children be like Him. Not for His sake, but for ours, so that we may finally know the infinite satisfaction in being what we ought, of being like Him by knowing Him fully and absolutely and intimately forever and ever. That is life more abundant, and it is available to everyone born in the imago dei. God's hand is stretched down towards us all. It is a human hand, riven and strong; and know this: it is only our self-centered, democratically fueled sentiments that claim no higher standard than their own private one, it is only our shallow toleration of our self, that will make us spit at the grace of God.

-Jon Vowell (c) 2012


  1. Man, I thank God for his work on the Internet. Another great and insightful post!

  2. Good to hear from you, Cristiano. I hope everything is well with you. 8^)