This is a brief follow-up to last week’s post, “Being emotional is part of what it means to be made in God’s image,” itself a response to a fellow UMC pastor and blogger, Jason Micheli, who argues that God experiences no emotions. Therefore, he says:
Sin doesn’t alter God’s attitude to us; it alters our attitude to him, so that we change him from the God who is simply love and nothing else into this punitive ogre, this satan.
Sin matters enormously to us if we are sinners; it does not matter at all to God.
In a fairly literal sense, he doesn’t give a damn about our sin.
It is we who give damns.
There’s simply no way to reconcile Micheli’s ideas with scripture, as many commenters to his blog posts on the topic have made clear. I found this exchange interesting (click to expand):
So God doesn’t “take offense” at sin. But he “cares in the sense that sin keeps us from being fully alive.” So if this statement is true, how is it true that sin “does not matter at all to God”? Does “at all” not mean at all?
If God allows himself to care in any sense—and Micheli concedes that there is one sense in which God cares—then God is still being affected (which means changed to some extent) by something that we human beings do. To say that God cares because sin keeps us from being fully alive nearly sounds like—I don’t know—regret or sadness on God’s part.
By the logic of the corner he’s painted himself into, I call foul!
But I’m not surprised that any Christian who professes to believe this nonsense would fail to be consistent. So I’m sympathetic with him.
Why can’t he just say God experiences emotion because scripture portrays God as experiencing emotion (frequently)? If some human-made philosophical system fails to account for this fact, then that philosophical system is obviously wrong. After all, classic Christian theology agrees with him that a transcendent God, though knowable, is also incomprehensible to us mere mortals.