“If God is love, then why does evil exist? Why does He send people to Hell? Why do bad things happen?” These are questions that we all face at one point or another and they don’t have easy answers. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do believe these questions have answers, I just don’t believe they are easy answers. In short, for any and every “why” question we can bring to God or the Bible or Christianity, “for the glory of God” is a wholly sufficient and biblical answer. Is that easy? No. It’s not. It leaves us sitting in a lot of confusing tension trying to reconcile glory with suffering, love with hell, pain with beauty. But I believe that this truth is crucial to understanding God, reality, and the history of the world; especially the moment that we find ourselves in.
The prevailing theology of today is that God is only a God of love. Yes, this is a chief attribute of God (1 John 4:8), but it’s not all that He is. God is just (Isaiah 61:8), God is kind (Psalm 25:10), God is good (Psalm 106:1), God is severe (Romans 11:22), God is wise (Job 12:13), God is mighty (Job 12:13), God is wrathful (Psalm 5:4-6), and God is supreme (Deuteronomy 10:17).
All of these are attributes of God, and God is all of these attributes and more. But we make a severe mistake whenever we elevate one or a few of these attributes over any others. These attributes aren’t different “components” of God that exist within Him to varying degrees. They are all equally part of who He is. God isn’t a God made up of love, wrath, anger, wisdom, justice, might, etc. He just is. And everything He does He does out of His simple essence, not out of love, wrath, anger, whatever. But out of His “God-ness.” (This is called the doctrine of divine simplicity).
The uniting of all of these attributes into one simple essence results in God being glorious. Which leads me to the main point I’m trying to make here. A lot of the hard things in the Bible are resolved when you understand one thing: that God is not out to show His love to every single person, God is out to show His glory to every single person. Which, by necessity, means that if God’s revelation of Himself is His chief goal, then it is the revelation of His glory that He is seeking to achieve. Not the revelation of His love, His anger, His kindness, His mercy, His wisdom–but Him, as He is. Just simply God.
And since humans are incapable of experiencing the fullness of God’s glory (this side of heaven), He has to limit what He shows to whom. For some, God’s glory is seen in love. For others God’s glory is seen in patience. Still others, justice; some, His wrath; some, His long suffering; His kindness for others, and His severity towards more still.
The display of His glory is His chief pursuit, and where we go wrong is when we equate God’s love with His glory at the expense of every other attribute that makes Him truly glorious, and we scratch our head in confusion, or even doubt our faith completely, when we read of God acting in a way that doesn’t fit what *we* feel *He* should do.
We will not bow one day and profess Him to be the Lover of lovers, but the King of kings. And kings must exercise judicial reign over their kingdoms.
We have a God that is more than love. We have a God that is glorious. And our created purpose is to rejoice in and magnify the manifold excellencies that comprise this supreme attribute of Glory, however He chooses to display it.