Before we can heal the brokenness in the world, we must diagnose the deeper issues of what causes brokenness. We must understand who God is, why He created humankind and what causes people to change. In our new book Becoming Whole: Why the Opposite of Poverty Isn’t the American Dream we will help you dive deeper into the challenges of human brokenness and, hopefully, find a path forward that will reshape you and your ministry in a way that moves all of us toward becoming whole.
What was God doing before He created the world? Was He bored? More importantly, was God able to be loving even before He made angels, people, or trees?
Christians believe that God was never bored, nor was there a time when He wasn’t full of love. How can that be? Because this one God always has been a Trinity. From all eternity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have existed in loving, intimate communion. At the very core of God’s triune being is love, for “God is love” (1 John 4:8). It may sound strange, but it is true and right: God loves Himself. This is only possible because of the distinctive truth that this God is eternally Father, Son, and Spirit.
God did not create the world in order to become loving. Rather, he created because he is loving. If we’re ever going to reflect God’s heart to a hurting world, we must start with this basic truth: God is love. And since He creates the physical world out of His triune love, He doesn’t reluctantly love the goldfish, clouds, mountains, and elephants. He does so freely and joyfully. Similarly, no one has to convince God to look with compassion on a hurting child or homeless person. God loves each and every one of us as His creations. And because the loving Creator loves all His creatures, it makes sense that we should too.
Because God loves before He creates the physical world, love precedes matter. We need to be careful with this truth because matter really matters. In fact, the Western church’s underappreciation of the physical realm has created all sorts of problems. Yet while the material world is deeply important to God, there is a sense in which loving relationships are even more ultimate, more foundational, and more solid to the working of the cosmos than the sidewalk under our feet. God’s love is more trustworthy than the very ground we walk on.4
The loving relationships within the inner life of the Trinity overflow not simply as the triune God creates His world, but He continues to care for it. God didn’t just wind up the world like a watch and then hope it would keep running on its own. No, God remains actively concerned about His world. The entire cosmos was originally created and is now sustained by the Father, through the Son, and in the Spirit (Gen. 1:1–2; John 1:1–10; Rom. 8:18–27; Col. 1:15–20; Heb. 1:1–3). God is not detached from the everyday affairs of this world. Rather, as a relational being, He is deeply and actively involved with His world, “sustaining all things by his powerful word” (Heb. 1:3).
How amazing that the all-powerful God, who is seated in the heavens, actually cares for each sparrow’s flight, for every hair on our head, and even for the cattle owned by the wicked (Matt. 10:29–30; Jonah 4:11)! God’s triune love is the basis of His relationship with all creation. Love really does make the world go ’round.
Adapted and abridged from Becoming Whole: Why the Opposite of Poverty Isn’t the American Dream by Brian Fikkert and Kelley M. Kapic (©2019). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission.