Does God define Love or does Love define God?

Rob Bell states in his book “]]” the following: “Although God is powerful and mighty, when it comes to the human heart God has to play by the same rules we do. God has to respect our freedom to choose to the very end, even at the risk of the relationship itself. If at any point God overrides, co-opts, or hijacks the human heart, robbing us of our freedom to choose, then God has violated the fundamental essence of what love even is.”

I have a few issues with this portion taken from Rob’s chapter titled “Does God really get what God wants?”
Firstly, simply starting a sentence with “Although God is powerful and mighty …” makes me cringe. To paraphrase what I am hearing here – God might be powerful, but not all-powerful; God might be mighty, but not all-mighty. And that thought or proclamation does not sit well in my stomach.

Secondly, and the very next part of the same sentence Rob states “God has to play by the same rules we do.” Huh? If this is the case, then everyone should stop praying for miracles. If you can’t make few loaves of bread and a few fish feed thousands of people, then neither can God. I know I take this statement of his too far, but I do so to illustrate just how Rob, throughout this book, takes and stretches the scripture way too far. Case in point: Rob conveniently doesn’t speak of God hardening Pharaoh’s heart.

Thirdly, “If at any point God overrides … our freedom to choose, then God has violated the fundamental essence of what love even is.” So, I guess this book is aptly titled, because “Love,” according to this statement, has dominion over God. Maybe, for clarity sake, Rob should have titled the book, “Sorry God, but Love wins. Not you.”

I never wanted to bash ]]. I have always liked him, at least what I know from his Nooma series. I don’t agree with everything he says in them, but they start some really good conversation. Rob has a way of taking the complex and stating it in a simple, easy to understand way. The only problem is that God is not simple, nor easy to understand. Our relationship with our Lord and savior is one based in duality that is not easily understood. Never was. Sorry Rob, but God wins. Not you.

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