Is God's Love Conditional?

Public forum for topics that don't fit into the other categories.
User avatar
HiJolly
Posts: 471
Joined: 11 Feb 2009, 21:25

Re: Is God's Love Conditional?

Post by HiJolly » 05 Apr 2011, 14:43

mercyngrace wrote:
HiJolly wrote:Elder Nelson was asked to write the article with a particular emphasis and so was approaching the subject with a point in mind. So it's not at all a balanced approach, and he says so (after the fact). It was not intended to be all encompasing, from his statement (which I can't find right now, darn it!)

Unconditional, overwhelming and universal love is an eternal attribute of God.


HiJolly
HiJolly!

If you find it, please post this! I've had discussions with so many people since he gave that talk who have misconstrued his words, applying them like modern day Zoramites to elevate themselves over their "wayard" brethren.

I would love to be able to provide this context and change the tone of those discussions.

MnG

I know what you mean. I just looked thru my files and didn't see it. The thing is, I don't think it is a document, but rather an image of a letter. So it's hard to find. I'll look more later.


HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

behappy
Posts: 33
Joined: 11 Aug 2010, 20:11

Re: Is God's Love Conditional?

Post by behappy » 05 Apr 2011, 15:26

HiJolly- thanks for the explanation. Nelson's article is a very funny way to say that God will not bless you if you sin. I now want to know how does God bless our lives? In conference over the weekend I heard that if you pay your tithing God will bless you with all sorts of things from the blessings of heaven to fire insurance to protecting you from divorce. Trouble is I don't see God as giving anyone any of these "Goodies" regardless of their behavior or tithing status. The only way I see God blessing our lives is through His love. I don't see God intervening in any other way.

The idea that God blesses humans with goodies does not correspond with what I see in the world. Why would God bless my family with a house or safe travels when he allows children to go without food or allows the genital mutilation of little girls. Do I feel fortunate or blessed for my life? ABSOLUTELY!! But do I see God withholding or granting material blessing or protections to anyone? Absolutely not.

User avatar
HiJolly
Posts: 471
Joined: 11 Feb 2009, 21:25

Re: Is God's Love Conditional?

Post by HiJolly » 05 Apr 2011, 15:52

behappy wrote:HiJolly- thanks for the explanation. Nelson's article is a very funny way to say that God will not bless you if you sin. I now want to know how does God bless our lives? In conference over the weekend I heard that if you pay your tithing God will bless you with all sorts of things from the blessings of heaven to fire insurance to protecting you from divorce. Trouble is I don't see God as giving anyone any of these "Goodies" regardless of their behavior or tithing status. The only way I see God blessing our lives is through His love. I don't see God intervening in any other way.

The idea that God blesses humans with goodies does not correspond with what I see in the world. Why would God bless my family with a house or safe travels when he allows children to go without food or allows the genital mutilation of little girls. Do I feel fortunate or blessed for my life? ABSOLUTELY!! But do I see God withholding or granting material blessing or protections to anyone? Absolutely not.
It's pretty confusing, isn't it. Do you think a valid or accurate understanding of God comes through science, or religion? Objective facts, or psychology?

My view is that things happen to everyone, and our job is to fashion our world view primarily from what happens to us. Thus, being based on information only known in its entirety by ourselves, our lives become a reflection of our experience and how we deal with that experience. This is how religion works in relation to our lives. As you can see, it's not an objective, scientific process. But we have to go through it, regardless of any objections as to how it works.

The Bible tells us to attribute all good things to the beneficence of God. And there is a very solid psychological reason to do so, if you "fear God". I like the following quote:

"Isn't it better to believe in a loving universe than a hostile one? We will be different people if we believe everything is motivated by love rather than if we believe everything is motivated by greed or hatred. Beliefs are less statements about reality than meditative practices to change the believer's attitudes."
~~Toby Johnson in *Gay Spirituality*

I choose to believe God is generous and gives me blessings daily. My choice, yes, but that choice also delivers results in ways I can't rationally understand. Experience tells me that it's real for me, and that's where the rubber meets the road.


HiJolly
Men are not moved by events but by their interpretations.
-- The Stoic Epictetus

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16679
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Is God's Love Conditional?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 05 Apr 2011, 21:40

Context is VERY important in this conversation, and Elder Nelson was addressing a fairly common belief in religion (even in some parts of Christianity) that God loves us so much that he would never punish us (or withhold blessings from us) - no matter what we do. That idea is known as "easy grace" in some circles.

I wrote a post on my own blog in September of last year specifically about this topic. It is rather short, so instead of linking it here I simply will copy and paste the text:
God feels love unconditionally for every single, solitary, faithful or rebellious child - just as I do for my own children (including our “foster” children and those who simply lived with us for a while). My love for “my kids” is not restricted by biological ties; I love every kid who has used our house as a temporary, get-my-life-back-together sleeping pad unconditionally, as well. In this most fundamental way, God’s love truly is unconditional - and felt for and extended to all.

In the Bible, however, there is a STRONG theme of love being proven, expressed or manifested in action - that true love is MUCH more than just a feeling or emotion. (For example, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” - John 14:15) This obviously pertains to us and our requirement to do more than say we love God. (”Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my father which is in Heaven.” - Matthew 7:21)

Within this concept is the central idea that “love” also includes the “rewards” of love returned - of “reciprocal love” or “covenant love”. This type of “shared love” is NOT unconditional, as it requires the fulfillment of conditions in order to receive the rewards promised by the giver’s love. The giver’s unconditional love extends the reward to all, but only those who accept that offer and requite their own love in return receive the full, “unconditional” gift. (the gift that includes no condition or restriction but provides all to the receiver) The key addition to the Christian conversation of godly love by Mormonism is that FULL, godly love exists only in a covenant relationship, where the receiver reflects the gift and unlocks the door to the rewards promised by God to His children who truly do "come follow me".


I didn't quote a particularly relevant verse in that post, but I also would add here the idea that "ye are my friends, IF ye do whatsoever I command you."
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

Brown
Posts: 344
Joined: 28 Feb 2011, 01:23

Re: Is God's Love Conditional?

Post by Brown » 05 Apr 2011, 22:19

I love my kids more than anything and yet I have given them a good spanking , yelled at them and even made them do terrible chores or go to bed early.

User avatar
Orson
Site Admin
Posts: 2252
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 14:44

Re: Is God's Love Conditional?

Post by Orson » 06 Apr 2011, 00:22

I agree Ray, but I think it's a terrible way to word it. I have known parents that withhold any demonstration of their love to children who are acting up, I think this just irritates the situation. I hate the thought of these actions getting some form of approval. Should a child see consequences for his actions? Absolutely. Should he feel shunned and unworthy of love? Absolutely not.

Conditional love is not love at all, it is selfishness.

Conditional rewards is an entirely different subject, the key word for this discussion is love.
My avatar - both physical and spiritual.

I first found faith, and thought I had all truth. I then discovered doubt, and claimed a more accurate truth. Now I’ve greeted paradox and a deeper truth than I have ever known.

User avatar
cwald
Posts: 3628
Joined: 10 Aug 2015, 06:39

Re: Is God's Love Conditional?

Post by cwald » 06 Apr 2011, 07:31

Orson wrote:I agree Ray, but I think it's a terrible way to word it. I have known parents that withhold any demonstration of their love to children who are acting up, I think this just irritates the situation. I hate the thought of these actions getting some form of approval. Should a child see consequences for his actions? Absolutely. Should he feel shunned and unworthy of love? Absolutely not.

Conditional love is not love at all, it is selfishness.

Conditional rewards is an entirely different subject, the key word for this discussion is love.
Well said.
  Jesus gave us the gospel, but Satan invented church. It takes serious evil to formalize faith into something tedious and then pile guilt on anyone who doesn't participate enthusiastically. - Robert Kirby

Curt Sunshine
Site Admin
Posts: 16679
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: Is God's Love Conditional?

Post by Curt Sunshine » 06 Apr 2011, 07:51

I agree, Orson, that I would not have chosen to word it the way Elder Nelson did if I had given the talk. I agree totally.

However, as I said, Elder Nelson was addressing an actual teaching within much of Christianity - and that teaching focuses on God's love being such that we can do whatever we want and still be saved as long as we tell God how wonderful he is. I might disagree with the exact way he chose to word it, but the concept he taught is not wrong, imo - especially as it relates to the idea he was refuting.

That's all I'm saying. It's very easy to make the man an offender for a word (and, thereby, totally dismiss the message - which I have seen done in many places), but it's much harder to consider the message he actually presented and grant that it was an important message but just had a less-than-ideal delivery method.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

User avatar
Heber13
Site Admin
Posts: 7152
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: Is God's Love Conditional?

Post by Heber13 » 08 Sep 2015, 11:45

Rob and SD recently on another thread brought up the church teaching "conditional love".

I found this discussion in the archives from the past and really liked the points made about reward vs love.

Unconditional love scares me. It makes me think I am supposed to feel a certain way about others no matter what they do to me.
Conditional love scares me. It makes me feel cold that I use love as a manipulative tool.

I'm not sure what you all think if as a church we are taught conditional love or unconditional love.

But I love this...
HiJolly wrote:"Isn't it better to believe in a loving universe than a hostile one? We will be different people if we believe everything is motivated by love rather than if we believe everything is motivated by greed or hatred. Beliefs are less statements about reality than meditative practices to change the believer's attitudes."
~~Toby Johnson in *Gay Spirituality*

I choose to believe God is generous and gives me blessings daily. My choice, yes, but that choice also delivers results in ways I can't rationally understand. Experience tells me that it's real for me, and that's where the rubber meets the road.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

User avatar
hawkgrrrl
Site Admin
Posts: 3518
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 16:27

Re: Is God's Love Conditional?

Post by hawkgrrrl » 08 Sep 2015, 12:10

I think this goes back to our fundamental view of mankind. Some focus on "the natural man is an enemy to God" and others focus on "know ye not that ye are the sons of God" or as I put it in my Mormon Jargon post, we are "craven perverts in the image of God." It's a contradictory teaching, but that's because some people prefer to think of our human failings and others prefer to think of our divine potential.

Post Reply