Does Man Have God's Emotions?
Good News Magazine
January 1986
Volume: Vol XXXIII, NO. 1
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Does Man Have God's Emotions?

   God's purpose in creating human life is to reproduce Himself by adding spirit-born children to His Family (John 3:3, 6, 8). When God made us in His own image, He gave us the potential for the same basic emotions He Himself possesses: the ability to laugh when we are happy, to cry when sad, to become angry when sins mount, to be jealous when someone is unfaithful, to feel indignation when things are wrong and to love when we are loved.
   Emotions are good: They give life its color and zest. The difference between us and God is that God controls His emotions, whereas, all too often, our emotions control us.
   One major purpose God had in mind in creating us as humans subject to death, before giving us ever lasting life as spirit beings, is to teach us to control our emotions. Obeying the Ten Commandments and keeping all the other laws God gave us is often little more than exercising proper control over our emotions — which, in turn, control our drives and actions.

God's own emotions
   God's strongest emotion is love. He is love (I John 4:8, 16). His every action is based upon love. God's whole philosophy is sharing Himself, along with everything in the universe, with those He loves.
   Man's greatest emotion is also love, but man has perverted his love and turned it inward, following the "get" philosophy rather than God's "give" philosophy. Even the highest forms of human love, such as the love of a mother for her child, are based on concern and care for one's extended self.
   We love God because He first loved us (I John 4:19). The greatest commandment is that we love God with all our heart, mind and strength. The second greatest commandment is that we love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:29-31).
   Hatred is the opposite of love — and God also expresses hatred. Solomon tells us there is a time to hate (Ecclesiastes 3:8). God hates evil and every manifestation of it — pride, deceit, violence, selfishness (Psalm 5:5-6, 11:5, 45:7).
   God expresses anger when con fronted with rebelliousness and evil. But God never loses control, and His anger works for positive purposes (Nahum 1:2, 6, Psalm 7:11, Judges 10:7, Jeremiah 30:24). Sin provokes God to anger (Deuteronomy 32:21).
   Anger is not an emotion we must stifle and never use. God tells us there are times when we should be angry, but we should never let anger lead us to sin (Ephesians 4:26).
   Fear is also an emotion God expresses, but not in the way humans fear. The wrong type of fear — faithlessness, paranoia and mere fear of punishment because we have sinned, for example — will keep us out of God's Kingdom (Revelation 21:8).
   God cannot sin because He wills not to sin. In that sense He fears to do wrong or cause wrong consequences. This is a right emotion we should possess (II Samuel 1:14). The human fear of, God is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7,9:10). God has pleasure in those who fear Him (Psalm 147:11).
   God is a jealous God (Exodus 20:5, Deuteronomy 4:24). One of His names is Jealous ' (Exodus 34:14). The first two of the Ten Commandments forbid idolatry and express God's intolerance of unfaithfulness, which is what godly jealousy is. The Seventh Commandment states His intolerance of unfaithfulness to a marriage partner (Exodus 20:3-6, 14).
   One of Elijah's strongest attributes was that he was jealous for God (I Kings 19:10). Jealousy has its right place among our emotions (II Corinthians 11:2). When rightly applied, it should provoke us to good works (Romans 11:11). The spirit of jealousy should never be competitive, but protective (Song of Solomon 8:6).

Positive uses
   God expresses grief (Genesis 6:6, Psalm 78:40, Hebrews 3:10); Jesus Himself wept (John 11:35). God expresses supreme joy (Matthew 25:21, 23, Luke 15:10, Galatians 5:22). He experiences indignation (Isaiah 34:2) and He knows sorrow (Isaiah 53:3). "Godly sorrow," says II Corinthians 7:10, "produces repentance to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death." God feels concern (Deuteronomy 5:29), exercises patience and offers comfort (Romans 15:5, II Peter 3:9).
   God is humble and merciful, passive at times, vengeful at other times, but, above all, always in control of His emotions, as we should be, using "5 them properly and for positive, right purposes. God always radiates the wonderful fruits of His Spirit, chief of which are love, joy and peace (Galatians 5:22-23).

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Good News MagazineJanuary 1986Vol XXXIII, NO. 1