Leadership

January 4, 2014

Is God Morally Engaged?

More articles by »
Written by: Duane Covrig
Tags: ,

Some people think about being moral. Some people hope to be more moral. Some people plan to be engaged. Some actually are morally engaged and committed.What does it mean to be morally engaged, involved, and committed? Is God morally engaged in our problems?

I can think of no greater example of moral engagement than what was revealed in the Scripture. If He was more pushy with his Presence He would overstep his moral engagement. But His time of moral acts are designed to show His fundamental character of engagement.

The Trinity demonstrated moral commitment by spending for and being spent for their creation. They were driven to meet the needs of others.I see at least five manifestations of this fundamental characteristic of Their nature of moral engagement that can inspire us in our own moral engagement.

The Trinity demonstrated moral commitment by spending for and being spent for their creation.

Creation. Their love creates. We believe this moral engagement of creation was manifested most in the 6-day creation of the world followed by a Sabbath to enjoy creation. However, their creation is ongoing as they can make something out of nothing. The variety of animals and flowers should inspire our own willing to make stuff for others…cooking, sewing, building, restoring. This moral engagement to create was most evident in the creation of humans and procreation. Thus God created a mechanism or engine by which our moral commitment can be shown in having or caring for children. Human creativity for good is a form of moral engagement.

Incarnation. A form of creation, God invests and engages as a human to restore in humans the connection to God they so need. He retains divine power and privilege but exercises it only for humans not for Himself. Coming close, living with, and thorough support for those in the world in need is moral engagement.

Self-sacrificing death/Crucifixion. In Gethsemane and Calvary, Jesus shows the moral and spiritual heart of the Trinity by dying on the cross. While it was not necessary that Jesus die on a cross nor with such brutality from Jews and Romans He did come to die for our sins as the Lamb which takes away the sin of the world. He came to die. His whole life was one of other thinking. It is not just an event—His death—although the Cross forever marks His choice as an event. No, His manifestations of this self-sacrificing love are who He is. It is the fundamental character of God, a characteristic of the nature of moral engagement manifest in the Trinity as a whole. They die…in the deepest meaning of giving up themselves for each another and for the good of creation. This is leadership by sacrifice and no one knows it better than they. Even the Holy Spirit, we are told, does not speak for Himself but comes at Jesus’ request. The dynamic at work within the Trinity is self-sacrificing love toward each other and then toward the creation.

Jesus shows the moral and spiritual heart of the Trinity by dying on the cross.

Resurrection. It would be a tragedy for the world to be without a Savior. It would be a tragedy in the universe if one soul that should live remain dead. So Jesus raised himself from the dead through His father and this same power is in itself a moral act of engagement. It is for us that He was raised and that power will raise all at the last day, some to everlasting life and others to second death (Daniel 12:2). God desires that we all be raised in Him. He had life in Himself, but was raised not merely because of that but that He might be the first fruit in a long line of resurrections. Even in John 11, the raising of Lazarus is a reminder that the resurrection is not an event as much as it is a PERSON. It is evidence of the moral and spiritual and physical engagement of God in this world.

Judgment. Adventists correctly believe in God’s wonderful work of judgment. At this time in the world’s history. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as engaged in the moral response of judgment. It is their nature. But we see, as noted in the events above, that at certain times they manifest their character in events. They are, at the core of their beings, judges. That is NOT judgmentalism. They are NOT criticizers of human behaviors but more deep discerners of our hearts. They know how to bring resolution, restoration, reconciliation from the re-interpretation of the complex situations we find ourselves in. They know about righteousness and the sin and destruction that violates that. They know how it all works and can work out solutions. They see clearly. They have eyes all around that bring complete understanding and meaning to events and episodes (2 Chronicles 16:9). They are not deceived by the pomp and circumstance of hypocrisy nor by the apparent poverty that some label as evil. They know very well what is happening. They know the truths and the deeper thoughts and intents of the heart. Since judgment is who they are, it is only natural for us to expect an event to manifest that judgment.

It would be out of character for a morally engaged God not to judge.

Like the Cross showed the natural self-sacrificing love of God, so judgment–both pre-Advent and Advent version of it, will bring this moral engagement to complete manifestation. They will Judge the world in righteousness (Psalms 82, Daniel 7 and 8, Micah 7:9). God has  “set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30, 31.

In the broadest sense of the word, judgment, God’s Hour or engaged ministry of Judgment, is exactly the moral manifestation that the world most needs now from a morally engaged God.

The day that He set to judge the world is now upon us.It would be out of character for a morally engaged God not to judge. When correctly understood, His judgment—the process of discernment, clarification of meaning, revealing of hearts and deliverance from the contours and context of evil—is in keeping with the Trinity’s past work of moral engagement—creation, incarnation, death, and resurrection. It is what His followers have come to expect from such a faithful God.

No wonder there is worship going on during the judgment scene announced in Revelation 14:6-12. It is a moral rescue act fundamental to the character of Loving Leaders who are morally engaged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some people think about being moral. Some people hope to be more moral. Some people plan to be engaged. Some actually are morally engaged and committed.

What does it mean to be morally engaged, involved, and committed? Is God morally engaged in our problems?

I can think of no greater example of moral engagement than the God revealed in Scripture. If He was more pushy with his Presence He would overstep his moral engagement. But His time of moral acts are designed to show His fundamental character of engagement.

The Trinity demonstrated moral commitment by spending for and being spent for their creation. They were driven to meet the needs of others.

I see at least five manifestations of this fundamental characteristic of Their nature of moral engagement that can inspire us in our own moral engagement.

The Trinity demonstrated moral commitment by spending for and being spent for their creation.

Creation. Their love creates. We believe this moral engagement of creation was manifested most in the 6-day creation of the world followed by a Sabbath to enjoy creation. However, their creation is ongoing as they can make something out of nothing. The variety of animals and flowers should inspire our own willing to make stuff for others…cooking, sewing, building, restoring. This moral engagement to create was most evident in the creation of humans and procreation. Thus God created a mechanism or engine by which our moral commitment can be shown in having or caring for children. Human creativity for good is a form of moral engagement.

Incarnation. A form of creation, God invests and engages as a human to restore in humans the connection to God they so need. He retains divine power and privilege but exercises it only for humans not for Himself. Coming close, living with, and thorough support for those in the world in need is moral engagement.

Self-sacrificing death/Crucifixion. In Gethsemane and Calvary, Jesus shows the moral and spiritual heart of the Trinity by dying on the cross. While it was not necessary that Jesus die on a cross nor with such brutality from Jews and Romans He did come to die for our sins as the Lamb which takes away the sin of the world. He came to die. His whole life was one of other thinking. It is not just an event—His death—although the Cross forever marks His choice as an event. No, His manifestations of this self-sacrificing love are who He is. It is the fundamental character of God, a characteristic of the nature of moral engagement manifest in the Trinity as a whole. They die…in the deepest meaning of giving up themselves for each another and for the good of creation. This is leadership by sacrifice and no one knows it better than they. Even the Holy Spirit, we are told, does not speak for Himself but comes at Jesus’ request. The dynamic at work within the Trinity is self-sacrificing love toward each other and then toward the creation.

Jesus shows the moral and spiritual heart of the Trinity by dying on the cross.

Resurrection. It would be a tragedy for the world to be without its Savior. It would be a tragedy in the universe if one soul that should live remain dead. So Jesus raised himself from the dead through His father and this same power is itself a moral act of engagement. It is for us that He was raised and that power will raise all at the last day, some to everlasting life and others to second death (Daniel 12:2). God desires that we all be raised in Him. He had life in Himself, but was raised not merely because of that but that He might be the first fruit in a long line of resurrections. Even in John 11, the raising of Lazarus is a reminder that the resurrection is not an event as much as it is a PERSON. It is evidence of the moral and spiritual and physical engagement of God in this world.

Judgment. Adventists correctly believe in God’s wonderful work of judgment at this time in the world’s history. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as engaged in the moral response of judgment. It is their nature. But we see, as noted in the events above, that at certain times they manifest their character in events. They are, at the core of their beings, judges. That is NOT judgmentalism. They are NOT criticizers of human behaviors but more deep discerners of our hearts. They know how to bring resolution, restoration, reconciliation from the re-interpretation of the complex situations we find ourselves in. They know about righteousness and the sin and destruction that violates that. They know how it all works and can work out solutions. They see clearly. They have eyes all around that bring complete understanding and meaning to events and episodes (2 Chronicles 16:9). They are not deceived by the pomp and circumstance of hypocrisy nor by the apparent poverty that some label as evil. They know very well what is happening. They know the truths and the deeper thoughts and intents of the heart. Since judgment is who they are, it is only natural for us to expect an event to manifest that judgment.

It would be out of character for a morally engaged God not to judge.

Like the Cross showed the natural self-sacrificing love of God, so judgment–both pre-Advent and Advent version of it, will bring this moral engagement to complete manifestation. They will Judge the world in righteousness (Psalms 82, Daniel 7 and 8, Micah 7:9). God has  “set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:30, 31.

In the broadest sense of the word, judgment, God’s Hour or engaged ministry of Judgment, is exactly the moral manifestation that the world most needs now from a morally engaged God.

The day that He set to judge the world is now upon us and it would be out of character for a morally engaged God not to judge. When correctly understood, His judgment—the process of discernment, clarification of meaning, revealing of hearts and deliverance from the contours and context of evil—is in keeping with the Trinity’s past work of moral engagement—creation, incarnation, death, and resurrection. It is what His followers have come to expect from such a faithful God.

No wonder there is worship going on during the judgment scene announced in Revelation 14:6-12. It is a moral rescue act fundamental to the character of Loving Leaders who are Morally Engaged.

 



About the Author

Duane Covrig
I teach leadership and ethics at Andrews University. I am a Seventh-day Adventist eager for the Second Coming of Christ and positive about His judgment hour work (Rev 14:6-12). I use that reality to understand morality and ethics.




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.