This entire post is an excerpt from one of my favorite books to sit and ponder over. I hope you enjoy…
God Creator of the Will
An excerpt from Discovering the Heart of God
Written By George MacDonald
Compiled, Arranged and Edited by Michael R Phillips
Separation – The Path to True Unity
All things are possible with God, but all things are not easy. It is easy for Him to be, for there he has to do with his own perfect will. It is not easy for him to create- that is, after the grand fashion which alone will satisfy his glorious heart and will, the fashion in which alone will satisfy his glorious heart and will, the fashion in which he is now creating us. In the very nature of being (that is, God), it must be hard – and divine history shows how hard – to create that which shall not be himself, yet like himself.
The problem is, so far to separate from himself that which must yet on him be ever and always and utterly dependent, that it shall have the existence of an individual, and be able to turn and regard him – choose him, and say, “I will arise and go to my Father,” and so develop in itself the highest divine of which it is capable: the will for the good against the evil, the will to be one with the life whence it has come, the will to shape in its own life the ring of eternity, to be the thing the Maker thought of when he willed, before he began to work its being.
I imagine the difficulty of doing this thing, of effecting this creation, this separation from himself such that will in the creature shall be possible – I imagine, I say, the difficulty of such creation so great, that for it God must begin inconceivably far back in the infinitesimal regions of beginnings, to set in motion the division from himself which in its grand result should be individuality, consciousness, choice, and conscious choice – choice at last pure, being the choice of right, the true, the divinely harmonious.
Hence the final end is oneness – an impossibility without it. For there can be no unity, no delight in love, no harmony, no good in being, where there is but one.
Two at least are needed for oneness; and the greater the number of individuals, the greater, the lovelier, the richer, the diviner is the possible unity.
God’s Sacrifice to Give Divine Life
God is life, and the will-source of life.
In the out-flowing of that life, I know him. I know nothing deeper in him than love, nor believe there is in him anything deeper than love – nay, that there can be anything deeper than love.
The being of God is love, therefore creation. From all eternity he has been creating. As he saw it was not good for man to be alone, so God has never been alone himself; from all eternity the Father has had the Son, and in the never-begun existence of that Son I imagine an easy outgoing of the Father’s nature; while to make other beings – beings like us – I imagine the labor of God an eternal labor. Speaking after our poor human fashions of thought, I imagine that God has never been contented to be alone even with the Son of his love, the prime and perfect idea of humanity, but that God has from the first willed and labored to give existence to other creatures who should be blessed with his blessedness – creatures whom he is now and has always been developing in likeness with that Son.
God knew what it would all cost – not energy of will alone, or merely that utterance and separation from himself, but sore suffering such as we cannot imagine, and could only be God’s – in the bringing out, call it birth or development, of the God-life in the individual soul. This suffering is always renewed, a labor thwarted ever by that soul itself, compelling God to take, still at the cost of suffering, the not absolute best, only the best possible means left him by the resistance of his creature. Man finds it hard to get what he wants, because he does not want the best. God finds it hard to give, because he would give the best, and man will not take it. What Jesus did, was what the Father is always doing. The suffering he endured was that of the Father from the foundation of the world, reaching its climax in the person of his Son.
God always provides the sacrifice; the sacrifice is himself. He is always, and has ever been, sacrificing himself to and for his creatures. It lies in the very essence of his creation of them.
If Jesus suffered for men, it was because his Father suffers for men. Only Jesus came close to men through his body and their senses, that he might bring their spirits close to his Father and their Father, so giving them life, and losing what could be lost of his own. He is God our Savior. The God and Father of Jesus Christ could never possibly be satisfied with less than giving himself to his own!
Not the lovingest heart that ever beat can even reflect the length and breadth and depth and height of that love of God, which shows itself in his Son – one, and of one mind, with himself. The whole history is a divine agony to give divine life to creatures. The outcome of that agony, the victory of that creative and again creative energy, will be radiant life, the flower of which is joy unspeakable. Every child will look into the eyes of the Father, and the eyes of the Father will receive the child with an infinite embrace.
The Will – Door to Oneness with God
What is our practical relation to the life original? If we did not make ourselves, how can we do anything at the unknown roots of our being?
It is by the will of the self-existent God that we live.
So the links of unity between ourselves, who cannot create life, and him who has created it, must already exist. They must only require to be brought together. For the link in our being with which to close the circle of immortal oneness with the Father, we must search the deepest of man’s nature; there only in all assurance, it can be found.
And there we do find it!
For the will is the deepest, the strongest, the divinest thing in a man. So, I assume, it is in God, too, for we find it in Jesus Christ. Here, and here only, in the relation of the two wills, can a man come into vital contact with the All-in-all.
When a man can and does entirely say, “Not my will, but thine be done,” when he so wills the will of God as to do it, then is he one with God – one, as a true son with a true Father. When a man wills that his being be conformed to the being of his origin, which is the life of his life, causing and bearing his life, therefore absolutely and only of its kind, one with it more and deeper than words or figures can say – to the life which is itself, only more of itself, and more than itself, causing itself – when the man thus accepts his own causing life, and sets himself to live the will of that causing life, humbly eager after the privileges of his origin, thus receiving God, he becomes, in the act, a partaker of the divine nature, a true son of the living God, and an heir of all he possesses.
By the obedience of a son, he receives into himself the very life of the Father.
Man’s Highest Creation
Men speak of the so-called creations of the human intellect or of the human imagination. But there is nothing man can do that comes half so near the true “making,” the true creativity of the Maker as the ordering of his own way. There is only one thing that is higher, the highest creation of which man is capable, and that is to will the will of the Father. That act indeed contains within it an element of the purely creative, and when man does will such, then he is most like God.
To do what we ought, as children of God, is an altogether higher, more divine, more potent, more creative thing, than to write the grandest poem, paint the most beautiful picture, carve the mightiest statue, build the most magnificent temple, dream out the most enchanting symphony.
All betterment must be radical, for a man can know nothing of the roots of his being. His existence is God’s; his betterment must be God’s too – God’s through honest exercise of that which is highest in man, his own will, God’s best handiwork. By actively willing the will of God and doing what of it lies within his power, the man takes the share offered him in his own making, in his own becoming. In willing actively and operatively to become what he was made to be, he becomes creative – so far as a man may. In this way also he becomes like his Father in heaven.
The High Life of Obedience
Obedience is the joining of the links of the eternal round. Obedience is but the other side of the creative will. Will is God’s will; obedience is man’s will; the two make one.
God, the Root-life, knowing well the thousand troubles it would bring upon him, has created, and goes on creating other lives, that, though incapable of self-being, they may, by willed obedience, share in the bliss of his essential self-ordained being. If we do the will of God, eternal life is ours – no mere continuity of existence, for that in itself is worthless as hell, but a being that is one with the essential Life, and so within reach to fill with the abundant and endless outgoings of his love.
Our souls shall be vessels ever growing, and ever as they grow, filled with the more and more life proceeding from the Father and the Son, from God the ordaining, and God the obedient. The delight of the being, the abundance of the life he came that we might have, we can never know until we have it. But even now to the holy fancy it may sometimes seem to glorious to support – as if we must die of very life – of more being than we could bear – to awake to a yet higher life, and be filled with a wine which our souls were heretofore too weak to hold!
To be for one moment aware of such pure simple love toward but one of my fellows as I trust I shall one day have toward each, must of itself bring a sense of life such as the utmost effort of my imagination can but feebly shadow now – a mighty glory of consciousness! There would be, even in that one love, in the simple purity of a single affection such as we were created to generate and intended to cherish toward all, an expansion of life inexpressible, unutterable. For we are made for love, not for self. Our neighbor is our refuge; self is our demon-foe.
Every man is the image of God to every man, and in proportion as we love him, we shall know the sacred fact. The most precious thing to a human soul is every other human soul. One day we shall know this more clearly. And if it be so between man and man, how will it not be between man and his Maker, between the child and his eternal Father, between the created and the creating Life?
Must not the glory of existence be endlessly redoubled in the infinite love of the creature – for all love is infinite – to the infinite God, the great one life, that whom is no other – only shadows, lovely shadows of him!
Choosing to Partake of the Divine Nature
Because we have come out of the divine nature, which chooses to be divine, we must choose to be divine, to be of God, to be one with God, loving and living as he loves and lives, and so be partakers of the divine nature. Otherwise we perish.
Man cannot originate this life. It must be shown him, and he must choose it. God is the Father of Jesus and of us – of every possibility of our being. Bur while God is the Father of his children, Jesus is the father of their sonship, for in him is made the life which is sonship to the Father – the recognition, in fact and life, that the Father has his claim upon his sons and daughters.
We are not and cannot become true dons and daughters without our will willing his will, our doing following his making. It was the will of Jesus to be the thing God willed and meant him, that made him the true Son of God. He was not the Son of God because he could not help it, but because he willed to be in himself the Son that he was in the divine idea.
So with us: we must be the sons we are. We must be sons and daughters in our will. And we can be sons and daughters, saved into the bliss of our being, only by choosing God the for the Father he is, and doing his will – yielding ourselves true sons and daughters to the absolute Father.
Therein lies human bliss – only and essential.
The working out of this our salvation must involve pain, and the handing of it down to them that are below must ever involve pain. But the eternal form of the will of God in and for us is intensity of bliss.