First the theological: It’s an essential and orthodox doctrine that God is Trinity, and I would argue that this is a Biblical truth even though the word, Trinity, is a later addition. It’s also a truth that God is Love, and all good things come from him. But the realisation came to me this week (thanks in part to Mike Reeves’ book, The Good God), that these two were intricately and inseparably linked. God can’t be loving with being 3-in-1 and can’t be Trinity without being loving. A single (i.e. non-trinitarian) God could not be loving as before the creation of the world he would have no object or reason for his love. Love needs an ‘other’ to be loving. With a Trinitarian God, there is a trinity of lovingness within the Godhead – the Father loves the Son by the Spirit and they all bask in each others love, which then overflows into everything else. When you love, It is the most natural thing to want to share that love, and this gave rise to creation – a free choice arising from the overflowing of Love. Puritan preacher Richard Sibbes put it like this:
If God had not a communicative, spreading goodness, he would never had created the world. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost [Spirit] were happy in themselves, and enjoyed one another before the world was. Apart from the fact that God delights to communicate and spread his goodness, there had never been a creation or redemption.
It then follows that if God’s creation of the world was an act overflowing from love, then life is a gift of goodness from the heart of a loving God.
Now the practical. Just this morning I was reading the passage on lavish giving, from 2 Corinthians 8, where Paul commends the Macedonian church for their giving as an example to the Corinthians.:
Their abundant joy and extreme poverty have overflowed into a wealth of generosity on their part. (2 Cor 8:2)
They had understood that the love of God overflowed to them, but it wasn’t a dry or intellectual understanding. They knew the joy of God’s love, even in their ‘extreme poverty’. Despite this, their love and compassion compelled them to give to those in need. As God’s nature overflows in love from the Trinity, so their faith and experience of God’s love overflows in love to others.
How is our giving an overflow from the joy of faith in God, whatever our circumstances?