A number of years ago, reading through the Bible, I made notes on the emotions of God. That’s right, God has emotions. After all, we are made in his image; where do you think our feelings come from? I have long maintained that every emotion we have finds its roots in God. We can express them in illegitimate ways, to be sure, but they all trace their origins back to the mind and heart of our Creator. Where else would we get them?
Job 36:5 says, “Behold, God is mighty, and does not despise any; he is mighty in strength of understanding.” It could also be translated: “He is mighty in strength of heart” – encompassing the emotions, affections, the manner of thought and action, the will, decision making, intellect, and wisdom … in other words, the whole person. In short, God is very well rounded. He has the full range of emotions.
He is also a Father, and as any father can tell you, nothing taps into your feelings – good, bad, positive, negative, etc. – like interacting with your children.
With that in mind, I submit the following observations on God’s emotions, followed by some representative scriptural references.
- Grieved: Genesis 6:6; Ephesians 4:30.
- Jealous: Exodus 20:5; 34:14.
- Angry/Wrathful: Judges 2:20-21; Ezekiel 5:13-15; Romans 1:18.
- Delighted: 1 Kings 10:9; Psalms 18:19; 35:27; 37:23-24; 104:31-32; 149:4.
- Joyful: Matthew 25:14-21; Luke 15:11-32.
- Pleased: Ephesians 5:8-10.
- Disgusted – even nauseated: Revelation 3:15-16.
That’s my list so far.
These all describe, for want of a better way to describe it, God’s “state of mind” or his feelings at a particular point in, or period of, time.
Now: what do we know about his overall character, his essential, constant “state of being”? Above and beyond all else, we know –
- God is love: 1 John 4:16. So much so that:
- God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16. And:
- [W]hile we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:6-8
As I say, that’s my list so far. Care to add to it? I’d love to know if you see any I’ve missed.