The following article is an opinion piece and reflects the views of only the author and not those of AllOnGeorgia. It has been provided as part of a partnership with AllOnGeorgia and Creation Ministries International.
By: Lita Cosner, CMI-US
Lita is well-known for her gracious, yet challenging responses to questioners and often detractors who contact CREATION.com
Lita is a specialist in New Testament studies and obtained a B.A. (summa cum laude) in Biblical Studies from Oklahoma Wesleyan University in 2008. She received an M.A. (cum laude) in New Testament from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2012. Her thesis is titled Jesus the Honorable Broker: A Social-Scientific Efxegesis of Matthew 15:21–28.
Her passion is interpreting the New Testament in a way that is understandable to the average Christian, as well as showing how the New Testament authors used the teachings of the Old Testament as the foundation for their theology, particularly in the area of Creation. She is the co-author of the booklets How Did We Get Our Bible? and Gay Marriage: Right or Wrong?. Her talk, Creation in the New Testament and Why it Matters, is available as a video download.
Is God’s love conditional, or is it unconditional?
The answer, in a way that might seem counterintuitive, is that it’s both conditional and unconditional. Personally, I like Don Carson’s take on the subject in his book The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God. But from a creation perspective, we can see how it must be both conditional and unconditional.
First, if there were any conditions to God’s love, we couldn’t fulfill those conditions because we’re sinful (Romans 3:23). So God’s providence in giving us the things we need to live like food and shelter and all the good things of life on earth, even though we’ve done nothing to deserve them, is a manifestation of God’s unconditional love toward His creation.
But there is a sense in which the specific love He shows to His people is conditional. All of us deserve eternal judgment in Hell because we’ve sinned. But Jesus, in the Incarnation, lived the perfect sinless life we couldn’t live, and then died the death that we deserved, and rose on the third day. This means that when we trust in Him, our sin is covered by His death (Isaiah 53:6), and His perfect righteousness is credited to us (2 Corinthians 5:21), so that God sees us with the righteousness of Christ. So the condition for this element of God’s specific love for His people who will enjoy eternal life in the resurrection on the restored Earth is that they trust in Christ alone.
So God’s love is both conditional and unconditional, but He even fulfilled the conditions through the obedient life and sacrificial death of God the Son.