Beginning today I continue the series of postings drawn from Conversations About God, a book in the making. These materials are based on a series of lectures/conversations between Graham Maxwell and Lou Venden that were delivered and recorded in 1984 at the Loma Linda University Church. I found these conversations profoundly insightful in relation to the character of God and its implications for human experience. I have been editing these casual conversations into written language, seeking to preserve, as far as possible, the voices of the original protagonists. The first half of each chapter (each blog is numbered according to its place in a chapter: 11:1, 11:2) is based on a lecture by Maxwell, the last half is based on a conversation between Maxwell and Venden about the topic. While my hand has been in every part of this process, the ideas from here on are largely those of Maxwell and Venden.
In this chapter we consider the extraordinary lengths to which God has been willing to go to hold His universal family together, as He demonstrates the truth about His character and government, and seeks to bring the whole conflict to a successful end. At infinite cost, God has sought to convince the universe that His government will forever be one of peace and freedom based on mutual and well-founded trust. But when Satan plunged the family into a crisis of rebellion and distrust, emergency measures were required to maintain a semblance of order and respect until the basis for real peace and freedom could be clarified and confirmed. In the end, as we have been discussing, God will settle for nothing less than peace and freedom, established upon mutual trust, based on all the evidence that He has provided for us through the years.
The emergency itself, of course, is the breakdown of this trust and trustworthiness that we have discussed in previous chapters. Our stubborn and suspicious unwillingness to listen has made it hard for God to heal the damage done by sin. The damaging consequences of this breakdown of trust in the family are very clearly portrayed throughout Scripture and history. And we can see them as well in society all around us.