There are upper limits on nearly everything about us.
There is an upper limit to how much we can lift. There is an upper limit to how much pain we can withstand before fainting. There is an upper limit to how much we can remember. There is an upper limit to how fast we can react. To how wise our decisions can be. This list could go on and on.
But there is no upper limit to how much we can love.
Perhaps this is the way in which we are made in the image of God. People talk about God’s perfect love as a divine attribute: something far beyond us. But it’s only beyond us because we don’t live up to our potential. It’s quite different from the other things that we say about God.
A person who studied his whole life could never, even in theory, be as wise as God. Omniscience is utterly impossible for us.
A person who spent his whole life working out would be nowhere near as strong as God. A person who spent his whole life accumulating power would be nowehre as powerful as God. Omnipotence is utterly impossible for us.
A person always arises from prior circumstances. Self-existence (asiety) will never belong to us.
But God’s perfect love? In practice, we of course fall short. But in theory? In theory we could be as loving as God.
I start contemplating all this tonight, while watching the film Legion with my lovely wife. The film was fair (at best.) It embodied a goofy theology, an incoherent plot and flirted with stereotype. But it lead me to recognizing– not for the first time– that it’s rather surprising. We humans are so very precious to our Creator. We’re quite unlikely candidates to stand in the center of the cosmic drama that we find ourselves in.
Not just God, but even angels and demons seem to have so much more going on. They are clearly smarter than us, faster than us, stronger than us…
I don’t know if my conclusion came from my own puny little brain or from something bigger than me. But there’s something that rings true to me in this little dialogue.
I imagined somebody complaining to God, about this. How tiny we are, how insignificant we seem. If we’re so central, why do we end up so impotent?
(Part of the answer to this is, of course, that in and through Christ we’re not impotent. But that’s not where my brain went in this imagined conversation.)
God’s answer (at least in my imagination) “Child… in power and even wisdom you are insiginificant before me, and the angels, and the demons… But power and wisdom matter so little. In the way that matters most, in the capacity for love, you are made in my imagine; you have the capacity to love on a scale the very same scale that I love on.”