God’s Love and the Power of Choice (Part 3)
The problem with unconditional love is that it robs God of the power of choice. It forces Him to abdicate His throne. He loses His supremacy when we make Him love/serve us unconditionally. The whole basis of unconditional love is found in the destruction of the law that convinces of sin, the wages of which is death.
Without the law there is no sin. “For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” KJV, Romans 5:13. “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” KJV, 1 Corinthians 15:56.
Note this powerful description of God’s response to Satan’s demand that the moral law be changed or abolished as a demonstration of His love. “Jesus has revealed to men that while the hatred of God against sin is as strong as death, his love to the sinner is stronger than death. Christ, in his life and his death, has forever settled the deep and comprehensive question whether there is self-denial with God, and whether God is light and love. This was the question agitated in the heavens above, which was the beginning of Satan’s alienation from God. The change or abolition of the laws of his government in the heavenly courts was demanded as the evidence of the love of God. We see that the controversy has been kept up, Satan creating enmity against God because of his holy law.” (Ellen White, Review and Herald, October 21, 1902, emphasis added.)
“His rebellion caused him to be expelled from heaven. After he rebelled, in order to save himself, he wished God to change his law; but God told Satan, before the whole heavenly host, that his law was unalterable. Satan knows that if he can cause others to violate God’s law he is sure of them; for every transgressor of his law must die.” (Ellen White, Vol. 1, Spiritual Gifts, 110, 111, emphasis added.)
“The law of Jehovah, the foundation of his government in Heaven and upon earth, was as sacred as God himself; and for this reason the life of an angel could not be accepted of God as a sacrifice for its transgression. His law was of more importance in his sight than the holy angels around his throne. The Father could not abolish nor change one precept of his law to meet man in his fallen condition. But the Son of God, who had in unison with the Father created man, could make an atonement for man acceptable to God, by giving his life a sacrifice, and bearing the wrath of his Father.” (Ellen White, Vol. 1, Spirit of Prophecy, 51, emphasis added.) Because God’s love is conditioned by righteousness, He will never abolish or change His law of love.
On the other hand, unconditional love has no choice but to love. “Love is its own reason. If the lover can tell just why he loves another, then that very answer shows that he does not really love. Whatever object he names as a reason for love, may sometime cease to exist, and then his supposed love ceases to exist; but ‘love never faith.’… Love loves, simply because it is love…. We are talking of love, absolute and unqualified, as it comes from heaven…”. (E. J. Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, 215, 216; written after he had accepted pantheistic ideas; his use of “unqualified” love is synonymous with the free-lovism and unconditional love used by spiritualists and universalists contemporary to him.) What Waggoner overlooked when he wrote these statements, is that God’s law of love is reason to love, and the reason love faileth not is because the law of love is unchanging and unchangeable. And the conditions of the law of love are: obey and live, disobey and die.