Hey, I haven't posted anything on this board for like 2 years. I just dropped by randomly and saw this post. I know Fr. George made a good statement about how we cannot know and this may be deviating from the original topic but I was actually really upset when I read Mina's post, mostly because I believe God must have emotions for the exact same reasons Mina believes he doesn't. I'm not sure if right about any of this, but I'm still not convinced so here it goes.
I never saw any contradiction between emotions and God's "unchangeableness", or immutability. I always thought God's emotions were actually proof of his immutability. The way I always thought of it was that we are always in a constant flux and we are always doing good or bad things, and if God reacted the same way each time, it would mean He was changing with us. Whenever we change, His response must always change. If His response did not change when our behavior changed from good to bad or vise-versa then I can only conclude that something about His very nature must have changed in order for Him to be the same when we changed. God doesn't have to adapt. I don't see how being happy or sad or angry has anything to do with an actual change. I think I'm still the same person when I'm happy and when I'm sad. It doesn't have anything to do with my being, it's a reflection of my environment. But if you always saw me with a smile, you'd probably assume I'm the guy who just agrees with everything and changes along with the circumstances.
I always thought it was so obvious that God had feelings. I guess I was surprised when I read Mina's post and then that article that he posted which confused me even more. I was like "Are we talking about the God who weeps?" I've never seen this as a change in God at all. I mean, we can't make Him happy by being good because this would be a change in God but we can put nails in His hands and even leave holes that He shows Thomas and that's not change? How would any of this be change? I thought God's immutability applied to His being, His nature.
And yes, this is all Jesus, and I'm no theologian so I don't know much about how the Trinity exactly works so I don't feel comfortable speaking about it other than saying it would make me very much uncomfortable to have to speak of God without referring to Jesus as being God.
And the article posted just upset me more. I want to look up the sources they quote and get the whole message, but for now, it seems that we're treading on dangerous ground. They say that when the authors of Bible wrote that God grows angry, what they meant is not what they wrote. But then nobody says what they meant. They just say they don't know. Then why is it written? This isn't interpretation, this is complete removal. And it isn't just "His actions seems to be that of an angry person," becuase then why wouldn't they just have left it at His actions? It seems to imply that the Bible somehow got it wrong. Like "the Bible says gets angry... but due to human limitations, they didn't know, and they thought that it was anger when it was not, it was just actions, and those words are incorrect, and the authors of the Old Testament were wrong and should take have taken literature courses."
Ok, maybe I went too far there, and I'm sorry but this upsets me. I do feel this is important to my salvation. I know we're all scared of God's anger, and maybe it needs to be redefined so we all know what we are talking about, but the way it was just presented seems to also take away God's happiness as well. Emotions are such a big part of who we are and why we do anything that to claim that God simply doesn't have them at all seems to separate us and Him by a degree that is just too much. I always thought that we should attempt to be with God because that's were God wants us. But now you're saying that God does not "want" as that would imply Him being happy. Or that He "wants" us to be with Him because He must due to His benevolence? At least with emotions God had a choice, He can be happy or sad but yet He doesn't have to react on that. If you take them away, why does He do anything? Becuase His own nature forces Him to? His own nature forces Him to respond to us? The second part of the article delves a bit into this, coming to the exact opposite conclusions. That emotions would just force God into action, but I can only see the opposite. And maybe I'm being too personal here but to say God has no emotions seems to just make Him feel cold and distant. We are supposed to live our lives for God and that is supposed to make us happy but how can I be happy knowing that God is never happy for me? I know love isn't a feeling, but there has to be a certain desire or want involved.
And yes, it's probably true that when we say stuff like "happy" and "sad" that on God's level it's a completely different thing, but I don't think we should say that God can't feel "angry" becuase even though that's what the Bible says, we can't explain it fully. Why would we talk about God's love or benevolence then? Do any of us think they can fully explain what love is on God's level? The Bible authors certainly felt it was ok to say that God gets angry and such so why is wrong? Maybe they mean something different than what we feel but they don't mean something completely other. We are told so much times in the New Testament to "rejoice" or "have joy" and we are also told so much times to "be like God" or "be perfect as your father in heaven is perfect" but they won't work together?
I just don't know, I've confused the hell out of myself now.
How can an Omniscient God who lives in the infinite dimension and has foreknowledge of all future events in the Cosmos possibly be surprised by anything that happens? It would be quite phoney for God to get angry with someone's sin since God knew it was going to happen even before they were born. God's "Wrath" is measured, planned and calculated to correct- seven Angels with seven trumpets and seven bowls which have been planned before time even began. God's "wrath" is not the wild ravings of someone out of control.