Often times as humans we associate our own characteristics and attributes with that of the divine. We see this largely in the depiction of the Greco-Roman Pantheon. The gods of the greeks and romans in many ways seem very human. The question in my mind is, Do these gods seem human because they are being shaped into the image of man, or because man is being shaped into the image of the divine? In other words are the gods mere reflections of humanity or is it the other way around? In the case of the greco-roman Pantheon I imagine that most of their divine attributes are not divine at all, but very human in origin. So it should be said we should tread carefully in assigning attributes to Yahweh simply because we see these attributes in man. In doing this we are guilty of making him into our image. But in the Christian Faith there is (or at least should be) a strong belief and doctrine of man being made in the image of God. If this is the case then we should expect some of our attributes to be reflections or representations of the God in whose image we are made. This in fact is the very idea of the Near Eastern concept of being made in the Image and likeness of a god. It was in this context that our very own (The hebraic) image of God concept was developed among the Hebrews and eventually recorded in the Genesis account.
Although the neighboring idea of being made in the Image of a god differed from the Hebrews. The first major way was that in Mesopotamian culture only kings were said to be images or reflections of the divine, and they were given rule as stewards of the gods. In Hebrew culture this concept of being a representative and stewarding ruler was expanded to all of humanity not just one person. What was assumed was that someone with this image and representation was able to rule in the stead of the gods, and was able to act and be like the gods, because they were reflections of that particular god’s nature and being. With the advent of the fall of humanity (whatever that may actually look like) and the taking on of an alien nature, humanity no longer reflects just the divine nature but now also reflected something darker and foreign to the goodness that is Yahweh. It is for this reason that we must be careful in attributing our own fallen characteristics or to somehow think that our reflection of the alien nature is actually a reflection of the image of Yahweh. This, however does not mean that some of our characteristics will not be accurate reflections of His Image, as we still retain our original humanity which is made in his image and does find it’s attributes as originating in the divine attributes of Yahweh. It is from here that we ask the question with each human characteristic to determine whether its origins are found in God, or in the Alien Nature.
The question is as follows. Do we as humans have this attribute because it originates from God’s own attributes, characteristics, and nature, or do we have this particular attribute because it finds it’s origins in the outward working and influence of the Alien Nature?
Here it is the particular attribute of grief that we must ask this question of. Is this merely a fallen human attribute or an attribute of God, him being the reason we ourselves have this attribute? There are some who believe God to be without emotions, this seems rather implausible to me as then we must ask where do we receive our emotional aspects from? If, as I have proposed, the existence of our characteristics come from two places, either they find their origins in God (we have them because He has them, and we were made to be like him) or they find there origins in the fallen part of humanity, the alien nature, then to say that God is without emotions is to say that our emotions our from our fallen humanity. Granted this may only be the case if there are truly only two options, and there very well may be more or less than two options. But as of now I can only see two options and I do not believe that the alien nature is the originator of our emotions. Which must mean they come from God, because he himself has emotions. We ourselves as humans grieve because the Divinity himself grieves and has imprinted this ability upon the image of God.
This may at first seem like a cruel act of the creator of the universe to create beings who they themselves could grieve. it certainly seems that way, and the obvious question at this point would be, why wouldn’t God just create us without this so called ability? Whats so great about grieving? Love is certainly not possible without the possibility of pain, and grief.There is no love in the absence of vulnerability, for it is impossible to have true deep meaningful relationship without vulnerability, and being vulnerable means that we might experience pain and grief. But it seems to me that the experience of love in deep meaningful relationships that have been created through vulnerability are well worth any possibility of pain and grief that might well come through the acts of vulnerability. Christ in the Incarnation shows us the ultimate example of this vulnerability. For in becoming the Man-God he dwelled among us with the greatest possibility of all kinds of pains and grief both Physical and non physical. He chose the route that not only held the chance for emotional and Physical pain, but he also suffered the actuality of pain. He was ridiculed, beat, abandoned, hated, but he was also loved, taken care of, and surrounded by friends. He became vulnerable despite the possibility of grief. Jesus trusted that something was worth going through the sufferings of humanity to order to obtain and live out, and that was Love. Love was and is worth the Grief that it may take to live it out.
It is greater than grief, but it is not possible without the possibility of grief. Most Christians, at least that I am aware of, believe that when Christ renews creation he will wipe away our tears removing pain, suffering and grief. My proposition seems to create a problem for this. Will the possibility of grief still be necessary and will it even be possible when creation is renewed? This may only be a problem if the possibility of grief must be an eternal possibility, which I highly doubt. It also seems that without understanding the true nature of time and what reality looks like outside of time it is hard to propose a complete solution to this problem. Yet even still the possibility of grief seems necessary at some point (whether time is circular or linear), even if grief is momentary and will cease to exist after the renewal of creation, it must at some point be possible otherwise love is not possible. God being love therefore has the greatest possibility of grief, and experiences it in a profoundly infinite way, deeper than we could ever comprehend. He is deeply grieved when we reject him. I believe this is his first and greatest feeling in our rejections of him. He wants so badly to love us, for us to allow him to love us, to give us himself (knowing that he is the only thing that can satisfy us), to invite us into daily fellowship and communion with himself, and so when we decline these invitations we hurt him in a way that we can never fully comprehend. Father forgive my rejection of you, and the grief that I have caused our heart.