The true test of one’s theology is not whether it can be “proven” from the scriptures, because clearly men have used the scriptures to “prove” a multitude of contradictory theological positions. Instead the ultimate test of theology is what it says about God’s nature and his relationship with man. If one’s theology leads to a god who is angry, capricious, and arbitrary, then that theology is suspect. A God, whose ultimate quality is the exercise of destructive power, cannot be the God for which the human heart seeks. It is also not the God which the Bible, itself, defines as Love.
In the past, men saw redemption as the way that God was able, despite his vast holiness, to overlook man’s shortcomings and thereby permit man into his holy presence. It became a process that separated mankind into the saved and the lost. Instead, redemption should be seen as God’s purposeful pursuit of mankind and our spiritual well-being. Redemption involves a conscious decision on God’s part to mold man into the fullness his own image, a work or process begun in the original creation. It is not the result of some miscue; it was and always will be what God intended. Redemption does not bring man to God in spite of God’s righteousness but truly because of his unbelievable capacity to love.
Even in our day many would have us believe that God can be both angry and arbitrary while also being loving and merciful. That makes God too much like you and me. True understanding must yield a God who is vastly bigger in love than mere man. If not, we are worshipping ourselves, seeing in God all our weaknesses and shortcomings, instead of something marvelously greater which can inspire man’s ultimate potential.