Nietzsche was Right: God Cannot Love Us

Jason Micheli —  July 23, 2014 — 8 Comments

Untitled101One of the things our youth have conveyed to our new youth director is their desire for catechesis before college. Training before we ship them off to college, just enough so that when they first hear about Nietzsche or really study Darwin they won’t freak out and presume that what the Church taught them in 6th grade confirmation is the only wisdom the Church has to offer.

Knowing most folks won’t read long boring books,  I’ve been working on writing a catechism, a distillation of the faith into concise questions and answers with brief supporting scriptures that could be the starting point for a conversation.

You can find the previous posts here.

Here are questions 18-21

I. The Father:

18. Is God Indifferent Towards Us?

Of course not.

A person’s act of being as well as every action done by a person is an act of God. So, if the creator is the reason for everything that is, there can be no actual being which does not have the creator as its center holding it in being always.

So God literally cares more for us than we can conceive. Our compassion is a feeble attempt to be what God is all the time.

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?” – Psalm 139

19. What Do We Mean that God is Love?

If everything is contingent such that its existence is not necessary but relies, at every moment, relies upon God for its existence, then everything in your life, at every second of your life, is a something that could be nothing. Without God.

So everything, everything in your life, every moment of your life- existence itself- is completely gratuitous.

It’s a gift. Grace.

“I have come that you may have life and have it abundantly.” – John 10.10

20. How Can God Possibly Love Us Creatures?

The gulf between Creator and creature is so great it would seem that God cannot love us in any meaningful way.

Yet Jesus affirms repeatedly that God loves him and through the Holy Spirit we are incorporated into the Father’s loving relationship with the Son.

So God can’t love us. God can only love us in the Son through the Spirit.

“Anyone who loves me my Father will love him…” – John 14.23

21. How has God Shown Love for Us?

Creation itself is a revelation of God’s love for it’s completely gratuitous. God reveals God’s love by giving us life, by responding to the crosses we build with resurrection and by taking us up into God’s own life through the Holy Spirit.

And if everything in existence is grace, then God, in his nature, is Love. Not: God is loving. God is Love.

And if God is Love, then the universe’s blueprint, its grain, its logic is Love.

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…” -John 1.1



Jason Micheli


8 responses to Nietzsche was Right: God Cannot Love Us

  1. Bobby Ray Hurd July 23, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    “A person’s act of being as well as every action done by a person is an act of God.”

    I’m not sure if I would agree with this or not, but I’m suspecting this is a place I head toward the Reformed camp because this doesn’t seem to infer any linguistic discipline of “self-will” as opposed to “free will.” Or at least, how is it that you can justify reducing every act of humans to an act of God?

    I suspect that your theology is ordered “Creator then Jesus” whereas if you were to be consistent with your hero Barth, the theological order is “Jesus then Creator.” Thus, it’s not that every human act is an act of God but that our self-will is substituted for the the of God in the Son.

    Or am I reading you poorly?

    • Jason Micheli July 23, 2014 at 1:02 PM

      No you’re reading it spot-on. It’s meant to be concise for conversation starter so not as thorough or clear perhaps as needed. I do (depending on my mood) part with Barth on this and opt for the metaphysical tradition.

  2. Bobby Ray Hurd July 23, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    *the will of God in the Son

  3. Bobby Ray Hurd July 23, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    Btw, when you finish your catechism, do you share or do you claim intellectual property and direct me to your agent? I’d like to look at your curriculum is what I’m saying.

  4. Bobby Ray Hurd July 23, 2014 at 9:59 PM

    Cool. Email me some stuff when you have it presentable.

    A couple things concern me:

    1) “Modern people had demanded freedom for human self-expression, and Barth only asked that the same courtesy be extended to God.”

    Barth fought against “freedom for human self-expression” because Barth fought against notions of ontological Libertarian free will. Rather, Barth fought against this because he wished to reemphasize the Reformed commitment to the supremacy of God’s freedom; thus, our freedom is only in reference to our participation with the supremely free God. Barth didn’t back into his claim, he demanded a return to a Reformed principle (one with a much healthier Christology mind you).

    2) The metaphysical tradition is not inherent to classic theism. Nor is his Christology of vicarious agency firstly a reaction to natural theology but a confession of its positive content. Thus, at the very least, if it is a mistake, Barth wasn’t the first to do this. If you take a look at the Scots Confession you’ll see the Christology of vicarious agency at work very early. In fact, if you look very closely, the Christology of vicarious agency was given as part of a differentiation to the modernism of Federal scholasticism. And so I’m failing to see how Barth still utilizes the same modernist categories when it seems for me that he actually infers the opposite with his theological order that ultimately rejects many key components to Tomist ontology.

  5. Bobby Ray Hurd July 23, 2014 at 10:18 PM

    I wish you’d give yourself the opportunity to read some Torrance and really flesh out what you’ve read with Barth. I’m not immune to perhaps Barth left some modernist laundry around but I’m fairly certain that since Barth many in the Scottish realm of Reformed theology have followed his work and substantiated a project that really has put in some work reconciling the Eastern and Western traditions (but it’s fairly obvious Tomism is taken to task).

  6. Bobby Ray Hurd July 23, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    Ugh. *Thomism

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