There are many thoughts from C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity which produce deep thought in me. In fact, often it seems that some of the deepest meditation in me is sparked by Lewis' most simple thoughts. A plethora of ideas formed within me as a result of the following quote by Lewis: "The reason why I hated the things (cowardice, conceit, greed - my bad actions) was that I loved the man". With these words, Lewis was explaining that his love for himself was not evidenced when he liked all of his actions, rather it was in the dislike of his ugly actions that his love for himself was shown. By wanting his life to produce good fruit he is showing that he wants the best for himself. Wanting the best for himself shows that he loves himself.
The constant standard for love is a desire for truth. To love myself means that I desire my life to be built on truth. Likewise, to love others means that I desire their lives to be grounded in truth. As I Corinthians 13:6 says, Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in truth. This is the love that God shows for all of sinful mankind. In Matthew 9:13, Jesus says that He did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. Would he call those that He did not love? Would God make a way of restoration if He did not love man? No, His love was relayed when while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
God's love is shown in that He desires the very best for every sinner. He does not delight in evil, He knows that evil is the path of destruction. Not wanting any to perish, but longing for all to come to repentance, God's heart is for every man to avoid the path of destruction. Such a desire shows His love for the sinner. But His love is not only shown by His good desire and plan, it is also shown by the allowance that He has given to man. Before the foundation of the world, God created the possibility of choosing relationship with Him or of choosing our own way. This very act of allowance is marked by love. Love says to His created, "I love you too much to make you love Me." God has made an allowance of free choice: He will not make the sinner choose Him. If God made the sinner choose Him, then He would not be loving the sinner; without free choice, the sinner would never experience Love. Those who have chosen Him love Him because He first loved them.
There will be those who do not choose Him. Even though He loves them and made a way for them to know His love, they will not come to recongnize this Love. This will happen because they do not understand that the offer of choice flows from Love. They think that since there is choice then obviously there is something good which God wants to keep from them, some pleasure or power that He does not want them to enjoy. These are their thoughts because they are looking at God through the lens of their own sinful heart and motives. They completely misunderstand a Love that has the power to create them, as well as the power to make them choose Him, and yet does not exercise the latter power.
If they had such power they would exercise it. They would make their creation submit to their every whim. Since God does not do this, He must not be very powerful, actually He must be trying to keep His creation from knowing His weaknesses -what other reason could there be for Him to allow choice? Wouldn't He only allow a choice if He had no choice? I guess in a sense, because He cannot deny Himself, He had no choice: since He is Love, He can only act in love.
Part II will soon follow....