The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

Traditionally there are two distinct ways to look at God. One is to see him as a wrathful, spark-happy deity who’d just as soon fry you as anything else. This God is always just about ready to kill you and is only held off from erasing you from existence by the threadbare pleasure of seeing you writhe for mercy. I like this God a lot, mostly because I have a long list of people I’d like to see him barbecue.

The other traditional way to look at God is as a sentimental, bearded old codger oozing with affection and kindliness who wouldn’t think of hurting a fly. This God smothers you with good will, smiles forgivingly at your every vice, and enjoys hugs. He’s Grandpa YHWH who hides candy in his shirt pockets. I like this God when I’m taking inventory of my many sins which I’m still using.

Neither one of these views is that impressive by itself. But mix them together and you’ve got yourself some major mojo. That’s what makes Jeremiah’s blurb a double-taker. Here’s the God of napalm and nukes, the roiling thunder-boomer storm god, the earth destroying, galaxy flinging, card carrying nation vaporizer—and this titanic chaos swallowing, entropy busting, eternalized entity is telling human beings that he—gulp—loves them? Whoa. We’re talking mixed metaphors, man.

God is infinitely infinite with infinitude. This means that, by comparison, humans are nano-dweebs, micro-phlegm, insectomundi de la munchy of the lower order. I’m not saying that we can’t make a good cup of coffee, only that we’re so off the radar of celestial moxie that we could run naked through an angelic business meeting and nobody’d notice. I know; I tried it once on a dare.

So to have God—you know, like, GOD—say he loves human beings stretches credibility to the breaking point. But that’s what Jeremiah would have us believe. Maybe God knows something about us that we don’t. Maybe humans are not merely evolutionary pond scum who have learned to rebel against his each and every command. Maybe we’re more than self-replicating perversions that are consumed with lust, ego, and dieting. Maybe humans are more than arrogant, ignorant, moral pygmies bent on destroying the earth and ourselves. Or maybe not.

Maybe God just likes bugs.


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