I’m still reading — slowly — through The Pleasures of God by John Piper. At the end of Chapter 2 is a short section with the same title as this blog post, “The Infinitely Complex Emotional Life of God.” In this chapter Piper has been wrestling with the simultaneous ideas of God not taking pleasure in all he does (Ezekiel 18:23, 32) and God doing all that he pleases (Psalm 135:6). Here’s an excerpt:
God’s emotional life is infinitely complex beyond our ability to fully comprehend. For example, who can comprehend that the Lord hears in one moment of time the prayers of 10 million Christians around the world, and sympathizes with each one personally and individually as a caring Father (as Hebrews 4:15 says), even though among those 10 million prayers some are brokenhearted and some are bursting with joy? How can God weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice when they are both coming to him at the same time — in fact, are always coming to him with no break at all? Or who can comprehend that God is angry at the sin of the world every day (Psalm 7:11), and yet every day, every moment, he is rejoicing with tremendous joy because somewhere in the world a sinner is repenting (Luke 15:7, 10, 23)? Who can comprehend that God continually burns with hot anger at the rebellion of the wicked and grieves over the unholy speech of his people (Ephesians 4:29-30), yet takes pleasure in them daily (Psalm 149:4), and ceaselessly makes merry over penitent prodigals who come home? Who of us could dare say what complex of emotions is not possible for God? All we have to go on here is what he has chosen to tell us in the Bible. And what he has told us is that there is a sense in which he does not experience pleasure in the judgment of the wicked, and there is a sense in which he does.
Someone has pointed out, and I don’t remember where I heard or read this, that one of the infinite number of differences between us and God is that we can only have and/or experience one emotion at a time, whereas God, as Piper showed above, experiences the entire range of emotions every single moment.
And along these lines, there is only one true multitasker in the universe — and that’s God. The rest of us who attempt it are only play-acting.
Just one more of the innumerable reasons to give glory to God.