Church of God, New World Ministries

Does Man Have God’s Emotions?

God’s purpose in creating human life is to reproduce Himself by adding spirit-born children to His Family (John 3:3, 6, 8). When God made us in His own image, He gave us the potential for the same basic emotions He Himself possesses; the ability to laugh when we are happy, to cry when sad, to become angry when sins mount, to be jealous when someone is unfaithful, to feel indignation when things are wrong and love when we are loved.

Emotions are good: They give life its color and zest. The difference between us and God is that God controls His emotions, whereas, all too often, our emotions control us.

One major purpose God had in mind in creating us as humans subject to death, before giving us everlasting life as spirit beings, is to teach us to control our emotions. Obeying the Ten Commandments and keeping all the other laws God gave us is often little more than exercising proper control over our emotions which, in turn, control our drives and actions.

God’s strongest emotion is love. He is love (I John 4:8, 16). His every action is based upon love, God’s whole philosophy is sharing Himself, along with everything in the universe, with those He loves.

Man’s greatest emotion is also love, but man has perverted his love and turned it inward, following the “get” philosophy rather than God’s “give” philosophy. Even the highest forms of human love, such as the love of a mother for her child, are based on concern and care for one’s extended self.

We love God because He first loved us (I John 4:19). The greatest commandment is that we love God with all our heart, mind and strength. The second greatest commandment is that we love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:29-31).

Hatred is the opposite of love and God also expresses hatred. Solomon tells us there is a time to hate (Eccl. 3:8). God hates evil and every manifestation of it pride, deceit, violence, selfishness (Ps. 5:5-6; 11:5; 45:7).

God expresses anger when confronted with rebelliousness and evil. But God never loses control, and His anger works for positive purposes (Nahum 1:2, 6; Ps. 7:11; Judges 10:7; Jere. 30:24). Sin provokes God to anger (Deut. 32:21).

Anger is not an emotion we must stifle and never use. God tells us there are times when we should be angry, but we should never let anger lead us to sin (Eph. 4:26).

Fear is also an emotion God expresses but not in the way humans fear. The wrong type of fear faithlessness, paranoia and mere fear of punishment because we have sinned, for example will keep us out of God’s Kingdom (Rev. 21:8).

God cannot sin because He wills not to sin. In that sense, He fears to do wrong or cause wrong consequences. This is a right emotion we should possess (II Sam. 1:14). The human fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:7, 9-10). God has pleasure in those who fear Him (Ps. 147:11).

God is a jealous God (Ex. 20:5; Deut. 4:24). One of His names is Jealous (Ex. 34:14). The first two of the Ten Commandments forbid idolatry and express God’s intolerance of unfaithfulness, which is what godly jealous is. The 7th Commandment states His intolerance of unfaithfulness to a marriage partner (Ex. 20:3-6, 14).

One of Elijah’s strongest attributes was that he was jealous for God (I Kings 19:20). Jealousy has its right place among our emotions (II Cor. 11:2). When rightly applied, it should provoke us to good works (Rom. 11:11). The spirit of jealousy should never be competitive, but protective (Song of Solomon 8:6).

God expresses grief (Gen. 6:6; Ps. 78:40; Heb. 3:10); Jesus Himself wept (John 11:35). God expresses supreme joy (Matt. 25:21, 23; Luke 15:10; Gal. 5:22). He experiences indignation (Isa. 34:2) and He knows sorrow (Isa. 53:3). “Godly sorrow” says II Cor. 7:10 “produces repentance to salvation, to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” God feels concern (Deut. 5:29), exercises patience and offers comfort (Rom. 15:5; II Peter 3:9).

God is humble and merciful, passive at times, vengeful at other times, but, above all, always in control of His emotions, as we should be, using them properly and for positive, right purpose. God always radiates the wonderful fruits of His Spirit, chief of which are love, joy and peace (Gal. 5:22-23).

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