How God is Simple, and Why That is Good News (Divine Simplicity and the Cross)

So I had this thought while I was taking a walk yesterday. I had been thinking about the term “holy love” which is occasionally used in theology. This brought me to the doctrine of divine simplicity. A few of you here probably already know that that means, but for those of you who don’t, divine simplicity takes “God is one” down to a very deep level. According to divine simplicity, God is not separately love, and holiness, and justice, and kindness. Instead, all of these so-called attributes are in fact analogies of a single reality, so that God simply is who He is. God has no parts, so to speak, but all His attributes are unified. He is not complex like a machine, but simple like a single ray of light.

With this in mind, I was thinking of how what we see as God’s attributes all appear to move in different directions. But, I thought, all lines which are not parallel intersect at some point. Sooner or later any two lines at different angles will converge. In application to God’s simplicity, I thought that if we had the capacity to trace all of God’s dealing with people back, all the apparent attributes would intersect at a single point.

Of course, when I realized there could be a single point at which every apparent attribute of God converged and became one, I quickly saw two implications:

  1. If these lines all connect in any single historical point, that point would have to be the Cross. There every different line we can trace out of God’s differing ways all seem to come together in one event. Justice, mercy, sovereignty, human accountability, love, wrath, grace, and condemnation all became one actual event at Calvary.
  2. Yet if divine simplicity is actually right about God, and all of His attributes are only one real thing in this way, then where these lines converge would also have to be where you find who God truly is. Where all these apparent attributes meet as one is where you find God as the I AM.

So confronted with these two implications, I saw the beautiful truth, not a new truth which I had never known, but one which came from the beginning: God is seen for who He really is at the Cross. When Jesus suffered and died, all the lines of all God’s apparent attributes converge and shine as the one glorious reality of the I AM. If we want to know who and what God really is, the Cross is the historical moment where He shows us. To Moses on Sinai’s mountain God revealed merely His back, but to us all on Calvary’s mountain God revealed all that He is.

Isn’t this wonderful to know? The Cross is where we see God for who God is, and of course that means Jesus Himself is the One in whom we see God for who God is! All this seems to me very exciting, and I hope it will also lead you to devotion. Amen.

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So what do you think?