God So Loved the World
|Author: Spitzer, Robert||Year: 2016|
|Publisher: Ignatius Press||Pages: 418|
In this volume the brilliant Fr. Spitzer probes in detail the major question that if an intelligent Creator God – manifest in logical proofs, scientific evidence, and near death experiences - who is the source of our desire for the sacred, and the transcendental desires for truth, love, goodness, and beauty, would want to reveal himself to us personally and ultimately.
He then shows this is reasonable not only in light of our interior experience of a transcendent Reality, but also that a completely intelligent Reality is completely positive--implying its possession of a completely positive virtue – namely "love", defined as agape.
This leads to the question whether God might be unconditionally loving, and if he is, whether he would want to make a personal appearance to us in a perfect act of empathy – face to face. After examining the rational evidence for this, he reviews all world religions to see if there is one that reveals such a God – an unconditionally loving God who would want to be with us in perfect empathy. This leads us to the extraordinary claim of Jesus Christ who taught that God is "Abba", the unconditionally loving Father.
Jesus' claims go further, saying that He is also unconditional love, and that his mission is to give us that love through an act of complete self-sacrifice. He also claims to be the exclusive Son of the Father, sent by God to save the world, and the one who possesses divine power and authority. The rest of the book does an in-depth examination of the evidence for Jesus' unconditional love of sinners, his teachings, his miracles, and his rising from the dead. As well as the evidence for Jesus' gift of the Holy Spirit that enabled his disciples to perform miracles in his name, and evidence for the presence of the Holy Spirit today.
If this strong evidence convinces us to believe that Jesus is our ultimate meaning and destiny, and desire His saving presence in our lives, that evidence should galvanize the Holy Spirit within us to show that Jesus is Lord and Savior, "the way, the truth, and the life." And our faith in him will transform everything we think about our nature, dignity, and destiny– and how we live, endure suffering, contend with evil, and treat our neighbor.