The Innocence of God

An Essay By Anna // 8/30/2012

Innocence was all I knew / ‘Cause all I had to know was you —“Eden” by Phil Wickham

I find it strange to think of God as innocent. Innocence is a standing in court until proof of guilt is provided; I apply it to sleeping babies (even to crying babies), and my neighbor uses a garden cherub as its symbol. Somehow, the picture of star-breathing, sword-wielding, flaming-eyed almighty God does not fit my concept of innocence.
Adam and Eve at Creation are said to have been innocent, because they knew and practiced no wrong. Then they sinned. Their innocence was not the same as God’s.
In a sense, angels are innocent. But (to borrow from C.S. Lewis and N.D. Wilson), these are warriors, not plum, cookie-dough-smeared, smiling, apron-wearing greeting card angels about to say, “There, there, dearie.” God has excellent reason to command his servants not to fear the cherubim.
There are demons. If angels can fall, their innocence is not the same as God’s.
I find it telling that the words that started history were, “Let there be light.” The last spoken words in the Bible are also from the Light of the World Himself: “Surely I am coming soon.” God declares His intentions and works out every detail between the covers so that last page is the fulfillment.
In the fourth Fablehaven book by Brandon Mull (spoiler alert) abides a dragon who has breathed poison so long she has become poisonous to her core. Seth stabs her with a unicorn’s horn that functions as its nature always has—it cleanses the impure poison until Silena is no more, simply by dint of its own purity.
God’s innocence is a little bit like that. Purity is not naïveté; true innocence is incorruptible. (Perhaps righteousness is a better word; it carries no connotation of my sticky-faced, laughing three-year-old sister.) He is blindingly pure, blazingly, terrifyingly innocent. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all,” 1 John tells us. Later: “The darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.” It’s in our eyes, filling our days and leading our nights, but He’s promised He won’t stay in the sky forever. He will fly down like a star, and his innocence will burn away those who aren’t already on fire. Evil will scream.
The innocence of God is what makes the evil of us so ugly. But there’s even more contrast. His mercy is beautiful because His justice is perfect. Our healing is sweet because our judgment is earned.

Comments

Interesting.

I like your thinking. God has never struck me as innocent either. I apply innocence to, as you said babies, or kids or people that don't know if their're sinning, or simply if someone doesn't know something. (But, I guess that could fall under ignorance.)

Maddi | Thu, 08/30/2012

Goodbye? Oh no, please. Can’t we just go back to page one and start all over again?” – Winnie The Pooh

:)

Interesting thoughts. I never ever thought of God as innocent so I appreciated this essay. I like essays that talks about unique subjects.

In the third paragraph, last sentence, I am not sure if that sentence makes sense; according to your previous sentence before that, you stated that angels are to be feared and then with your next sentence, you said that God has a good reason to tell us they are not to be feared. And after I read that sentence, I am like, "But what's the reason again?" Maybe you could elaborate on that sentence more. Just the way you put those two sentences didn't really connect.

And you could fix your conclusion when you have time...

Overall, good examples in your essay. Very simple, and direct to the point.

--Megan (Lucy Anne is just my internet name...maybe you would have guessed that by now? :) Although I secretly prefer you to call me Lucy Anne because I love Lucy's rock-solid faith in Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia and I just love Anne in Anne of Green Gables. But yes, Megan is my real name for the outside world. I guess you can call me whatever you like. )

Lucy Anne | Fri, 08/31/2012

"It is not the length of life, but the depth of life." Ralph Waldo Emerson

:)

It is funny to think of God as innocent, as innocent seems to be for "little" creatures and the like, not a great and awesome God. But really, He alone is innocent. Even in His judgment He is "innocent," as you said, it is earned by us. He is innocent; we cannot accuse Him of doing wrong. And it brings Him glory, showing His greatness and also His dwelling in inapproachable light.
Thank you, Anna.

Kyleigh | Fri, 08/31/2012

I ran to the dictionary...

...after reading this, because you piqued my interest, and you're right, there are two definitions of innocence: both freedom from evil, and ignorance. I am on the opposite side of the fence: the definition that seemed foremost in my mind was always the court-room one, somehow, not the plum cherub (I LOVED that description, haha) - so it's not a stretch for me to think of God as innocent: but this was very beautiful and engagingly written.... and you packed a lot of I-have-to-think-about-that triggers in just a few paragraphs. Good job!!

Sarah Bethany | Fri, 08/31/2012

Thank you all!

Lucy Anne: That's still how I'll think of you probably forever, Megan. :)
What I meant by that paragraph was that God has to command His servants not to fear angels because that would be everyone's gut reaction. Does that make sense?
If I'm honest, I probably won't fix the conclusion, less because I'm lazy and more because I want to move onto other things. One way or another I hope to update Out of Time this week - which may simply boil down to a post on my blog asking how the readers would like things to go. But not how you might think. Er... you'll see.

Kyleigh: Yes. Everything you said.

Sarah Bethany: Triggering deeper thought was what I was going for, really. Thanks so much for the comment!

Anna | Tue, 09/04/2012

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

Please read this!

So here's that update I was talking about.
http://barefootarrowsong.blogspot.com/2012/09/for-out-of-time-readers-on...

Anna | Sat, 09/08/2012

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

I'd agree that God is

I'd agree that God is innocent, with the way innocent is being defined (as being without sin).  I just wouldn't use the word myself, because it has the conotation of being applicable to those who would be judged by a higher power, which of course does not apply to God.  Holy is a better word.

James | Sun, 09/09/2012

<><~~~~~~~~~~~~><>
"The idea that we should approach science without a philosophy is itself a philosophy... and a bad one, because it is self-refuting." -- Dr. Jason Lisle

Very Thought Provoking.

   I personally like the term Pure or like James Holy. The reason I like the word pure is because in not only implies innocent, but also holiness and righteousness. But yes, God is innocent.

 

Arthur | Mon, 09/10/2012

"My greatest wish for my writing is that it would point you to the Savior."

:)

James & Arthur: I do think holy is a better word - for those with an understanding of what it means. Pure has a wider range, which can be a good and iffy thing. The point of the essay was to challenge my own conception of innocence (prompted by its use in the song at the top). Thanks for the thoughts!

Anna | Tue, 09/11/2012

I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right. --The Book Thief

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