The Self-Giving God

“If the work of God in creation is the work of love, then truth demands an imagery which will do no justice to the limitless self-giving which is among the marks of authentic love: and the imagery which the head demands may have a new power of appeal to the moral sensitivity of the heart. As a parenthesis, we may illustrate the kind of imagery which might express the self-giving of God in creation. A doctor tells of an operation which, as a young student, he observed in a London hospital. ‘It was the first time that this particular brain operation had been carried out in this country. It was performed by one of our leading surgeons upon a young man of great promise for whom, after an accident, there seemed to be no other remedy. It was an operation of the greatest delicacy, in which a small error would have had fatal consequences. In the outcome the operation was a triumph: but it involved seven hours of intense and uninterrupted concentration on the part of the surgeon. When it was over, a nurse had to take him by the hand, and lead him from the operating theatre like a blind man or little child.’ This, one might say, is what self-giving is like: such is the likeness of God, wholly given, spent and drained in that sublime self-giving which is the ground and source and origin of the universe.” (W.H. Vanstone in The Time of the Spirit: Readings Through the Christian Year, p 5)