Self Limiting

In the United States we talk about freedom of speech as a value we ought to uphold.  Which is why even when there are people protesting and saying hateful things at funerals for fallen soldiers, even if we disagree with their content, we allow this hateful speech to happen because we hold the freedom of speech to be a greater value.  

And the thing to remember is we have the ability to shut down and stop public speech.  The police can arrest and shut down demonstrations and use different forces to silence even the most hateful speech.  

But we do not.  

And even though we allow it to happen does not make you or I supporters of the hateful speech.  No rather, we uphold a greater value - the freedom of speech - and thus we must allow even hateful language to exist or that would threaten the future of the greater value of the freedom of speech.  

We are self-limiting when it comes to issues like this.  We have the ability, but we self-limit in order to uphold a greater value or idea.  

Likewise, I affirm that God is self limiting.  

God has the ability to stop evil from happening.  Yet God does not.  This does not make God evil, rather it points out that God upholds a greater value.  God could intervene and stop killing, and that would save a life but that would also threaten the future of the value of freedom and free will.  So God self limits, even though God is not in favor of people killing people.  

As a Christian I do not have to go far into the Bible to see an example of God self limiting.  

The greatest disclosure of God I know is in the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus.  Contrary to what many of my fellow Christians believe and teach, the greatest disclosure of God is not the Bible or Paul - it is Jesus.

As the greatest disclosure of God that we know, God chose to self limit and take the form of a human being.  God is God, yet God took the form of a very limited human being.  That is rather self limiting.  

Paul puts it this way in Philippians "Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death — even death on a cross."

God is one who self limits.  God upholds greater values which in one way make God seem rather harsh or disconnected or not loving or not graceful or just plain evil.  Likewise, when the police allow hate speech to happen at a funeral, some might think that police must be harsh/disconnected/not loving/graceless/evil because they allow the speech to happen.  This is a misunderstanding of the role and function of the police.  

The police are there to uphold a greater value - the freedom of speech.

God is not harsh/disconnected/not loving/graceless/evil because God allows evil to exist.  

God upholds greater values which means that God self limits God's actions.  

So the question naturally becomes - what are the greater values that God upholds?  Perhaps that is a question to address here more deeply...