Is God Scary?

Sitting on the front porch with my son, catching lightning bugs, he asks me where Jesus is.

I say Jesus is in heaven with God…the Father.


“Dad, is God the Father scary?”

What a question! What do I say?

Do I tell my three-year-old yes? Do I try the old, “Well, yes and no”? Do I explain C. S. Lewis’ God-is-good-but-not-safe Aslan illustration? Do I talk about wrath and justice acting in harmony with love and mercy? What do I say? Do I explain propitiation? I only have a moment of my son’s fleeting attention left. (This is truly Hobo Theology. This is theology on the way. This is talking about God as you come and go.) So what should I say?

Well, I’ll tell you what I said. For better or worse, I said no. With only a second to answer, in between the flashes of lightning bugs, I said no.

That’s not a full answer I admit. But I said no because in that moment what I think my son wanted to know was how he should think about God the Father. God almighty is of course scary in His justice and holiness, and yet, in the incarnation of Jesus, we see a profound revelation of the Father’s heart. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son…” As someone once said, the cross of Christ did not secure the love of God. Rather, the love of God secured the cross of Christ. So, stuck with a false dichotomy, I said no. No, God is not scary. He is love.

What would you have said?


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Derek Griz

I am a Christian, a husband, a father, and a pastor (Immanuel Church). I write from those perspectives. Connect with me on Twitter (@derekgriz).

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