Thursday, March 6, 2008

Fear of God

I grew up with the concept of Fearing God but my dad was a minister and I got quite confused between fearing God or Dad...

There's been a growing movement of people who claim "fear of God" is not spiritual since God is Love.

If so, why was this said?

36:1 The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.
(King James Bible, Psalms)

There are also these ideas:

I give you my advice, and it is this: Train these children with divine exhortations. From their childhood instill in their hearts the love of God so they may manifest in their lives the fear of God and have confidence in the bestowals of God. Teach them to free themselves from human imperfections and to acquire the divine perfections latent in the heart of man.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 53)

"In explaining the fear of God to children, there is no objection to teaching it as 'Abdu'l-Bahá so often taught everything, in the form of parables. Also the child should be made to understand that we don't fear God because He is cruel, but we fear Him because He is Just, and, if we do wrong and deserve to be punished, then in His Justice He may see fit to punish us. We must both love God and fear Him."
(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 236)

Here's a comment on the attitude Scripture should inspire:

Had we sent down this Koran on some mountain, thou wouldst certainly have seen it humbling itself and cleaving asunder for the fear of God. Such are the parables we propose to men in order that they may reflect.
(The Qur'an (Rodwell tr), Sura 59 - The Emigration)

This one is even more potent:

3:13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 3:14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 3:15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 3:16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 3:17 And the way of peace have they not known: 3:18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
(King James Bible, Romans)

And, since we're oh so human, we sometimes need a reward to keep us on the Path:

Again, there are those famed and accomplished men of learning, possessed of praiseworthy qualities and vast erudition, who lay hold on the strong handle of the fear of God and keep to the ways of salvation. In the mirror of their minds the forms of transcendent realities are reflected, and the lamp of their inner vision derives its light from the sun of universal knowledge. They are busy by night and by day with meticulous research into such sciences as are profitable to mankind, and they devote themselves to the training of students of capacity.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 21)

And, finally, beyond Reward and Punishment is this:

In formulating the principles and laws a part hath been devoted to penalties which form an effective instrument for the security and protection of men. However, dread of the penalties maketh people desist only outwardly from committing vile and contemptible deeds, while that which guardeth and restraineth man both outwardly and inwardly hath been and still is the fear of God. It is man's true protector and his spiritual guardian.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 93)