(Friends..I hope your reading this 5 part series…it is truly remarkable and Swain has such a way of taking the light of truth and opening the optical eye of our internal spirit ‘so that’ we can grow and change and bear eternal fruit 😊)
That Your Joy May Be Full (5 part article)
A THEOLOGY OF HAPPINESS (by Scott Swain President, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando)
God’s Happiness for His Creatures
In the work of creation, the blessed Trinity was pleased to produce manifold creatures, which exhibit manifold forms of goodness and which elicit manifold forms of satisfaction, pleasure, and happiness. Among God’s manifold creatures, God designed and destined certain creatures to be beneficiaries of both temporal and eternal beatitude. God made human beings, along with the angels, for a supreme and unsurpassable good that lies outside of themselves in communion with the blessed Trinity: “Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you” (Psalm 73:25).
Though God placed a natural appetite for eternity in the heart of human beings, natural revelation and natural reason are not sufficient to lead human beings to the eternal happiness that alone can satisfy our natural desire (Ecclesiastes 3:11) because eternal happiness transcends nature (Job 28).
In his condescending goodness and by means of his word, God was pleased therefore to reveal to human beings both the object of eternal happiness, the blessed Trinity (Psalm 2), as well as the path that leads to eternal fellowship with him (Genesis 2:9, 16–17; Psalm 1; Mark 10:17).13 “You make known to me the path of life” (Psalm 16:11).
Created for eternal happiness in communion with God, man has nevertheless pierced himself through with many sorrows (Psalm 16:4; 1 Timothy 6:10) and plunged the entire creation into a state of corruption, pain, and futility (Romans 8:20–22) by transgressing the order of beatitude (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12–21). He has refused to make the knowledge of the blessed Trinity his supreme boast and, instead, has made his boast in creatures (Jeremiah 9:23; Romans 1:21–23, 25): “Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:12–13). In forsaking the blessed Trinity, man has enslaved himself, along with his various appetites (2 Peter 2:12; 1 John 2:16), to the various creatures he was made to rule. He chases after food and clothing (Matthew 6:31–32), after the honor of man (John 5:44), and after the riches that (he believes) alone can afford them all (Matthew 6:24). And he engages in mortal combat with anyone who would impede the blind march of his pleasures and ambitions (James 4:1–3).
In all his senseless pursuits, he considers himself wise (Proverbs 26:12–16; Romans 1:22) but the path he has chosen “is the path of those who have foolish confidence” (Psalm 49:13). The temporary happiness he gains for himself is deceptive: “For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed — and though you get praise when you do well for yourself — his soul will go to the generation of his fathers, who will never again see light” (Psalm 49:18–19). His path does not lead to the eternal happiness appointed for human beings by God but to a beastly ruin: “Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish” (Psalm 49:20). (Part 4 con’t tomorrow)