Terryl and Fiona Givens shared from their book ‘The God Who Weeps:’
We pass through birth and death as individuals. But the years in between are filled with the unceasing search for community, for companionship, for intimacy. There is no self evident reason why this should be so, and why an existence alone should fodder not just melancholy musings, but for nightmares and madness. . . . a universal suspicion: that we now exist as incomplete beings.
When C.S. Lewis wrote on the four loves, he did not include love of Sicilian pizza or of Turkish baths. He understood that love is most essentially a term that addresses the complex forms of connection we make to other beings, and that those connections are so various and layered that the Greeks needed four words to capture what we reduce to one amorphous catchall. (No English word has been more debased than love, which we simultaneously employ to describe God’s sacrifice of His Son and our feelings about a hot dog smothered in relish.) Affection, friendship, romance, and charity (storge, philia, eros, and agape) dominate our social existence, revealing our lives to be an ongoing, comprehensive effort to find and secure relationships and connections on every conceivable level.
Relationships are the core of our existence because they are the core of God’s, and we are in His image. God’s nature and life are the simple extension of that which is most elemental, and most worthwhile, about our life here on earth. However rapturous or imperfect, fulsome or shattered, our knowledge of love has been, we sense it is the very basis and purpose of our existence. It is a belonging that we crave because it is one we have always known.
Embracing the ancient connection that binds mortals to God restores to us a glorious beginning and portends a glorious future. It affirms that we are of divine lineage, with a home in the heavens just as the child of royal parents sent in quest of the pearl, with every hope of returning there. The sense of identity makes our search for the divine nature an act of filial love and emulation. And this knowledge gives us, too, a particularly potent reason for the yearning that Sarah Edwards felt to, “with confidence of a child, and without the least misgiving of heart, call God my Father.” It means that nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar His face is to us.”
And just as the young man in the Hymn of the Pearl returned to royal parents, so did Eliza R. Snow, an early Latter-day Saint poet captured the sense of a heavenly homecoming that involves a Father and a divine Mother.
I had learned to call thee Father, Thru thy Spirit from on high,
But, until the key of knowledge, Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heav’ns are parents single? No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal, Tells me I’ve a mother there.
A great deal is at stake in the decision to consider ourselves as pre-existing the material universe, as being co-eternal with God, The more common conception that God created the universe, and everything (and everyone) in it, called creation ex nihilo, “represented a fundamental change in the Christian understanding of the world,” according to Karen Armstrong. It “tore the universe [and us] away from God,” making the created order into “an entirely different nature than the substance of the living God.’ ~Terryl Givens and Fiona Givens, The God Who Weeps (Ensign Peak®, 2012). 109-10