In this video interview with former EPM staff member Julia (Stager) Mayo, we discuss the question: Is God happy?
Randy: I think this is a great question. Many people think of God as being happy about some things and unhappy about other things. To a certain degree that’s true. We see that He is happy when His children love Him and obey Him. He’s unhappy and displeased when people sin.
But I think the more basic question is, what is God like intrinsically? Before creatures ever came into the equation, what was God like? His basic persona and His character, that’s who He is. And I believe, absolutely, God was happy from eternity past. Happiness is built into Him. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have always enjoyed a happy relationship.
You see in both the baptism of Christ and the transfiguration, “This is my Son, the beloved one, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5). The Father takes pleasure in the Son. You also see this in John 17 and other passages where the Father, Son and Holy Spirit enjoy this great relationship and are pleased with and happy with each other. They always have been and always will be.
This means that God in His core is truly happy.
Julia: Another part of God is how complex He can be in His emotions. I think of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, where He was in so much agony, but also filled with so much love and submission to the Father. It takes a lot of emotional maturity for a human to feel such conflicting emotions. But it seems like the God of the universe can feel multiple things at once.
Randy: That’s right. You see this even for us: we’re sorrowful, yet always rejoicing (2 Corinthians 6:10). We weep with those who weep, we rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15). Are we happy or unhappy? Well, we are happy some of the time, and we’re unhappy some of the time. But the day is coming when those who know God and are His children will be happy for all eternity.
In fact, when we enter into God’s presence, what are we told? We’re told, “Well done, good and faithful servant. …Enter into the joy of your master” (Matthew 25:23). In other words, enter into a happiness that has always been, and will always be—the happiness of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is what you were made for. It is the source of all happiness. He is, in and of Himself, happy. We will enjoy happiness forever because the God of all creation, our God, our Lord, and our Savior, is forever happy.
Julia (Stager) Mayo holds a Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies from Western Seminary, where she works as an administrative assistant. She was previously part of the Eternal Perspective Ministries staff, and still does occasional research work for Randy Alcorn.