God’s Happiness Is Good News for Our Eternal Future
Nearly all Christians believe that God is good, but it seems that many don’t believe that He’s good natured. Does it really matter whether we believe that God is happy? Yes—it matters more than anything has ever mattered, or ever will. Upon it hinges, for instance, whether or not we can believe God’s promises, like those found in Romans 8.
If God is not happy, then He cannot be our source of happiness. He cannot give us what He does not have. An unhappy God would never value the happiness of His creatures. And we would have no reason to believe we would enjoy everlasting happiness in His presence.
Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Blaise Pascal said that all people seek happiness, and that only God is the ultimate source of happiness. If He is to keep His promise of granting us eternal happiness, God must not only be happy, but also exceedingly and overflowingly happy, with a happiness that spills over into creation in general and His image-bearers in particular. For surely no “mostly unhappy” being is capable of dispensing and maintaining happiness in any deep and lasting form.
Paul says the good news we bring to the world is "the glorious gospel of the blessed [happy] God” (1 Timothy 1:11). At the end of the same letter, perhaps to encourage Timothy who is dealing with countless problems in the churches that could make him unhappy, Paul speaks of the return of Christ and says, “which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed [happy] and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15).
In the message we speak to our churches and to the world, do we portray God as happy? If not, we seriously undermine the good news of Christ’s redemptive work. Indeed, if God is not happy, the “good news” of living with Him for all eternity would not be good news at all!
God’s happiness is an essential part of the gospel, and the promise of eternal happiness is contingent upon God’s happiness. To be told you can have an eternal relationship with an unhappy being is bad news, not good! How soon before an unhappy God tires of us and decides to bring up our past offenses or resents us for the shed blood we cost Him? Annihilation would surely be better than living with an omnipotent being whose mood tomorrow may change to unhappiness, with depressive and terrifying (ETERNALLY terrifying) consequences to His creatures.
But that’s not what Scripture portrays. Consider Matthew 25:23: “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’”
“Come and share [or “enter into”] your master’s happiness” is a profound statement. It is not “Bring me your happiness” or “Come to Heaven where you will find things to make you happy.” Rather, God essentially says here, “Enter into a happiness that preceded the dawn of time, a delight of Father and Son and Spirit in each other, that we now extend to you. This is OUR happiness, and we happily invite you to share it with us. We have done so at unfathomable cost, in the shed blood of God Almighty, because we knew from the before the beginning that the payoff of our eternal happiness, and yours in us, would be worth it. Hence the sufferings of this present time cannot be compared to the glory we will reveal to you and in you—and never stop revealing (Ephesians 2:7).”
“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down [with his joy realized] at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).