Q: I just stumbled across your website while trying to find christian artwork with scriptures , etc. I came across a picture with some text which looked pretty cool, so I blew it up to have a closer look. It said that God is never angry, that such expressions are despicable and mean, and not in the nature of God
...the bible explains that Jesus was the exact representation of the Father on earth, and only did what he saw the Father doing. There was nothing 'despicable' or 'mean' in the way that Jesus expressed his anger towards the pride of the Pharisees, and the injustices that surrounded Him...
A: Thanks so much for your note to us here at TruthBook.com. Glad you were able to find something that you can use, and something that caught your attention in this picture that you found.
You seem to be connecting the ways in which Jesus expressed emotion (which he did) with the fact that he was the earthly representative of his (and our) heavenly Father. You logically assume that since Jesus showed anger, that God must also express anger, since Jesus was also God. And then the quote that you found on Truthbook says that anger is not in God's nature.
I can understand what you are saying, and why you wrote about this issue. However, we have to remember that Jesus, while a divine Son of God, was also a mortal man. This is great mystery, and none of us can really fully understand how this could be, but we believe it is true. And with this dual nature, his life was a constant balance between the human and the divine. He certainly was—and is—God, but he also had a very human nature as well. He had to harmonize and subdue that nature while fulfilling his mission on earth. That is the miracle of our association with Jesus, and one reason that we can feel so close to him. He is truly one of us.
Here are a few passages from The Urantia Book about this tendency to "indignation" in Jesus. The first two deal with Jesus' emotional inheritance from his parents, notably Mary. And the last is a description of Jesus indignation when he was cleansing the temply of the moneychangers:
122:5.3 Jesus derived much of his unusual gentleness and marvelous sympathetic understanding of human nature from his father; he inherited his gift as a great teacher and his tremendous capacity for righteous indignation from his mother. In emotional reactions to his adult-life environment, Jesus was at one time like his father, meditative and worshipful, sometimes characterized by apparent sadness; but more often he drove forward in the manner of his mother’s optimistic and determined disposition. All in all, Mary’s temperament tended to dominate the career of the divine Son as he grew up ...
125:1.2 But most of all was his sense of propriety outraged by the sight of the frivolous courtesans parading about within this precinct of the temple, just such painted women as he had so recently seen when on a visit to Sepphoris. This profanation of the temple fully aroused all his youthful indignation, and he did not hesitate to express himself freely to Joseph.
173:1.6 As Jesus was about to begin his address, two things happened to arrest his attention. At the money table of a near-by exchanger a violent and heated argument had arisen over the alleged overcharging of a Jew from Alexandria, while at the same moment the air was rent by the bellowing of a drove of some one hundred bullocks which was being driven from one section of the animal pens to another. As Jesus paused, silently but thoughtfully contemplating this scene of commerce and confusion, close by he beheld a simple-minded Galilean, a man he had once talked with in Iron, being ridiculed and jostled about by supercilious and would-be superior Judeans; and all of this combined to produce one of those strange and periodic uprisings of indignant emotion in the soul of Jesus.
In other times of Jesus' life, he showed other traits that we might not associate with God the Father, such as his time in the garden of Gethsemane, when he suffered such mental torment and anguish, praying that the cup might be removed from him—before he had recovered himself and finally submitted to the suffering and death that he was going to have to endure. This was a time of purely human suffering, and yet, the final outcome was that his divine nature triumphed, and he did submit to his Father's will.
It is hard to imagine that God could be fearful, or subject to mental torment, but the human Jesus was...and understandably so. The amazing thing is that his divine nature did emerge victorious over the human nature. And, as children of God, we are also called to harmonize our difficulties by aligning ourselves and subduing our natures to the will of God, which brings ultimate peace.
Anger may be appropriate at times, as you point out. And all of us have experienced it, have suffered from its effects, or have tried to deal with it in a healthy way. Anger is a part of our animal legacy—and it was probably originally a protective mechanism, as you observe—but really it is not a part of God. God is perfect goodness and perfect Love. That leaves no room whatsoever for anger.
About anger, The Urantia Book says:
(48:7.20) Impatience is a spirit poison; anger is like a stone hurled into a hornet's nest.
Jesus, himself, had this to say about anger:
(149:4.2) "Anger is a material manifestation which represents, in a general way, the measure of the failure of the spiritual nature to gain control of the combined intellectual and physical natures. Anger indicates your lack of tolerant brotherly love plus your lack of self-respect and self-control. Anger depletes the health, debases the mind, and handicaps the spirit teacher of man's soul. Have you not read in the Scriptures that `wrath kills the foolish man, ' and that man `tears himself in his anger'? That `he who is slow of wrath is of great understanding, ' while `he who is hasty of temper exalts folly'? You all know that `a soft answer turns away wrath, ' and how `grievous words stir up anger.' `Discretion defers anger, ' while `he who has no control over his own self is like a defenseless city without walls.' `Wrath is cruel and anger is outrageous.' `Angry men stir up strife, while the furious multiply their transgressions.’ ‘Be not hasty in spirit, for anger rests in the bosom of fools.’” Before Jesus ceased speaking, he said further: “Let your hearts be so dominated by love that your spirit guide will have little trouble in delivering you from the tendency to give vent to those outbursts of animal anger which are inconsistent with the status of divine sonship.”
Thanks so much for this interesting and thoughtful question. In my opinion, there is a great deal of difference between vengeful anger and righteous indignation—at sin or at injustice. We have to remember that Jesus was working all his life to combine his dual nature of man and God. We have these few instances of his expression of indignation, but I think you'll agree that Jesus never used this emotion against any particular person, or as a cudgel to punish a wrongdoer.