Two days ago I was asked the question, “Does God have feelings?” I responded, “yes.” Of course God has feelings. But when called upon to back it up with scriptures, I pretty much drew a blank. I hadn’t really studied the subject, and only had generalities to mention like Jesus Christ experiencing human emotions and yet not sinning.
So, I sat down with e-Sword and we started doing word searches and found a huge long list of scriptures. Then I Googled “God’s emotions” to see what other people had written and found even more scriptures. This isn’t even an exhaustive study — it only took a couple hours — and there’s already too many scriptures to use them all in a blog post. I’m going to do my best to condense it into a manageable article.
Jesus Christ’s Emotions
When He “was made in the likeness of men,” Jesus Christ experienced being human (Phil. 2:7). As we know — sometimes all too well — being human involves experiencing emotions. For Jesus, this also meant exercising perfect emotional control (1 Pet. 2:23).
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb. 4:15-16)
Not only did Christ experience what we go through, but He can still be touched by our feelings. And not only sympathize, but help. “God is the strength of my heart,” He gives not just physical aid when we are in need, but emotional help as well (Ps. 73:26).
One of the ways we can see God’s emotions and character most clearly is looking at the example of Christ. There is ample evidence in the scripture to show that Jesus felt deeply. In His time on the earth, Jesus Christ experienced a myriad of emotions. He felt joy (John 15:11; 17:13; Hebrews 12:2). He was moved with compassion (Matt 9:36; Luke 13:34). He was grieved and in agony (Mark 8:12; John 11:38; Luke 22:44; Matt. 27:46). He got angry (Mark 3:5). He cried (John 11:35; Luke 19:41). He loved His friends and the people who came to Him (Mark 10:21; John 13:1; John 15:13) [the Greek words are forms of agape — a Godly love that expresses compassion]).
God’s Reaction to Sin
The sin of man is a source of grief for God. It hurts Him when we turn away from Him because He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). We are instructed to pray for all men because God wills that “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4)
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. (Gen. 6:5-6)
For their heart was not right with Him, neither were they stedfast in His covenant. But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned He His anger away, and did not stir up all His wrath. For He remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. How oft did they provoke Him in the wilderness, and grieve Him in the desert! (Psalm 78:37-40)
Because He is a God of mercy, He is patient and “slow to anger” (Psalm 103:8; 145:8), but He does get angry. The fact that He is just and righteous means that He will not overlook sin. Jealousy and anger is the response described when His people consistently turn away from following Him.
And therefore will the LORD wait, that He may be gracious unto you, and therefore will He be exalted, that He may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for Him. (Is. 30:18)
God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserveth wrath for His enemies.The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. (Nah. 1:2-3)
Mercy and Joy
For those who turn from evil to obey and love Him, there is a far different response from God. Jesus Christ said, “joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” (Luke 15:7). Long-suffering, mercy, and compassion are key attributes of His personality.
For if ye turn again unto the LORD, your brethren and your children shall find compassion before them that lead them captive, so that they shall come again into this land: for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn away His face from you, if ye return unto Him. (2 Chron. 30:9).
But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth. (Ps. 86:15)
Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. (James 5:11)
Those who love and obey Him faithfully are told that Jesus “is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb. 2:11). Of those who, like Abraham, live by faith it is said that “God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city” (Heb. 11:16). God is love (1 John 4:8, 16), and He wants to share that love with everyone.
“Does God have feelings?” The answer is a resounding yes. He has feelings, and He can sympathize with what we are feeling. He is not an impersonal God. He is grieved by our sin and joyful when we choose life by following in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.