This is the third of three posts.
Having considered divine compassion and forgiveness, Scrutton turns next to divine jealousy. And she notes six distinctions between jealousy and envy [122-124]:
|exclusive object||inclusive object|
|rarely unfriendly||can be friendly**|
|object rival||object desired|
* ʻjealousy is a far more personal and relational emotion than envy’ .
** Note the ʻLord Chancellorʼs envious appreciation of Pell in Charles Dickinsʼ The Pickwick Papersʼ (chapter 54) (italics mine) .
But, jealousy does not seem to be an ʻintelligent emotionʼ . It is intense, and potentially blinding. If this is intrinsic to jealousy, then it cannot be divine. So Scrutton appeals to the biblical witness.
Divine qannaʼ is dissimilar to human qinʼah in that whereas human qinʼah involves negative instances and characteristics including racial hatred, lack of control and covetousness, divine qannaʼ is always just, within Godʼs control, and directed towards the good (the salvation of Israel) .
This is a form of love that is deeply involved with creation. But is not beneficence better since it remains detached? Rather than reiterating what she wrote about compassion, Scrutton argues that detached giving (which needs nothing in return) impoverishes the object precisely because the object is not needed [129-130].
In contrast, deeply involved love needs the beloved. Moreover, ʻto fail, as a lover, to need the beloved would (if through choice) be egotistical rather than gracious, and (if outside oneʼs choice) would represent a weakness rather than a strength’ . Furthermore, to need the beloved is to value him or her as him or her. Without this, agape is arbitrary. Without this, why not need (and value) animals and stones in the same way as human beings?  Therefore she concludes that,
Godʼs love is both eros, a desire to be united with creation, and also agape, love that is gracious and forgiving … A corollary of this is that divine love seeks neither fusion with the beloved (eros), nor simply a relationship between individual parties (agape), but, rather, a union in which the lover and beloved remain distinct but cease to be separate [136-137].
In the closing chapters Scrutton considers emotions in relation to the will and to the body. The fact that emotions cannot be switched on and off at will does not mean that they are essentially passive. Rather, harnessing emotions is more like riding a bike . We have an active – and therefore responsible – part to play.
Scrutton also discusses emotion in relation to the body. Does God need a body in order to experience emotion? No, responds Scrutton, for if an intelligent God needs no body, then nor does an emotionally intelligent God .
Although my précis of these last two chapters is rather brief, thorough engagement with Scrutton’s work is highly rewarding.
Next, we were made to be the image of the God who experiences emotion, so it is to our experience of emotion to which we now turn.