The Fear of God

And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not; I am the first and the last and Living one.

— Revelation 1:17-18

In him who does not know God, and must be anything but satisfied with himself, fear towards God is as reasonable as it is natural, and serves powerfully towards the development of his true humanity. Neither the savage nor the self-sufficient sage is rightly human. The humanity has to be born in each, and for this birth everything natural must do its part. Until love, which is the truth towards God, is able to cast out fear, it is well that fear should hold. It is a bond between man and God that can be broken only by the tightening of an infinitely closer bond. God must be terrible to those that are far from him; they must prefer a devil, because of his supreme selfishness, to a God who will die for his creatures, and insists upon giving himself to them, insists upon their being unselfish and blessed like himself. They love their poor existence as it is; God loves it as it must be—and they fear him.

Although he loves them utterly, God does not tell them there is nothing in him to make them afraid. That would be to drive them from him forever.  To remove that fear from their hearts, save by letting them know his love with its purifying fire, would be to give them up utterly to the power of evil.