God is Love, And LOVE IS GOD! (according to St. Augustine)


Homily 7 on the First Epistle of John by St. Augustine

This is probably the most astounding exegesis of Scripture I have ever read. To say “God is love” is astounding enough, but we are quite familiar with it; after all, it is in Scripture (1 John 4:8 and 1 John 4:16). But from the same book and even passage in Scripture, to conclude that “Love is God”?! This is something that even a renowned Catholic theologian and philosopher such as Peter Kreeft cannot accept ("‘God is love’ is the profoundest thing we have ever heard. But ‘love is God’ is deadly nonsense." - peterkreeft.com/topics/love.htm), but here was a giant among theologians – a Church Father, even! – who proclaimed this “deadly nonsense”!

Do you not see? If “God is love”, and “Love is God”, then all of the Good News are contained therein those two statements.

Since God is Love, what else do we have to be afraid of? God is the God of Providence: everything that happens is either because God permitted it to happen or God made it to happen, but all because God is Love. Everything that happens to us is because God loves us, and all happen for our good, even the seemingly evil. And because God loves us, nothing that happens to us can overwhelm us:

And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. – 1 Corinthians 10:13

If Love is God, then what else do we need? When we love, we wield God! Even if at first it seems foolish, even if it seems to have failed, even if it seems misguided, even if it seems wasteful, if you have loved in a truly Christian way, then it will always be wise, will always be unstoppable, will always be fruitful, because Love is God.

If Love is God, and if God is Love, then through love, God surrenders Himself to us; through love, He lets us use His Wisdom, His Power, His Bounty, and nothing can stop God, nothing can defeat God, nothing can bankrupt God, nothing can confound God. And yet if Love is God, and if God is Love, then true love is the path to true surrender, because through love we follow God’s Will totally by willing it (“Love is God”) and allowing it (“God is Love”). In loving, God and man truly surrender to each other.

No wonder the fruits of love are joy, peace and mercy, for in loving Heaven is brought here on earth, and the True Light pierces the night!

The way I took Kreeft’s comment was he was saying that people mistake all our feelings for love. But love is so much more. So if you tell someone “Love is God.” their going to fall into the trap of thinking that God is some fuzzy warm feeling or force, which ends up depersonalizing Him, which is very deadly nonsense.

But I don’t think that’s what Augustine was getting at. I think these two great minds are just coming at the same thing from a different angle.

But anyway thanks for the link to both of them! Definitely made me think.

Although I may have to object to the phrase ***“we wield God”***. No. That’s impossible. God can’t be controlled by us, we’re not witches you know!:smiley: I think it’s better to say God can wield us, if we give ourselves up to Him.

I know that’s probably not what you meant, but just wanted to point out how that could be taken the wrong way.:thumbsup:

He has spoken well.:slight_smile:


I agree :thumbsup:


Oh no, I meant exactly what you think I meant when I said “we wield God” :smiley:

Augustine says (De Trin. xv, 19): “As the body of flesh is nothing but flesh; so the gift of the Holy Ghost is nothing but the Holy Ghost.” But the Holy Ghost is a personal name; so also therefore is “Gift.”

I answer that, The word “gift” imports an aptitude for being given. And what is given has an aptitude or relation both to the giver and to that to which it is given. For it would not be given by anyone, unless it was his to give; and it is given to someone to be his. Now a divine person is said to belong to another, either by origin, as the Son belongs to the Father; or as possessed by another.** But we are said to possess what we can freely use or enjoy as we please: and in this way a divine person cannot be possessed, except by a rational creature united to God. Other creatures can be moved by a divine person, not, however, in such a way as to be able to enjoy the divine person, and to use the effect thereof.**

Summa Theologica, I, q. 38, a. 1

Yes isn’t it great. God loves us unconditionally and he/she never changes. Never.


St. Augustine, you mean? Yes, he did :thumbsup:

True, but God’s love for us also changes us for the better if we’d just let him :slight_smile:

God is Love, and Love is God: I just cannot express the joy, peace, and confidence these two statements have given me.

That is the message Jesus came to give us-the full revelation of God, demonstrated by His own acts. And it’s based on, and yet profoundly beyond, God as known prior to the Incarnation. God, as Christ reveals Him, opposes evil and yet loves man with an unimaginable, uncondional love. Anger, mistrust, and enmity came from man all along-not from God. It’s actually the enemy who wants us to think otherwise. Jesus came to definitively prove God’s existence and uncompromising trustworthiness in the face of our doubt, His patience, kindness, and humility even (amazingly) and His uncondional love for man in the face of our relative anger, pride, and hatred. 1 Cor 13 describes God pretty well. It can just take us a long time to get it.

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