God is love...?

I’m always reading/hearing believers assert that “God is love.” To me this is a pretty wishy-washy statement, and I’ve never seen a good explanation of what it means.

I understand that it’s a philosophical statement rather than straight word substitution or empirical hypothesis, so I don’t expect anybody to be able to demonstrate that it’s true (although given that it’s so often used when defending a truth claim, it should be).

But in precisely what sense is God = Love? And what is the “logic” behind the assertion?

I am one of those people who state God is Love.

Wishy washy then that is fine if that is what you want to think but really read John and may be 1 John too but definately John will help you out.

Perhaps you are understanding love in the modern sense of the term of loving a partner etc. It is not that kind of Love. Its a wholesome Love that you feel when you are in the Presence of God. Love is the word we have for what we feel.

Read John and then experience being in the Presence of God and come back and tell me Love is wishy washy please. I think it may be just how you are interrpreting the modern day meanings of Love rather than the Love God gives us and we experience when we are in His Presence. Its perfectly complete and might sound like a clique but so true and so easy just being. :blush::thumbsup::slight_smile:

Also read I Corinthians chap.13.

This is just for starters. Let us know when you have read those, and then we can recommend more relevant readings.

A good post but “cliché” is amore appropriate word. “a clique” makes it sound like a Guy Fawkes conspiracy - especially coming from England! :wink:

Judaism usually doesn’t use the expression that G-d is Love, not because it does not believe in an omnibenevolent and all-merciful G-d, but possibly because it chooses not to limit G-d to an attribute that is defined so frequently in human terms. When Judaism speaks of fearing G-d, it does not mean fear in the sense of anxiety or worry that G-d will punish us when we transgress. Rather, it means we should experience a sense of majesty and awe at the magnificence of G-d and His creation. The fear also relates to ourselves in that our actions have consequences we may not always realize, but we should appreciate. Thus G-d is love but He is also awe-inspiring and majestic as well as eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. In truth, He cannot be adequately described in human language or by means of human thought or emotion.

The immense value of life is more logically, economically and adequately explained by a loving Father than by a blind “fortuitous concourse of atoms”.

But in precisely what sense is God = Love? And what is the “logic” behind the assertion?

The use and misuse of language is also trobling to me. Sometimes we put words together which are no more than platitudes with no correspondence to meaning. Your example may be such.

However, if a meaning is to be ascribed to the phrase, I suppose “God is love” could be intended to mean that god possesses an infinite amount of love. That statement at least has a meaning, although, I don’t think the statement can be sustained by any reasoned argument because it ascribes human qualities to a spiritual entity, endows the diety with a human personality, and, in any case, there is no evidence by which the proposition can be rationally argued…

As an alternative, people could mean that God is the personification of love although, carried to its logical conclusion, this meaning makes God remarkedly similar to pagan gods of antiquiety (Thor was god of thunder or Sophia was the goddess of wisdom, for example).

For the most part, however, my experience is that such phrases are articulated in ritualistic fashion without corresponsence to reality. In that sense I suppose these phrases perform a mind soothing experience.

**‘God is love’ means that, for one thing, when a being is in God’s presence , the knowledge of absolute well-being and goodness is possessed- she/he definitively knows that they have obtained and experienced, at that point, the greatest good, the highest value, beyond which nothing more is attainable or necessary for complete happiness and satisfaction. **

Pope Benedict’s first Encyclical answers your question. Have you read it? ENCYCLICAL LETTER DEUS CARITAS EST OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF BENEDICT XVI.

:confused: If we explain this to you will you even hear us? Will you even understand, or will you continue to insult us. It’s really offensive, and your acting as the evil ones hand maid. Is that want you want? I’m saying this to be charitable, and to offer you up a warning on where your life is heading. I wouldn’t want to share in that beasts punishment.

God is the Eucharist, the bread that feeds our heart, he is the Wine of blessing, consoling us in our sorrows of life on this desolate Earth. He is the One True God.

Has the OP insulted us here??
Or are you carrying over some history from other threads.

Peace
James

All statements in this context are analogical because human words cannot possibly describe God. But we know life is meaningless without love since it is the most powerful force in our lives and enables us to achieve feats which would otherwise be impossible. It is reasonable to believe the Creator is not inferior in that respect in view of the immense value of life, the exquisite beauty of nature and the power of reason responsible for the astonishing success of science. All these gifts are overwhelming evidence that love is the closest we can come to describing the Source of reality.

Benedict wrong an encyclical on this: “Deus caritas est”. That means “God is Love” if you can’t read latin. You should look it up. I am sure it would be an interesting read.

Christians believe in a Trinitarian God. A God of relationship within the One God. God the Father pouring Himself out in self giving love and begetting the Son from all eternity. God the Son pouring Himself back to the Father in self giving love from a eternity. Then there is the bursting forth of the Holy Spirit from this dynamic relationship between God the Father and God the Son which generates the Spirit. Indeed God is a loving relationship within the Godhead hence a God of love, a God who is love.

And as God is so He creates.

Wanstonian:

It’s pretty simple, I think. Either Love is real (ontologically existent), or it is not. But, everyone agrees that it is real. If so, then it is either caused (has an exterior agent source) or, it is an emergent property of already existing things, i.e., men and women. If the latter, then we know that upon closer examination, its ultimate cause must be configurations of invisible continuous space and dimensionless point particles. But, continuous space and dimensionless points particles cannot be seen to cause anything by themselves. Therefore, Love’s cause must be an exterior a priori agency, which we Christians call “God”.

To take it a little further: all motions seek fulfillment, i.e., an end. Some motions aspire toward negative ends, while most motions aspire toward positive ends. An examination of one’s own self will show that there is no more effective mechanism by which a human being can achieve positive fulfillment than through Love. Therefore, since God is the Cause of all things, and since human beings appear to achieve their ends best with Love in the mix, it must be God who is supplying it, as the continuous space that is the substance of all real things.

God bless,
jd

It’s history from other threads. To be fair, though, this particular thread doesn’t have the same overwhelming “troll” flavor as a lot of his other posts in the past.

Brother/sister Wanstronian :slight_smile:

Here is the way I understand this statement of God being Love:

Religion must be founded upon and built up in Love, for God is Love, and love in the Bible is never a ‘feeling’ but is always something which is active - hence why the word used most in the New Testament for love is “agape” or “charity” - a ‘self-giving’ love. The second word used for love in biblical greek is ‘phileo’ or brotherly love. Religion cannot be lived by oneself or for oneself. Religion connects us with the human race at large and gives us a universal vision of reality. The word religion comes from the Latin religio which means “to bind” or “to connect”. Religion therefore connects us with the human race at large and gives us a universal vision of reality. The very essence of this rests upon Love.

And so in Catholicism Love is held to be all-embracing, never confined, never differentiated, never partial as the great Dominican mystic and Pope Leo XIII explained:

“…This beard has many hairs, but they all make up one beard, so that they all receive the benignant oil that flows into it. That hair, however, that would separate itself from the whole, be it ever so small, would receive not a single drop of the precious charism. The same is true of love. As long as it is all-encompassing, as long as it shares its graces without making distinctions, it will remain the precious and mellifluous chrism of all good; but as soon as you exclude anyone or anything from your love, you receive nothing of this oil. Beloved, take very good care that your love embraces everyone. Show charity toward all and deprive no one of his peace!..”

- Johannes Tauler (c.1300-1361), Catholic mystic and Dominican

“…The maternal love of the Catholic Church embraces all people…It is the industrious guardian of the teachings of its Founder [Jesus] who, by His words and those of the apostles, taught men the fraternal necessity which unites the whole world. From Him we recall that everybody has sprung from the same source, was redeemed by the same ransom, and is called to the same eternal happiness…”

- Pope Leo XIII, CATHOLICAE ECCLESIAE, 1890

This all stems from the Catholic/Christian of God as “Love”.

The Christian conception of the Oneness of God is that of a Tri-unity of Persons united by one, common essence and by their mutual self-offering and self-giving of each other, and in Catholic Christianity united by the bond of Love between the Father and the Son that is the Holy Spirit. In this utter abandonment of self-will, the three Persons are One God, one Being, sharing one Unknowable Divine Essence. Pope John Paul II stated in his apostolic letter *Mulieris Dignitatem * that “Man – whether man or woman – is the only being among the creatures of the visible world that God the Creator has willed for its own sake; that creature is thus a person. Being a person means striving towards self-realization, which can only be achieved through a sincere gift of self. The model for this interpretation of the person is God himself as Trinity, as a communion of Persons.”

True love is the relationship between the three persons, who each selflessly empty themselves for one another. Each of the persons of the Trinity lives completely for the others; each is a complete gift of self to the others. This complete self-giving not only constitutes the individual persons of the Trinity, but also their inseparable oneness. Thus, for Christians the very basis of all reality is the loving communion of persons that is the Holy Trinity.

Pope Benedict XVI once said:

“…The beginning of Christian existence is not an ethical decision or a sublime idea, but rather the encounter with an event, with a person, who gives life a new goal and at the same time, a sure growth…Today we contemplate the Most Holy Trinity as Jesus introduced us to it. He revealed to us that God is love “not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance” (Preface). He is the Creator and merciful Father; he is the Only-Begotten Son, eternal Wisdom incarnate, who died and rose for us; he is the Holy Spirit who moves all things, cosmos and history, toward their final, full recapitulation. Three Persons who are one God because the Father is love, the Son is love, the Spirit is love. God is wholly and only love, the purest, infinite and eternal love. He does not live in splendid solitude but rather is an inexhaustible source of life that is ceaselessly given and communicated. To a certain extent we can perceive this by observing both the macro-universe: our earth, the planets, the stars, the galaxies; and the micro-universe: cells, atoms, elementary particles. The “name” of the Blessed Trinity is, in a certain sense, imprinted upon all things because all that exists, down to the last particle, is in relation; in this way we catch a glimpse of God as relationship and ultimately, Creator Love. All things derive from love, aspire to love and move impelled by love, though naturally with varying degrees of awareness and freedom…The strongest proof that we are made in the image of the Trinity is this: love alone makes us happy because we live in a relationship, and we live to love and to be loved. Borrowing an analogy from biology, we could say that imprinted upon his “genome”, the human being bears a profound mark of the Trinity, of God as Love…”

Our God is not just an individual remote from this universe, who needs intermediary beings to come between Himself and his children. As transcendent and exalted beyond all our imaginings as He is, beyond all thought or human conceptions He emptied Himself and came down as one of us to offer relationship to us.

Nor is He simply an individual - a single person. God, as we Christians know Him, is social in His very being, because He is not just one person but three- God is a perfect social unity, a perfectly intimate divine community, a family. And he invites us to share, as much as we can, in this divine inner life, to be embraced in this unity and live in unity and harmony with God and with one another with He in Us and We in Him. That perfect divine life is our model, and the life into which we are invited.

As Pope John Paul II once explained:

“…In the depths of our being, where not even our gaze can penetrate, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God in three persons, are present through grace. Far from being a dry intellectual truth, the mystery of the Trinity is the life that dwells in us and sustains us…The mystery of the origins from which all things flow, God appears to us as the One who is the fullness of being and communicates being, as the light that “enlightens every man” (cf. Jn 1: 9), as the Living One and giver of life. He appears to us above all as Love, according to the beautiful definition in the First Letter of John (cf. 1 Jn 4: 8). He is love in his inner life, where the Trinitarian dynamism is the very expression of the eternal love with which the Father begets the Son and both give themselves to each other in the Holy Spirit. He is love in his relationship to the world, since the free decision to make it out of nothing is the fruit of this infinite love which radiates into the sphere of creation. If the eyes of our heart, enlightened by revelation, become pure and penetrating enough, they can by faith encounter this mystery in which everything that exists has its root and foundation…”

Hope this helps :thumbsup:

Well perhaps it is best to withhold judgement on whether the statement is wishy-washy until you find out what it means. It could the that the statement is not wishy-washy - rather the explanations were simply inadequate. :wink:

I understand that it’s a philosophical statement rather than straight word substitution or empirical hypothesis, so I don’t expect anybody to be able to demonstrate that it’s true (although given that it’s so often used when defending a truth claim, it should be).

But in precisely what sense is God = Love? And what is the “logic” behind the assertion?

I don’t know if I can explain it “logically”…I’m no philosopher.

At its most fundamental level the notion that “God is Love” is to place God fully into the creative - the building up - the orderly - unselfish giving. The opposite would be evil, hatred, selfishness, destruction, tearing down.

To gain greater understanding it’s probably best to begin with where the statement comes from…
1John 4:7-8
7 Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.
There you have it…So then I guess the logical question to ask is what is meant by “love”. Fair question and there are two avenues that we can pursue here. One is to simply look at other passages in the bible where they talk of love or describe love in some way. The other - and the one that perhaps should be done first, is to look at the original language (that we have) and see what word/meaning is given. When we do this we find:
Agape:
brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence
Now when one begins to look at other places where the term Love (agape) is used one can begin to get a better idea of how the early Church understood the meaning of the term.
So when we read passages such as these:
Mt 22:36-40 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, " You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' 38 "This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 "The second is like it,You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

Mt 5:43-45 43 "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

John 13:34-35 “34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

1 Cor 13
1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; 5 it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends; as for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect; 10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. 13 So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
We should begin to see some sense of what it means to say “God is Love”.
Then in looking at other passages where love (agape) might not be used but where instructions about how to live are given, such as in Mt Chapters 5, 6, 7 and in John where we are told that Jesus Came to us because “God so loved the world…”, hopefully one begins to see that this love that we are called to - this love that “God Is” is not some wishy-washy thing, but something deeply profound and all encompassing.

Love, far from "wishy-washy is the most difficult command to embrace and to live…Just try it sometime…:smiley:

Hope the above helps some

Peace
James

My dear brother Meltzer :slight_smile:

Shalom aleikhem

I agree! We can never hope to fathom or understand God fully as God is in Himself - that is as he is in his Essence. The great mystic St John of the Cross (1542 – 1591) wrote “That thou mayest know everything, seek to know nothing”. St Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274) also advocated the via negativa because God is not an object in the universe and it is not possible to describe the *Deus absconditus *with words or to grasp Supreme Reality with our finite intelligence.

For Christians the highest form of knowledge is not via the intellect but through love, which pierces the great cloud of unknowing between ourselves and God. Where our finite intellect fails to comprehend the Infinite God, love fills the gap and draws us to the bosom of our creator.

As Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464) explained, “I know, that everything which I know, is not God, and that everything I conceive, is no comparison to Him, but rather He excels it. God is unknowable by Human Beings; all that we can really know is that we are ignorant, so our knowledge of God is what He is not. Therefore God is nothing.”

God’s essence remains eternally unknowable and impenetrable. However, it is clear that God has revealed Himself to man and is encountered by man.

The Christian understanding of God as “Love” does not actually negate our teaching that he is still infinitely above our human comprehensions and understanding. Rather it is linked, inseparably, to our concept of God as Trinity. It is the revelation of God’s triune nature in Christianity which leads us to say that God is “Love”, through the self-donating love between the Persons of the Trinity which through the Holy Spirit - the bond of love - flows outward to all God’s creation, while not denying that he cannot be limited to any single attribute or fall within the realm of our finite human understanding.

This is the Catholic teaching. Some quotes:

“…The finest thing that we can say of God is to be silent concerning him from the wisdom of inner riches…Lord I have sought you in all the temples of the world and lo, I find you within myself. If a man does not find the Lord within himself, he will surely not find him in the world…”

**- Saint Augustine (354–430 C.E) **

“…You should not wish to understand anything about God, for God is beyond all understanding. A master says: “If I had a God that I could understand, I would not regard him as God.” If you understand anything about him, then he is not in it, and by understanding something of him, you fall into ignorance…All that God asks of you most pressingly is to go out of yourself - and let God be God in you…”

- Meister Eckhart (c. 1260 – c. 1327)

Excellent questions, my friend! Please consider the following:

God’s Love is always freely being and spreading the means to freely be perfectly patient, kind, and motivated with all the body, spirit, thoughts, and will equally towards others and the self.

When one unconditionally Loves in this manner, one’s relationships and self will experience happiness* with an unbreakable peace*.
*Happiness is contentment to intense joy.
*Peace is freedom from disturbance.

When a society of persons unconditionally Love in this manner, each person of the society will experience a limitless happiness without ever losing peace. <- This my friend is Heaven, where the resurrected physical body of Jesus is!

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