Unconditional Love

I seem to have stumbled into a very interesting debate:

Is God’s love unconditional?
Are we called by God to exhibit unconditional love?

I’m not quite sure why I didn’t notice this sooner but it seems to run through very many cultural, poitical, and religious disputes. On the one side you have those who insist not only that God is love but that love is unconditional acceptance. On the other side are those who quite openly say not only that love may be conditional but that it must be.

Along the way many attempts are offered to draw distinctions, e.g. between acceptance and approval or between the sin and the sinner or between hope and expectations.

Here are some articles:

Pro:
yourtango.com/2014213919/secret-unconditional-love-radical-acceptance
onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/courage.html
psychologytoday.com/blog/he-saidshe-said/201212/acceptance-the-foundation-lasting-relationships
rickwarren.org/devotional/english/acceptance-does-not-require-approval
bigthink.com/in-their-own-words/how-i-learned-the-difference-between-love-and-acceptance

Con:
psychoheresy-aware.org/unconlov.html
patheos.com/blogs/nolongerquivering/2014/01/does-god-love-us-unconditionally/
m.huffpost.com/us/entry/the-1-relationship-myth-k_b_6184598.html
m.blogher.com/unconditional-love-reality-or-myth
pemptousia.com/2012/08/the-myth-of-unconditional-lovw/

God loved us and sent His Son to save us “while we were yet sinners,” so His love is not conditional on our good behavior or doing anything to earn it.

But as the saying goes, He loves us as we are, but He loves us too much to let us stay that way.

We must have similar love for each other – not rejecting people for their failings, but not simply accepting those failings as permanent, either.

This article makes the distinction between unconditional love and unmerrited love:

pemptousia.com/2012/08/the-myth-of-unconditional-lovw/

:thumbsup:

It is unconditional in that God gives each and every man the graces required for his salvation, regardless of that person’s merits. His grace is a free gift. However, a gift can be rejected through the obstinacy of the recipient.

As a couple articles I cited note, if God’s love were truly unconditional then it would not matter whether or not we rejected God’s love.

This article contrasts unconditional and charitable love:

pemptousia.com/2012/08/the-myth-of-unconditional-lovw/

That depends on how one interprets “unconditional”, and our understanding of God’s foreknowledge.

Indeed. The article I cited does a very good job of untangling the word.

What I’ve begun to notice is that it is much grayer than I suspected. It would be nice if it were black and white but subtlties abound.

The issue is complicated by the fact that the Catholic church permits different theological viewpoints on salvation (Augustinian, Thomist, Molinist), and that each of these would yield a different answer to the “unconditional” conundrum.

If we take Thomism (as elaborated by, say, Garrigou-Lagrange), it would tell you that “the primary cause of a man’s salvation is God’s predilection towards him”; in other words, it is a completely free and “unconditional” choice on God’s part, and totally independent of anything we do. The corollary to this (following Lagrange) is that God saves some people simply because He loves them more (by giving them efficacious grace); on the other hand, He does not deny anyone sufficient grace for salvation.

If we take Molinism, broadly speaking, God’s election depends on His foreknowledge of our free choices (not that we are saved by works, but that He foreknows who will accept and who will reject Him). Here, we cannot truly use the word “unconditional”.

I’m not too familiar with the Augustinian position, but Benedict XVI is an Augustinian, and he has also used the “unconditional” term on some occasions.

God’s love is unconditional.
Salvation is not.

Problems arise when one equates the two (unconditional love means unconditional salvation).
Or, similarly, if one thinks unconditional love means God somehow lovingly accepts sinful acts, without the necessity of repentance and purging before one can enter heaven.
God does not love sinful actions – big or little.

Hi Bubba!
…here’s the black and white:

God’s Love is unconditional–He Gives it whether we accept it or not; He Gives it whether we Know Him or not; He Gives it even in spite of our unrighteousness… He Loves the Believer and non-Believer; He Loves the atheist and the ignorant…

Not a single condition on God’s Love.

Now, to be part of His Team… well, that’s where the rock meets the hard place, with us in the middle!

We are hard and our heads and hearts like rocks, refusing to seek and accept God’s Love because He wants us to Be as He Is:

14 As children of obedience, not fashioned according to the former desires of your ignorance: 15 But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also in all manner of conversation holy: 16 Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy. (1 St. Peter 1:14-16)

Can you imagine how difficult it would be for those who seek God’s unconditional Love to be forced to live eternally in the presence of God’s Demands that they be holy when they “choose” not to be holy?

This is the greatest testament (black and white) to God’s unconditional Love: He will allow man to choose not to be in His Eternal Presence, out of Love; that is, God will not coerce/force anyone into Heaven, because His Love is so unconditional:

19 And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works were evil. 20 For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. 21 But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God. (St. John 3:19-21)

Unconditional Love allows us to choose to fail!

Maran atha!

Angel

There are aspects to love and it is complex. Love is a two way street. Jesus loves you and sacrificed for you. What have you done for Jesus? Did you bear your cross? People show their love by their actions.

God loved Israel and Judah. They did not love God back. They may have said they did, but they cheated on him. God shot them. (Ezekiel 23) Que “Hey Joe.”

God promised to restore Israel, but israel needed to learn a lesson. They had fallen greatly, and had institutionalized false idols, gods and beliefs. Spare the rod, spoil the child. God gave them many chances to repent. They did not.

A dad’s love for his child can be unconditional. Sin and wrong doing is not part of who that child is, and dad does not have to accept that sin and wrong doing. Dad may have to spank said child every so often because the child is better than that, and the child’s dad loves said said child, and wants Good fruit and righteousness to come from him. (Deuteronomy 8:5)

Gods love is unconditional. He allows *us *to place any conditions, if we so desire. He allows *us *to reject His unconditional love IOW. Love is the criteria, the just standard by which He judges; its all He covets-and rightfully demands-for His creation, because it is goodness itself.

I hate to sound like a broken record but it doesn’t seem as if anyone is bothering to read the articles I posted that are contrary to their posiiton. (I posted both pro and con articles.)

Now, to be part of His Team… well, that’s where the rock meets the hard place, with us in the middle!

We are hard and our heads and hearts like rocks, refusing to seek and accept God’s Love because He wants us to Be as He Is:

Can you imagine how difficult it would be for those who seek God’s unconditional Love to be forced to live eternally in the presence of God’s Demands that they be holy when they “choose” not to be holy?

This is the greatest testament (black and white) to God’s unconditional Love: He will allow man to choose not to be in His Eternal Presence, out of Love; that is, God will not coerce/force anyone into Heaven, because His Love is so unconditional:

Unconditional Love allows us to choose to fail!

Here is the short version of what you seem to be saying: God loves those he condemns to eternal suffering in hell. For their own good.

Similarly.

This, of course, is the classic love the sinner, hate the sin formulation. One could state it more simply thus that causing suffering can be for good and this is difficult but defensible so long as there is a larger context of redemption.

We have free will. We can use it to become more like God, more just, more righteous, etc, or we can also reject goodness altogether. He won’t condemn us-we do that ourselves. God accepts our flaws, our weaknesses, our sin-He just doesn’t want or expect humans to stay that way forever, however-for their own good.

Would you expect beheaders, pedophiles, and rapists to be in heaven?

Talking about humans, I believe love is almost always conditional. And yes, that it is very normal and natural to be this way. The problem is that in so many movies/novels/songs and so on people talk about “unconditional love” (strangely, just as that love is portrayed to be pretty conditional after all) that to say otherwise would make that person seem selfish/superficial.

The vast majority of people enter relationships (romantic or otherwise) with a set of expectations, needs, desires. Some are discussed with the other person/s, some are implied. For example, we want respect, attention, sincerity, affection, etc. In certain specific situations, we might need to “adjust” them to our circumstances (aka someone accepts that his/her partner works very hard to get that promotion, so for a period of time he/she will not be able to offer the same amount of attention and affection). But this is not the same as unconditional love- more like emotional maturity. If those circumstances chance while his/her behavior doesn’t…well, most people will think this is a very serious problem. We have the normal expectation that if we are offering people attention, respect, understanding, love, etc they will try to respond in the same way.

And yes, in an ideal situation, the relationship between the parents and children will be the closest thing of unconditional love. But in many cases it is not. Here, I think the situation gets more complicated as while many parents might experience almost unconditional love for their children, but will only express it after their children " meet" specific conditions/standards (thinking it is for their own good).

The Catholic Encyclopedia has an article on “Love (Theological Virtue)” that discusses this subject.

Hi, Bubba!
…from your summation, I thought that you were looking to get out of the grey… I attempted to black and white it for you (this or that not a merger of both) from what I believe to be God’s offering (Scriptures).

Here is the short version of what you seem to be saying: God loves those he condemns to eternal suffering in hell. For their own good.

…either you are reading me wrong or I was not lucid enough… (third choice? …you misunderstand condemnation); God’s Love is unconditional because while we were unrighteous (sinners) He Sent His Son to Save us.

God’s Love is unconditional because He Loves us regardless of our affinity and rejection of His Love and Being.

While God’s Love us unconditional He does not demand that we Love Him = we can do as we please.

If we “choose” to deny, reject, ignore God, His Love is maintained–He allows us to do as we please.

If what we please to do is to stay away from God (end up in damnation) God allows us to choose even that flawed “choice.”

God does not condemn us because we reject Him/His Love; we condemn ourselves by choosing to reject God and His Love.

Salvation does not translate to unconditional love!

Unconditional love is Love given freely and without merit.

I hope this helps!

Maran atha!

Angel

Hi!
I concur with you; our temporal existence almost always requires the ole quid pro quo–it is the human way… and yes, romanticized love is usually dismantled by the developing story/theme of the song/movie/play… perhaps we will never achieve unconditional love because our psyche almost always gets in the way (even in religious circles).

Yet, love, unconditional love, and blind love cannot be bundled up as having the same value/purpose… few of us, from my experience, experience/give unconditional love, some of us confuse blind love (an unhealthy attachment) with unconditional love as we demand/accept anything and everything as though that means “unconditional love.” And, thanks to hollowood’s skewed romanticism, we are immersed in a social confusion that we call “love.”

I believe that if we could attain that level of love which is unconditional the experience would be extremely rewarding!

Maran atha!

Angel

If love is unconditional then even beheading, pedophilia, and rape would not disqualify someone. So why not?

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