5.2 God Is Love
5.2 God Is Love
© 2016 Christ Revealed Bible Institute
God Is Love
For God is love (1 John 4:8b). Love has one primary quality. Love is Personal. God is Love is the center and essence of God, thus God is first Personal. For that reason, we call Him “Father.”
A person is one who knows and possesses feelings about him or herself and others; a person is one who knows a story of self. A person is one who desires.
God is Love is 100% problematic; God desires. You see, love is transitive; love requires a Lover, a Beloved. Love is God’s biggest difficulty, the source of all His grief. Love cannot be alone.
God’s Story of Self
We refer to an eternal and infinite, that is ALL HERE NOW, God-Spirit only as a Person, personally here and personally now. We know God only as Love; we call Him only Father.
The story God tells Himself about Himself is Love. In every moment, in every place, this ALL HERE NOW, and personal God-Spirit is identifying Himself, telling Himself, Love, Love that is ALWAYS outflowing.
Actually, Love is only one half of God’s immense PROBLEM. The other half is that this LOVE that is ALL HERE NOW and Personal, is also utterly invisible, that is, undetectable by any being created to be loved.
I want to convey to you, somehow, that when we say the word, God-Love, we are speaking of ENORMOUS distress inside of this One who IS Love.
We know God by knowing, first, Jesus the Man. And we discover God by the “Poirot principle,” that is, by seeking out the tiniest and most insignificant of clues, for if those clues ARE, then they must give answer to what IS. – And Jesus, being in agony.
Jesus was not a two-natured Being with the “man” part of Jesus in agony and the “God” part whistling Dixie. Jesus was God’s appearance, the revelation of Father.
What Is Love?
Agony can refer only to God-Love; God-Love carries agony. Of truth, much of the intent behind all of my writing is to convey to you, somehow, the enormous distress of God-Love.
The next session, What Is a God Who Groans in Travail, will be our attempt to open up this bizarre contradiction in this God we are seeking to know. Here, however, we want to set the definitional and personal structure of Love. What is Love?
One thing wonderful about my 1926 version of Webster’s unabridged dictionary, a book about six inches thick, is that it was written while the Bible was still recognized as a central force in shaping the English language and in defining words.
Love as a Noun
Love (Webster’s 1926) noun: 1. A feeling of strong personal attachment induced by that which delights or commands admiration, by sympathetic understanding, or by ties of kinship; ardent affection. 2. Manifestation of desire for, and earnest effort to promote, the welfare of a person, especially seen in God’s solicitude for men and in men’s due gratitude and reverence. 3. Strong liking, fondness, good will; – usually applied to persons or to objects of ideal regard.
4. Tender and passionate affection for one of the opposite sex. 5. Sexual desire. 6. The object of affection. (Yes, pure sexual desire is very much a part of God-Love.)
Love as a Verb
Love (Webster’s 1926) verb, transitive: 1. To have love for; to experience or manifest love for; to devote one’s love to; to be in love with. As in “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.” 2. To give or experience love. 3. To take delight or pleasure in; to have a strong liking or desire for; to be pleased with; to like. 4. To show love for by caressing (a child’s definition). 5. To thrive in, as the rose loves sunlight.
Love (Webster’s 1926) verb, intransitive: To have the feeling of love; especially to experience or manifest love for one of the other sex; to be in love.
‘Tis Better to Have Loved
Then, for the intransitive verb, to love, Webster’s 1926 quotes Alfred Lord Tennyson. ‘Tis better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all.
You know, I really like all of these definitions given to love, for they all speak God to me. The Word becoming flesh includes the meaning that God speaks to us in the familiar words of our own daily speech. The moment we attach additional “religious” meanings onto those familiar words in order to separate “God” from our humanity, we depart from God’s inherent meaning.
Read through the definitions again, knowing God by each.
Love Is the Highest Respect
Allow me, now, to add my own understanding of what Love means to God. I lived for many years in the context of Christian community where loving one another was a big deal. There were communities that came apart at the seams because the leaders in those communities failed to love one another.
After decades of experience in the furnace of community, we came to understand “love” first by the word “respect.” For me to love you is for me to extend towards you my highest respect for the integrity of your person and my deepest regard for your interests and delights. In short, to love is to set the object of love FREE.
The Pain of Love
And thus we see the pain inside Tennyson’s words: better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. We are speaking of God – Love suffers long.
Look again through all the different definitions of love. Every definition requires an object to be loved, including the intransitive verb. Every definition requires a Beloved. God is Love MEANS that God must create a Beloved.
I no longer believe that creation is found separate from the eternality of God – but defining time is in an upcoming session. God, by His very BEING and EXISTENCE must create a Beloved to be loved and God MUST set that Beloved FREE.
God must also set all things free of Himself by His holiness and by His faith. God cannot sin; whatsoever is not of faith is sin. God MUST set all things free of Himself.
Do you see God’s agony? God-Love is and must be invisible. God-Love must always create a Beloved, a Beloved who cannot know she is loved because God is not known. Yet God loves; yet His Beloved, free of Him, does not know it. And so God cannot Love without creating His Beloved, and God cannot create His Beloved without losing her.
The Revelation of Father
There is no other scenario or possibility; there is no “other universe” except that God loses His Beloved. For she does not and cannot know Him.
There is a question that is repugnant to me because the answer typically given to the question is revolting. The question is “Why did Jesus have to die?” The false and revolting answer typically imposed upon the revelation of Father is “because of our sins.”
Jesus died for ONE primary reason – to reveal, that is, to enable us to know, God-Love. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.
The agony of God-Love is Gethsemane. In Gethsemane, Jesus called God’s Beloved, you and me, into Himself, that we, being carried utterly by Love through death and into life, might now live only inside of Him.
Few entities in all of creation, both heaven and earth, know God-Love like you and I do. And we know God-Love personally in our own hearts.
Let’s do that; let’s know this Person who IS God-Love in us. – Father feels strongly and personally attached to me because (a) He delights in me, (b) I command His admiration, (c) He shares my passions, and because (d) I am His kin, His Bride and His Son.
God-Love Made Personal
Father shows His desire for me by His earnest effort to promote me and my welfare. Father strongly likes me and expresses His good will towards me. Father feels tender and passionate affection for me; Father desires to love me by planting His seed of Life inside of me; I am the object of Father’s affection.
Father loves me, shows His love for me, is devoted in love to me; Father is in love with me! Father gives me His love and experiences love with me. Father delights in me; Father strongly likes me and desires me; Father is pleased with me.
Father Is in Love
Father caresses me. I thrive IN Father, inside of Love. Father FEELS Love, is consumed with DESIRE, for me. God shows His love for me.
Father is in love with me.
You might be feeling like I do right now, like a deer caught in the headlights, blinking in consternation at this universe-long train that is Father bearing down on us – Father-in-Love. You see, God is a Person, and Father-in-Love can be known only as He is Personal and real inside of us. God-Love is known only by heart.