Is God Love or is Love God?

Love is…

I’ve read appropriately lovely thoughts on the subject of love in several blogs today.  What else is there to say?  Do we really need one more “love” post?

Probably not, but what the heck.

Romeo and Juliet image from Wikimedia

We all talk about love like we know what it is.  I’m not so sure.  We experience it; we know it when we find it.  We also know it when we feel unloved, and we long for it when it is absent from a relationship.  But what, exactly, is it?  Where does it come from?

Poets, writers and philosophers have endlessly explored love.  Here are just a few quotes on love from

“When you are in love you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” Dr. Seuss

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”  Aristotle

“Love: the irresistible desire to be irresistibly desired.”  Mark Twain

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” Robert Heinlein

“Who, being loved, is poor?” Oscar Wilde

Beautiful.  But I think the best inspiration, the perfect expression of love, comes from God.  He is the definition and the source of love.

“God is love.”  (1 John 4:16)  Therefore, “…love comes from God.  (1 John 4:7)

The New Testament book with the most occurrences of the word “love” in my concordance is the book of 1 John.  You might assume, then, that 1 John was written with love in mind.  Not necessarily.  Love was more of a supporting argument, a tangential topic, than the main point of John’s first letter.  The purpose of 1 John was to clarify for the early church the identity of Jesus Christ and to expose the hypocrisy of teachers who claimed to speak for Christ while walking in darkness and hatred.

John argued that the light and love of God were evident in the lives of those who follow Christ, so the teachings of those who prefered darkness to light and who did not love were not to be trusted.  In the confusion between light with darkness, allegiance to the world with belonging to God, truth with falsehood, love with hate, love helps us to recognize God in the world.

But are we looking to recognize God?

Maybe we’re mostly looking for love.  If we seek only love we might make love our god instead of desiring God and finding love in him.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”  (1 John 4:7-8).

What are you seeking in life: love or God or something else?  Do you think it is possible to truly love without knowing God?

2 thoughts on “Is God Love or is Love God?

Add yours

  1. Ha. Too personal a question for responses, huh? 🙂 To the second question, it seems like there are couples who exhibit enduring love, without visibly “knowing” God. But maybe some of love is like rain, that falls on the just and unjust…can’t remember the exact verse. Then there is this verse: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 NIV. Is human love always responsive, versus initiating? Is He, being love, always the initiator of love, even when people don’t know it’s from Him? As for me, I think I’m looking for love, God AND something else. But I KNOW that I will find all of the love and something else in God alone. 🙂 Not sure if any of this makes sense, but I thought someone should be “responsive” to your “love” blog. 🙂

    1. Thanks Sue. Yes, it makes sense, and those are the same questions I found myself asking as I thought and wrote about love. I know people who are very loving and good-hearted, yet they claim no relationship with God. If God IS love, then anyone who loves must receive that love from God even if they don’t know it, right? God is very generous with his love – I guess that should be a clue for us:) As always, I appreciate your thoughts, Sue.

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