That God is love

Yesterday was Trinity Sunday, the traditional festival–now that Ascension and Pentecost are over–to honor and contemplate the one God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  As we confess in the Athanasian Creed that is customarily confessed on that Sunday, God Himself is a unity of distinct persons.

That is to say, “God is love” (1 John 4:8).  Love is a unity of distinct persons.  The doctrine of the Trinity shows how love is inherent in the very essence of the Godhead.

Charles Williams, C. S. Lewis’s friend, suggested that just as there are heresies in regards to the being of God, there are related heresies of love.  Some heretics affirm the unity of God and deny the distinctness of the Persons.  Similarly, in relationships, some, in the name of love, demand utter conformity, often manifesting itself in one of the lovers dominating or even obliterating the other person.  There is unity in the relationship, but no distinct persons.  This is heretical love.

Other  theological heretics teach the separateness of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, denying their essential unity.  Similarly, in relationships, sometimes the people in them go completely in their separate ways.  The persons are affirmed, but not the unity that love needs.

Only God, of course, gets love exactly right.  And, indeed, His love is not just self-contained in the Godhead, but it extends to us.  And He doesn’t obliterate our persons, even as He brings us into a unity with Himself, through the incarnation, death, and resurrection of the Son.  May God’s love shape all of our loves!

 

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • George

    What a nice idea…

  • George

    What a nice idea…

  • George A. Marquart

    We who are not perfect are not capable of understanding the perfection of God. But similar to astronomers, who can deduce the presence of a heavenly body from its effect on those which they can observe, or a nuclear physicist, who can deduce the existence of a subatomic particle from similar effects, I posit that we can make certain deductions about God’s perfection, even if we cannot understand them.

    I do not think anyone will argue with the proposition that God’s love is perfect. But I also propose that out of this proposition follows another one, “God expects nothing from us,” because perfect love is only concerned with giving, expecting nothing in return. That is the Gospel in its essence. But that is so contradictory to the Law, that we cannot believe it unless it is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • George A. Marquart

    We who are not perfect are not capable of understanding the perfection of God. But similar to astronomers, who can deduce the presence of a heavenly body from its effect on those which they can observe, or a nuclear physicist, who can deduce the existence of a subatomic particle from similar effects, I posit that we can make certain deductions about God’s perfection, even if we cannot understand them.

    I do not think anyone will argue with the proposition that God’s love is perfect. But I also propose that out of this proposition follows another one, “God expects nothing from us,” because perfect love is only concerned with giving, expecting nothing in return. That is the Gospel in its essence. But that is so contradictory to the Law, that we cannot believe it unless it is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures.

    Peace and Joy!
    George A. Marquart

  • formerly just steve

    Mr. Marquart, I love that idea but I’m confronted with the notion that a perfect love would be extended to all.

  • formerly just steve

    Mr. Marquart, I love that idea but I’m confronted with the notion that a perfect love would be extended to all.

  • Stephen

    Don’t Do anything – by Sam Phillips (formerly Leslie of CCM fame)

    I, I love you
    When you don’t
    When you don’t do anything

    When you’re useless
    I love you more
    When you don’t do anything

    When you don’t know
    When you don’t try
    When you don’t say anything

    When you don’t move
    When you don’t win
    When you don’t make anything work

    I, I love you
    When you don’t
    When you don’t do anything

    When you don’t want
    When you don’t lie
    When you don’t make any sense

    When you don’t go
    When you don’t hide
    When you don’t think anything

    Everything I know is running backwards now with you

    I, I love you
    When you don’t
    When you don’t do anything

    When you’re useless
    I love you more
    When you don’t do anything

  • Stephen

    Don’t Do anything – by Sam Phillips (formerly Leslie of CCM fame)

    I, I love you
    When you don’t
    When you don’t do anything

    When you’re useless
    I love you more
    When you don’t do anything

    When you don’t know
    When you don’t try
    When you don’t say anything

    When you don’t move
    When you don’t win
    When you don’t make anything work

    I, I love you
    When you don’t
    When you don’t do anything

    When you don’t want
    When you don’t lie
    When you don’t make any sense

    When you don’t go
    When you don’t hide
    When you don’t think anything

    Everything I know is running backwards now with you

    I, I love you
    When you don’t
    When you don’t do anything

    When you’re useless
    I love you more
    When you don’t do anything

  • Stephen

    @3

    What makes you believe it isn’t? John 3:16. “God loved the world (cosmos).” Grace extends to all. It is universal. Christ died “once for all.” That is exactly why it is good news and not “maybe” good news.

  • Stephen

    @3

    What makes you believe it isn’t? John 3:16. “God loved the world (cosmos).” Grace extends to all. It is universal. Christ died “once for all.” That is exactly why it is good news and not “maybe” good news.

  • http://christthetruth.wordpress.com Glen Scrivener

    I didn’t know Charles Williams had made such a link but recently I pursued the idea of heretical love in marriage – thinking about Arian, Modalist and Tritheist marriages:

    http://christthetruth.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/what-kind-of-oneness-part-two/

  • http://christthetruth.wordpress.com Glen Scrivener

    I didn’t know Charles Williams had made such a link but recently I pursued the idea of heretical love in marriage – thinking about Arian, Modalist and Tritheist marriages:

    http://christthetruth.wordpress.com/2010/01/18/what-kind-of-oneness-part-two/

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Excellent, Glen! I love the diagram, both as a theological illustration and for how it applies to marriage. Everyone, click Glen’s link.

  • http://www.geneveith.com Gene Veith

    Excellent, Glen! I love the diagram, both as a theological illustration and for how it applies to marriage. Everyone, click Glen’s link.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X