A reader muses on love
I liked your blog on the sexualization of every aspect of human relationships – I agree, naturally. There is another unfortunate byproduct of this process. Namely, that since “Love” now has come to signify predominately Eros in American English usage, the phrase “God is Love” has lost its apologetic impact. If you were to understand the meaning of the phrase “God is Love” by the current usage of the word love, it would seem to have the nuance, “God wants to shower you with affection and make you feel all good inside.” If, however, you take the meaning of love to mean something more along the lines of Agape, that is, self-giving and self-sacrificing, then the phrase “God is Love” would be taken to mean, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son…”. To my mind, the former sense of the word does not engender the gratitude and awe that is due God as the latter does. This is important, because gratitude and awe toward God is an important precondition to repentance and openness to grace.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed this in your apologetic work, but I’d be curious as to your opinion, which is why I thought I’d pass this observation on to you.
PS. Isn’t it odd that English, being an incredibly descriptive language, has a certain poverty with regard to the word Love. To make matters worse, the word charity has lost its former meaning as Agape and now means charitable donations. I wonder how much this has conspired to produce popular culture’s lost sense of the full range of the meaning of the word “love”.