Four Loves

Not one love, but four. Four seasons, four gospels, four elements, four last things, four loves.

Affection is the natural love we have for our families. This is the love for our mother our father and the general love we have of our tribe, our nation, our people, our country.

Friendship is the love we have with another with whom we share an outside interest. It is the love of the soldier, the team mate and the member of a club.

Eros is romantic love. A part of eros is sexual attraction. This natural love still has an element of self interest. We love because we are loved, and we are attracted through the natural desire for sexual relations and to procreate.

Charity is the the highest love. It is the unconditional love of another for their own sake. It desires the good of the other person even at our expense. This is the love God has for us and the love we should have (through grace) for Him and for others.

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  • Laura R.

    This book is by far the best thing on love I have ever seen, and a classic on the subject. Lewis reminds the reader over and over that no strictly natural love can be set over the love of God (that is, made an idol of) without its going bad on us and ceasing to be the thing we thought we wanted.

  • gerry

    The Greek language unlike the English language gives us four different words for love.There is EROS; this is the word, which describes the passions of human love. It speaks of the erotic, sexual or physical attraction a man has for a maiden. This type of love is not the basis for a permanent relationship and this word does not occur in the New Testament at all.There is STORGÉ; this word describes the love of a child for a parent and the love of a parent for a child. The word speaks of natural affection and natural bonds that are associated with families.There is PHILIA; which speaks of real love or real affection. It speaks of a man’s or woman’s closest, nearest and truest friend. It is the word, which describes warm, tender, emotional affection and describes someone who will stay with you in a time of need.There is AGAPÉ; this word describes a love that comes from God. It speaks of an unconquerable, invincible goodwill towards a person, no matter what that person does to us, no matter how they treat, insult or injure us. It means that we will not be bitter towards that person but will regard that person with nothing but goodness. This love is self-giving, not things. There are no strings attached, it is unconditional, it goes the second mile. It does not mean a feeling of the heart, which we cannot help, but rather the power to love those who do not like us and those whom we do not like. This is not a natural love; it is an act of the will.In the Gospel of John after the resurrection of Jesus, we see Peter returning to his nets. Peter who had left his nets to follow Jesus had now gone back, but Jesus seeks Peter out and after the meal that they had just shared, Jesus said to Simon Peter.‘Simon son of John do you (agapé) love me more than these others do?’ Peter answered ‘yes Lord, you know I (philia) love you’. Jesus asked this same question twice and twice Peter gave the same answer. So then Jesus said to Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you (philia) love me’. In other words, do you only love me as a brother or friend? To which Peter replied that ‘yes Lord you know all things’. Peter was saying that he only loved the Lord as a brother loves a brother or as a friend loves a friend. Peter was still ‘soulish’; the motivation of his life was still based on his lower nature, which is ‘emotional love’. Jesus had to deal with that emotion and he used the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God, to divide between spirit and soul. ‘The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double- edged sword but more finely: it can slip through the place where the soul is divided from the spirit’. (Heb. 4:12) The word of God judges and is able if we allow it, to separate our lower nature from our divine nature, thereby causing his personality, which is his character and nature, to come forth from within.