“God is Love”: a uniquely Christian Idea

Where does the Idea of a Loving God come from?heart

@apoloJTXroad #7

Not everybody believes in God, but, according to Tim Keller, most people agree that if there is a God, he’s a god of love.

But, – where does this idea come from?


[Tim Keller pastors a church of sophisticated urban professionals in Manhattan, and he wrote the NY Times bestsellers, The Reason for God and Prodigal God.]

In an archived sermon on Psalm 107, Keller examines 3 possible sources for the concept of a loving God:

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1. the idea comes from history, from ancient times
2. the idea is common to all religions
3. the idea is drawn from observations of Nature


Spoiler alert: none of these proposed sources prove to be correct:

1. In ancient times, “gods” were seen to be fearful, capricious beings
2. In all religions but one, the idea of a benevolent deity with whom ordinary people can have a personal, loving relationship is absurd, unheard of, even sacrilegious
3. Nature is not all beauty and love – close observation. in fact, reveals disturbing, even horrific aspects


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We know “God is love” by Revelation
So, if the original idea of a loving God is not found in human history, world religions, or the natural world – how has it come into human consciousness? wsnaccad-moses-and-the-burning-bush-chibi-versionIt turns out that the answer is “by revelation.”

As Psalm 107 explains, God has revealed his love to us by his deeds and his words about his own character.  These are written revelations in a collection of 66 books, collectively known as The Bible.


“God is love” must be understood in context
Keller explains in his Psalm 107 apologetic that God’s love only makes sense inside the framework of Creation, Fall, Redemption. For an explanation of how that works, access this talk in his extensive, free sermon archive.


God and his love are complex
Keller’s last main point is that God is a complex character in the literary sense. He is at once Father, King, Lover, and Friend. Of course such a being is impossible to fit into our minds, so we tend to reshape him into a more manageable “god.” HolyCommunion

But this caricature doesn’t exist – and if we waste time looking for it, we will never encounter the true God of Love. We will remain alone and untransformed.

{In your deep heart}, are you looking for a loving God?
If, deep down, you’re looking for a loving God, Keller points out, as kindly as he can, “You can’t find [him] by communing with your own heart or with nature.”


Oxytocin & Survival of the Fittest
A short post-script: naturalistic Evolution, having no room for God, and eager to offer a biological basis for human love, says it (love) is the product of chemicals and the instinct to preserve the species.

{Sigh.}
Try the Bible. It really does make a lot more sense.


 

I love you heart

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