GOD IS LOVE MEANS GOD IS NOT AN ABSTRACTION
C. S. Lewis wrote, “All sorts of people are fond of repeating the Christian statement that "God is love." But they seem not to notice that the words 'God is love' have no real meaning unless God contains at least two persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love.”
But God is not a single person. God is a trinity. It is this communion of love that has reached out and drawn us into The Communion.
Love is highly regarded and discarded everywhere we look. When I was a little boy I was bored at all the love songs that to my mind infested the airwaves. Love between the sexes is a kind of love. Some of it at least is actually a degree of selfishness. The political/economic system has been named by some as ‘un-love.’ Not a few of the opinions in the pandemic seem actuated more by self-interest than care about people’s lives. Loving the earth and future generations is genuine love.
LOVE IS NOT AN ABSTACTION
‘God is love.’ We all know that, but why God is love is not so well known. The trinity is three persons, one God. Each Person is an individual yet part of the Whole. The joy of this communion and the mutual nurturing of each to each and all to all is the relationship that is life and love in essence. The trinity is life, love and joy and more intensely life than these words I have just written.
Knowing God is a state of being in which we are one with God. It is the living in this oneness that is our being alive in the incarnation which is the trinity in us. To be ‘in Christ’ is to be one with God in real communion – which is the point of Holy Communion in which the bread and the wine become us Jesus as Jesus has already become us. The Lord’s Table is a celebration and a reminder of what already is. It is real for us when we believe it is with Christ and have His mind. This is why being one with God is what Jesus had in mind for us – to be one as He and His Father are one – and why fundamentalism and faith in words is not.
Thomas Torrance sets this out clearly when he observes, “The practical and the epistemological effect of a fundamentalism of this kind is to give an infallible Bible and a set of rigid evangelical beliefs primacy over God’s self-revelation which is mediated to us through the Bible. This effect is only reinforced by the regular fundamentalist identification of biblical statements about the truth with the truth itself to which they refer. …The living reality of God’s self-revelation through Jesus Christ and in the Spirit is in point of fact made secondary to the Scriptures.”
Essentially love is being and being as communion. It may be holy communion but it is anything but dull, pious and inhibited. Love is communion with life in all its forms in the fullest sense. In Christ we are one with life and being empowered to love in His image.
‘And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth’ Eph 1.10 NLT.
‘and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross’ Col 1.20 NIV.
Gregory Boyd writes, “Nothing is more central to the Christian walk than love. Scripture repeatedly and emphatically commands us to live in love (Eph. 5:2) and to put love above and before all things (Col. 3:14; 1 Peter 4:8). It tells us that if we love, we fulfill everything else the Lord requires of us (Matt. 22:39–40; Rom. 13:8, 10; Gal. 5:14) but that if we don’t love, nothing else we do is of any value (1 Cor. 13:1–3). Most remarkably, Jesus prayed that his disciples would replicate the loving union he has with the Father by participating in the eternal union he has with the Father. And he prayed that the world would believe in him on this basis (John 17:20–26).”
Boyd is saying what we have been emphasising as holiness, wholeness and Godliness in these posts. That oneness with God is what makes us alive, loving and life-giving. In Jesus we have been drawn into the eternal union that is the Communion called God. By living from this union we are gifted to love people as we have been loved by God. We become this love because God becomes us by the Spirit and we gain the ability to love ourselves, love others and the Creation.