cross

A Brief Theology of God’s Love

The most profound truth of the Bible is that “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). This is the most fundamental thing to be said about God, for it encompasses everything else that can be said about God. Peter Kreft explains this passage it this way:

Love is God’s essence. Nowhere else does Scripture express God’s essence in this way. Scripture says God is just and merciful, but it does not say that God is justice itself or mercy itself. It does say that God is love, not just a lover. Love is God’s very essence. Everything else is a manifestation of this essence to us, a relationship between this essence and us. This is the absolute; everything else is relative to it.

As Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, God eternally exists as perfect love. Each divine person within the godhead ascribes ultimate worth to the others. In doing this God is not being conceited but simply accurate. For as the one eternal uncreated reality, the triune community is the ultimate value, if you will, from which all created things derive value.

While we cannot clearly conceive of what the fellowship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit looked like prior to creation, we can discern its basic nature from the way God reveals himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ. In Christ, and throughout the New Testament, we learn that the fellowship of the three divine persons consists in mutual submission.

The triune fellowship is Christ-like. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ascribe ultimate worth to one another without any competition. Their eternal life together consists in the divine joy of expressing the absolute value each has for the other.

The essence of this triune love is revealed in God’s love for humanity. The eternal, other-oriented love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is revealed outside of God, as it were, in his love for humanity. God’s own inherent worth is expressed in the worth he ascribes to humanity, and it is truly breathtaking.

God expresses unsurpassable love for us and ascribes unsurpassable worth to us by sacrificing the One who has unsurpassable value on our behalf! And this unfathomable expression of love to us displayed the perfect love that the three divine persons have for one another.

God is toward us as he eternally is within himself: God is love.

—Adapted from Repenting of Religion, pages 25-26

Image by Hannes Wolf via Unsplash

Category:
Tags: , ,

Related Reading

Guest Post: Culture War Neighbors by Bonnie Kristian

Matteo Parrini via Compfight The first time I was aware of meeting a gay person, I was 18. I took a summer job waiting tables, and it turned out two of my coworkers were attracted to people of the same sex. One, a waiter in his 40s, fit every stereotype on Will and Grace. The…

Why Did God Allow Evil?

Is it possible to force people to love? Powerful people may be able to force others to do just about anything. Through psychological or physical torture, they may succeed in forcing them to curse their own children to deny their faith. They may even succeed in forcing others to act and say loving things to…

A Brief Theology of the Trinity

“The economic Trinity is the immanent Trinity, and the immanent Trinity is the economic Trinity.” This is the maxim introduced by the Catholic theologian Karl Rahner that should shape our discussion of the Trinity. It is simply a short-hand way of saying that since the way God is toward us in Christ truly reveals God,…

Topics:

What Is The Warfare Worldview?

Greg has written extensively on something he calls the Warfare Worldview. Many today believe that everything that takes place in the world is ultimately part of a divine blueprint and contributes in some way to the glory of God. As opposed to this view, Greg argues that wills other than God’s are responsible for evil…

Was Jesus Abandoned by the Father on the Cross?

As Jesus hung on the cross, he cried, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (Mt 27:46). This is the cry of our God who stooped to the furthest possible depths to experience his own antithesis, as the all-holy God becomes the sin of the world (2 Cor 5:21) and the perfectly united God becomes the curse of…

The Rule of Love

The traditional confession that Scriptura sacra sui ipsius interpres (“Sacred Scripture is its own interpreter”) presupposes that there is one divine mind behind Scripture, for example. Moreover, Church scholars have traditionally assumed that Scripture’s unity can be discerned in a variety of concepts, motifs, themes and theologies that weave Scripture together. And to speak specifically of the…