God and Love

     Love and God are two magnificent entities that we cannot see with our physical eyes. Yet we know that both are real. That knowledge comes by faith. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Knowledge that comes via evidence is trustworthy if the source of that evidence is truthful. Our faith arises from the evidence of the existence of God in this world (Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:18-22). To deny the existence of God on the grounds that no one has seen Him is to act the fool (Psalm 14:1).

     That last is a strong statement. I once denied the existence of God on the basis of the lack of empirical evidence. I am glad I learned to think better. Consider the thing we call love. We do not know love as a quantity; we only know it as a quality. We cannot go to any store and buy a pound or a quart of it. Yet we know that love is real. The reality of love transcends physical reality. It is expressed by people in life but its existence goes far beyond this temporal life.

     We know that love is tied to God. God is love (1 John 4:8). Jesus told the lawyer: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). Without love, no matter what else we may be or do, we are nothing (1 Corinthians 13).

     One of the problems we face in our times is the refusal of the larger culture to use language properly. The English word love is just about meaningless these days. In order to make sense when we talk about love in our language we use adjectives. The Greek language of the New Testament used a different approach. That language has a word for physical love, a word for family love, and a word for friendship love. It also has a word that Jesus took and used to describe the foundation of meaningful life here and hereafter: that word is “agape.” That is the word translated “charity” in the KJV in 1 Corinthians 13. It is the word in John 3:16. It is the one love that knows no boundary because it is not tied to anything physical. It is real as anything can be: its reality is spiritual.

     Love is exemplified in the action of God in at least three ways. First there is creation (Genesis 1:1, 1:27). I have heard young people argue with their parents from time to time and use an expression that I find frightening and foolish: “I didn’t ask to be born!” While this may be an expression of angst and momentary depression it is nonetheless a very foolish thing to say. Life here is the only access we have to eternity. This life is how we come to obey God. Creation, then is a great expression of love because by it we come to know life.

     God also shows us His love by edification. He teaches us. “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork” (Psalm 19:1). As David said, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). As we noted above, the physical world testifies to the existence of God (Romans 1:18ff). Not only that, but the details of His creation drive us to appreciate the majesty of His existence and the power of His thinking. God’s nature edifies us to these general realities. His Word, the Bible, provides edification about the specifics of His existence and ours.

     Thankfully, God exemplifies His love for us in His provision of salvation. “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16). “But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). We all live “…by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

     So we know that God is love (1 John 4:8). And we know His love for us is real. And we know our duty in response to that love is to do His will (John 14:15). God loves you today. Do you love God today?