Peter Kreeft answers the question: What is love?

August 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog

From Envoy Magazine:

No subject is more important, in any day. And no subject is more misunderstood, in our day.

Most mature people, if asked to choose just one word for the meaning of life, Life’s greatest value, the most important gift one can give or receive, the thing that makes us the happiest, the thing that makes one a saint, the supreme wisdom, and even the eternal inner life of God, would say that it is “love.” And they are right.

Without qualification, without any ifs, ands, or buts, God’s Word tells us, straight as a left jab, that “love is the greatest thing there is” (1 Cor 13: 13).

Scripture also tells us that “God IS love.” It never says God is justice or beauty or righteousness, though He is just and beautiful and righteous. But “God is love,” (1 John 1:8), not just loving or a lover, though He is that too. (That’s why He is a Trinity: He is Lover, Beloved, and Loving, complete love in three Persons. Love is God’s essence, His whole being. Everything in Him is love.)

Even His justice is love. Paul identifies “the justice of God” in Romans 1: 17 with the most apparently unjust event in all history: deicide, or the murder of God, the crucifixion; for that was God’s great act of love. On our part, that was the most unjust, evil, and hateful thing we ever did; but on God’s part, that was His perfect justice, because it was perfect love, and so good that we call the holiday on which we celebrate this murderous deed “Good Friday.”

But no word is more misunderstood in our society than the word love. One of the most useful books we can read is C. S. Lewis’s unpretentious little masterpiece The Four Loves. In it, Lewis clearly distinguishes supernatural love, agape (ah-gah-pay), the kind of love Christ is and lived and taught, from the natural loves: storge (natural affection or liking), eros (natural sexual desire), and philia (natural human friendship). All natural loves are good; but supernatural love, the love that God is, agape, is the greatest thing in the world. And part of the Gospel, the “good news,” is that it is available to us; that Christ is the plug that connects us to the infinite supply of divine love-electricity. . . . (continue reading)

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