God is love. In order to feel close to God, we engage in acts of love. True acts of love require us to forgo superficial desires in order to help others. When we hear someone say “God is love”, we often tend to transform the claiming our minds. We think God is love in the same way a square is a rectangle. Not all rectangles are squares, but all squares are rectangles. In the same way we may think, God is a representation of love or to know God is to know love. My claim “God is love”, uses the word “is” to mean “equal to”, not greater than and not less than. God is ≯ and ≮ love. God = love. This does not mean God is limited to our understanding of love. God (love) exceeds our understanding.
Merriam Webster defines love as
a (1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties maternal love for a child (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers After all these years, they are still very much in love. (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests love for his old schoolmates
b : an assurance of affection give her my love
: warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion love of the sea
a : the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration baseball was his first love
b (1) : a beloved person : darling —often used as a term of endearment (2) British —used as an informal term of address
a : unselfish loyal and benevolent (see benevolent 1a) concern for the good of another: such as (1) : the fatherly concern of God for humankind (2) : brotherly concern for others
b : a person’s adoration of God
: a god (such as Cupid or Eros) or personification of love
: an amorous episode : love affair
: the sexual embrace : copulation
: a score of zero (as in tennis)
capitalized, Christian Science : god
While these varying definitions have a lot to do with our experience of love, I don’t believe they accurately define love. Love is an energy. It gives life to all things on Earth. It lives within us all and is the power to change our world.
Philosophers have often posed that love and fear are in competition for each other, that love cannot exist where fear exists. While these forces would seem to work in opposition, fear may exist as a result of love. If I love you, I may fear for your safety. But this kind of love is short-sighted and narrow in its view. Energy is never created or destroyed. It only changes form. This means the life-force within us all will never die. Many religions have names for this life-force and claim this life-force returns to God once the physical body dies.
Many religions use ideas of Heaven and Hell as ways of controlling the behavior of the people. They say certain behaviors grant a person the right to enter into a world of eternal bliss and other actions condemn a person to a world of eternal suffering. But a loving deity has no need for this kind of system. It seem much more likely a system that promises reward for socially desirable behaviors and condemnation for socially undesirable behaviors is the product of one or many to whom things of this world are important. Karl Marx is quoted as having said “Religion is the opiate of the masses”. My question is who is administering this opiate? Sure religion gives us comfort. But these blind condemnations of others that come with many incarnations only keep us divided. Lately, the man charged with leading our country has worked to increase this division between us. but even before his presidency, our government has played on our fears and inspired us to give up certain freedoms in pursuit of safety.
If we have true love in us, fear is not a force worth recognizing. True love makes these physical bodies vulnerable as it enables us to understand these bodies are not us. Love is means to a better world. But first, we have to let go of the fear.