God is Love
God loves infinitely. That means he loves fully, passionately, vehemently, intensely, unfailingly and eternally.
David Bennett came out to his parents as gay when he was 14 and entered Sydney’s active gay community a few years later.
In A War of Loves, he shares his growing desire as a gay rights activist to see justice for LGBTQI people, his journey through new age religions and French existentialism, and his university years as a postmodernist – before Jesus Christ showed up in his life in a highly unexpected way, leading him down a path he never would have imagined or predicted.
David had believed he was disqualified from God’s love until he encountered that for himself in Jesus Christ.
David Bennett’s life was outwardly stable, secure in the love and acceptance of both his parents. But inwardly, he was broken, searching for a deeper meaning than his life-style and relationships were able to provide. One day a friend asked him in a pub in downtown Sydney, “David have you ever experienced the love of God?” She prayed for him then and there. David speaks of the overwhelming, transcendent love of God he experienced in those moments, a love that transformed him. Now, he identifies as a celibate Christian. Still campaigning for justice, he spreads the message of God’s love everywhere he goes.
Perhaps the best definition of human well-being and flourishing is the ability to love well, to give and to receive love.
God is Love
God’s love is eternal. But how was the love of God expressed when there were no created beings whom he could love, or who could respond to him?
The answer leads to the Trinity, which is the word we use to describe the three-in-one nature of the One God. This is not some super-analytical theological abstraction, but holds the secret of what love is. God, by very nature, is an infinitely loving and infinitely relational being. The Father loves the Son, the Son loves the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the dynamic Spirit of love.
In the Trinity, we glimpse what love is: reaching out to connect with, to delight in and to honour another. That’s how the members of the Trinity behave toward one another. And of course, the perfect unity of God ensures the perfect harmony of love, fully expressed and fully received. This is the eternal model of love.
The unconditional nature of Trinitarian love
The Father’s Love for the Son, and the Son’s Love for the Father are unconditional, an expression of the very nature of God himself. The Son’s obedience to the Father is not the condition upon which the Father loves the Son, but the consequence of both the Son’s Love of the Father and the Father’s love of the Son. That love is an expression of the very nature of God, who is ultimate reality.
God’s love is preeminent
All that God created is an expression of his love and saturated with it. If only we could discern it. He never does anything, and has never done anything unloving. Even when we think of God’s justice and judgement, we must know these things are an expression of God’s love – his love for truth, for righteousness, for the created order, and for all humanity. In everything, God upholds his glory and acts for the good of the beings he created to inhabit his world.
But what is love, exactly?
The word ‘love’ is better understood as a verb, not as an abstract noun. A verb is an action word, a ‘doing’ word. So how do we know what love is? By watching what love does, especially God’s love in action. He created us and he loves us because he chose to love us. This love continues even after humanity chose to disobey him, turning away from the only source of light, life and love. God proved his on-going love by sending Jesus to be the one sacrifice that can take away our sin. God’s love, once received, becomes the driving force of our love as imitators of the Divine.
We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19, ESV).