1. Joined
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    01 Nov '07 05:019 edits
    I feel compelled to start a new thread about how I view the God of the Bible. I have come to the conclusion that the study of God, or at least for me, is really based upon the study of love. For example, the Bible makes some compelling statement for my view. The Bible says that God is love. It also says that love is the greatest commandment and if one keeps this commandment then one will keep all the commandments. Therefore, I would like to begin with how others define what love is.

    I will begin with the Biblical definition in 1 Corinthians 13

    Love suffers long, and is kind, love does not envy, it does not vaunt itself, is not puffed up, it does not behave itself unseemingly, it does not seek its own, is not easily provoked, it thinks no evil, it rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth, it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things......

    Another translation says this.

    Love is always patient and kind, it is never jealous, love is never boastful, or conceited, it is never rude or selfish, it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in others peoples sins but delights in the truth, it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes.

    Also, there are 5 different Greek words for love which are the following.

    Agape: Means love in modern day Greek. It refers to a "pure", ideal love rather than the physical attraction suggested by eros. Agape is the NT verb used to describe God's love for humanity. However, there are also some examples of agape used to mean the same as eros. It has also been translated as "love of the soul".

    Eros: I passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. The modern Greek word eros means romantic love. Plato refined his own definition. Although eros is initially felt for a person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Eros helps the soul recall knowledge as beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth by eros. Some translators list it as "love of the body".

    Philia: means friendship in modern Greek, a disspassionate virtuous love, was a concept developed by Aristotle. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity.

    Storge: means affection in modern Greek; it is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offsrpring.

    Xenia: means hospitality in modern Greek and was extremely important practice in ancient Greece. It was an almost ritualized friendship formed between a host and their guest, who could previously be strangers. The host fed and provided quarters for the guest, who was only expected to repay with gratitude. The importance of this can be seen throughout Greek mythology, in particular Homer's Illiad and Odyssey.

    I can see elements for all 5 kinds of Greek kinds of love displayed by the God of the Bible.

    For me this is why my religion is meaningful and practicle in my life. It has little to do with science, it has little to do with religious dogma, etc. Really, love is what makes our lives worth while. It is what makes us tick. It is why we do what we do or don't do. In effect, it is what drives us.

    Does anyone have any other definitions are objections for the definitions I have provided?
  2. Joined
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    01 Nov '07 13:53
    After thinking about what I have posted. It seems odd to me that one type of love seems absent, namely, love for self. Why is it that love of self seems absent from the Greek words for love? Also, Biblically should we love ourselves? If so, what scriptures seem to indicate we should love ourselves? I once heard a preacher say that love of self comes naturally and the focus of which is at the root of our sin nature. Therefore, one need not worry about love of self, rather, one should focus on love for others and for God.

    I suppose the question should be asked, what qualfies as "love of self". Did Christ love himself? After all, Biblically he knowingly laid down his life and continually submitted his will to that of the Father. Therefore, what constitues "love of self"?
  3. Hmmm . . .
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    02 Nov '07 02:13
    Originally posted by whodey
    I feel compelled to start a new thread about how I view the God of the Bible. I have come to the conclusion that the study of God, or at least for me, is really based upon the study of love. For example, the Bible makes some compelling statement for my view. The Bible says that God is love. It also says that love is the greatest commandment and if one kee ...[text shortened]... s anyone have any other definitions are objections for the definitions I have provided?
    Does anyone have any other definitions are objections for the definitions I have provided?

    No, that was nicely done. I’ll just add these as “footnotes”:

    * I think the Greeks have tended to view agape and eros as being a bit closer than you have them; but your note about agape sometimes being used to mean the same as eros, and your articulation of eros seem to capture those senses where they are close. (For example, in the Song of Songs in the Greek Septuagint, agape is used in the context of some pretty erotic imagery.)

    My own particular view—which itself may provide a bit more separateness than the Greek—has been to include eros in agape. Perhaps agape could be taken to include aspects of the other four?

    * My wife was tutoring a young woman whose first language was Greek, whose second language was English, and who was learning Spanish. My wife asked her to translate philia into English. She said it was a “very deep” concept, and offered the image of “When I lie down, I lie down.” So, whether passionate or not, there does seem to be a certain sympathy (or perhaps even empathy) involved.

    When asked if she could translate agape into English, the young woman simply shook her head.

    So I suspect that some of these words have nuances in the original language that get easily lost in translation—any translation.

    * An interesting discussion point might be John 21:15-17, which provides an interplay between philia and agape.

    Once again: good presentation.
  4. Hmmm . . .
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    02 Nov '07 02:22
    Originally posted by whodey
    After thinking about what I have posted. It seems odd to me that one type of love seems absent, namely, love for self. Why is it that love of self seems absent from the Greek words for love? Also, Biblically should we love ourselves? If so, what scriptures seem to indicate we should love ourselves? I once heard a preacher say that love of self comes natu ...[text shortened]... nually submitted his will to that of the Father. Therefore, what constitues "love of self"?
    NRS Matthew 22:39 And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

    The verb here is agapeseis, and the hos means as, the same as, just like, even so/as.

    I’ll let ya’all go from there...
  5. Hmmm . . .
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    02 Nov '07 02:471 edit
    Just a further note—

    I would be interested in hearing people explain how they define and understand the word love per se—before any discussion of why or why not, or in what ways, they think the word applies to God.

    ERROR EDIT: In my first post, the young woman's description of philia should read, "When you lie down, I lie down."
  6. Utrecht
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    02 Nov '07 09:15
    Love is above duality. Above, good and bad, above you and me and so on.
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    02 Nov '07 12:0310 edits
    Originally posted by Sake
    Love is above duality. Above, good and bad, above you and me and so on.
    Interesting. What does it mean to be "above" duality? Is not love "good"? I always viewed it as "good" and why God is said to be good.

    I am of the opinion that perhaps love is about duality in that you need two to tango, so to speak. Perhaps this is why there is no Biblical word for loving one self nor does there seem to be one in the Greek langauge. Without this "duality" how is one able to express their love? How is one able to share their love? In fact, the very definition of agape that I provided above would be completly meaningless if only one party were involved.
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    03 Nov '07 02:40
    Originally posted by vistesd
    NRS Matthew 22:39 And a second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

    The verb here is agapeseis, and the hos means as, the same as, just like, even so/as.

    I’ll let ya’all go from there...
    So here we see Chirst is assuming that the love of self is already present. I guess then that Christ agrees with my statement that loving oneself comes naturally. We then need to treat others much in the same fashion as we would like to be treated. The disconnect seems to come when thinking beyond our selfish narcassistic sin nature.
  9. Hmmm . . .
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    03 Nov '07 02:59
    Originally posted by whodey
    So here we see Chirst is assuming that the love of self is already present. I guess then that Christ agrees with my statement that loving oneself comes naturally. We then need to treat others much in the same fashion as we would like to be treated. The disconnect seems to come when thinking beyond our selfish narcassistic sin nature.
    I think that's correct.

    The only addition I might add is the flip-side of Jesus' "Golden Rule", formulated earlier by Hillel:

    "What you find hateful for yourself, do not do to others."

    __________________________________

    Well, I don't know what "sin nature" is. However, if it's a tendency toward narcissism. . .
  10. Utrecht
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    03 Nov '07 11:10
    Originally posted by whodey
    Interesting. What does it mean to be "above" duality? Is not love "good"? I always viewed it as "good" and why God is said to be good.

    I am of the opinion that perhaps love is about duality in that you need two to tango, so to speak. Perhaps this is why there is no Biblical word for loving one self nor does there seem to be one in the Greek langauge. ...[text shortened]... pe that I provided above would be completly meaningless if only one party were involved.
    There can not be good without bad. They're part of the same coin. So if God is seen as good, He must be bad too. There can not be love when one gets stuck in that duality. There will always be a fight then. And love is not about fight. Love can not be described. It can be experienced, it can be lived, but to bring that into words is impossible. Cause words are constant about duality; you, I, yours, mine etc.
    When you are love, - that means beyond love for yourself (which is a good start however), beyond loving your spouse but not whoever you dislike- , there is no need for the other. There is no urge to share then for what love is concerned.
  11. Joined
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    03 Nov '07 17:47
    Originally posted by Sake
    There can not be good without bad. They're part of the same coin. So if God is seen as good, He must be bad too. There can not be love when one gets stuck in that duality. There will always be a fight then. And love is not about fight. Love can not be described. It can be experienced, it can be lived, but to bring that into words is impossible. Cause words are ...[text shortened]... - , there is no need for the other. There is no urge to share then for what love is concerned.
    I view "good" and "bad" in a different light. For me "bad" does not exist, rather, it is simply failing to do what is "good". To put it another way, I do not believe that evil exits much in the same way that darkness does not exist nor does coldness exist. This is because darkness is simply a measurement of the absence/presense of light and coldness is simply the measurement of the absence/presense of heat. Heat and light we can study because they exist, however, darkness and coldness we cannot because they do not exist.

    For me sin is simply the word describing the absence of the love of God in ones heart. 😉
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    03 Nov '07 20:37
    I composed the poem below about love a few years ago & because this
    thread is about Love/God is the reason I decided to post it.

    PURE LOVE

    Love is what life is really all about.
    Love is patient and kind to all people.
    If one treats you unjustly--do not shout.
    Love shows compassion to hurting people;
    Is a friend to the lonely and blue;
    Respects those of different opinions;
    Loves people who dislikes and insults you;
    Is a peacemaker--hates dissension.
    Love holds no grudge--is always forgiving.
    Love is tolerant and hates exclusion.
    Love wants us to love God without failing.
    God loves us and provides us Salvation.
    To atone for sin Jesus’ blood was spilled.
    By faith in Jesus, Salvation is received.

    (c) Jim Colton
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    03 Nov '07 23:01
    Originally posted by whodey
    I view "good" and "bad" in a different light. For me "bad" does not exist, rather, it is simply failing to do what is "good". To put it another way, I do not believe that evil exits much in the same way that darkness does not exist nor does coldness exist. This is because darkness is simply a measurement of the absence/presense of light and coldness is sim ...[text shortened]... r me sin is simply the word describing the absence of the love of God in ones heart. 😉
    Even if someone actively does something fairly nasty, you would see it as someone failing to do something good? You must be rather young...
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    03 Nov '07 23:16
    Originally posted by whodey
    I view "good" and "bad" in a different light. For me "bad" does not exist, rather, it is simply failing to do what is "good". To put it another way, I do not believe that evil exits much in the same way that darkness does not exist nor does coldness exist. This is because darkness is simply a measurement of the absence/presense of light and coldness is sim ...[text shortened]... r me sin is simply the word describing the absence of the love of God in ones heart. 😉
    Dude, please. Not only does evil exist, it exists purely to oppose what is good and completely destroy it. Evil is not a mere 'imbalance' or whatever it is you people think it is. Is it so hard to look at a Hitler full in the eye, or a Mugabe, or a Pol Pot and accept that evil exists?
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    04 Nov '07 04:292 edits
    Originally posted by limp biscuit
    Dude, please. Not only does evil exist, it exists purely to oppose what is good and completely destroy it. Evil is not a mere 'imbalance' or whatever it is you people think it is. Is it so hard to look at a Hitler full in the eye, or a Mugabe, or a Pol Pot and accept that evil exists?
    I suppose the same could be said for coldness. Just go to the Antartic and tell me that coldness does'nt exist.....or are you telling me that coldness exists as does darkness?

    Again, evil is a word to describe the absence of love. In such a usage I do not have a problem.
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