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Moderated Forums => Free-For-All => Religious Topics => Topic started by: Daedelus1138 on June 29, 2016, 06:24:30 PM

Title: what does it mean to love God? Is it possible?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on June 29, 2016, 06:24:30 PM
"And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.."  (Mark 12:30)

What does it mean to love God in such a manner?  Is it even possible to do so?  Did Jesus spend every minute thinking about his Father in heaven?

I ask because Luther found that command the most terrifying of all.  I would say depending on how we interpret the meaning of this command, that it could be seen as God holding us to an impossible standard. 
Title: Re: what does it mean to love God? Is it possible?
Post by: minasoliman on June 29, 2016, 06:34:30 PM
It's impossible if God did not show the same amount of Love first to us.  He loves us with all His being as well (John 17:26).

If your spouse showed that same type of sacrificial love, wouldn't it move you to move heaven and earth and all the mountains in the world to return that love to her?
Title: Re: what does it mean to love God? Is it possible?
Post by: Porter ODoran on June 29, 2016, 06:39:27 PM
Martin Luther was just a man. No doubt there were mortal reasons he was terrified of the love of God.

Already our "heart, soul, mind, and strength" are enlivened and empowered by God -- they are his gift to every person. All that remains is for us to give up the Satanic delusion that we should or can take control of them -- this is hatred of God. When we become coworkers of God, then our will joins the rest of our being in naturally arising like a flame into his boundless light of love.

I Corinthians 13 is a treatise and a poem on the subject.

I John brings out in terms of stark contrast the aspect of love of God that is love of brother or neighbor. Yes, this is the other commandment upon which all commandments depend: Love your neighbor as yourself. How does one do so? We are created to be a single organism or body of mankind, and so, again, once we give up the Satanic delusion of narcissism and identity, hatred for brother will disappear beneath the currents of intra-human love that already daily work to draw us. Pride and solitary are difficult acts requiring continual will and energy. Getting help and giving in are actually of the natural order.

In our Age a view to these facts is blurred and darkened. This is simply because the "god of this world" (St. Paul), Satan, has gained momentum to make terrific progress. Our darkness and his progress are joined, make a cycle that feeds itself and grows exponentially -- yet "IS XC NIKA," Christ conquers, in all ages. The ancient science of the Fathers, the healing of the soul for clarification of the mind's-eye (nous), is where we must turn to return to God.
Title: Re: what does it mean to love God? Is it possible?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on June 29, 2016, 09:52:19 PM
It's impossible if God did not show the same amount of Love first to us.  He loves us with all His being as well (John 17:26).

If your spouse showed that same type of sacrificial love, wouldn't it move you to move heaven and earth and all the mountains in the world to return that love to her?

Wow, both of you have some powerful answers.

I think the Lutheran would tend to say in response to God's love by unconditionally accepting us as his child in Christ through baptism, we are now free to love God.  But this love will always be imperfect in this life, because we still are sinners.

Is there ever a conflict within love?  For instance, how do we love God with all our being, but also love our neighbor?  Is there any love left for our neighbor?




Title: Re: what does it mean to love God? Is it possible?
Post by: Porter ODoran on June 29, 2016, 10:28:17 PM
I think the Lutheran would tend to say in response to God's love by unconditionally accepting us as his child in Christ through baptism, we are now free to love God.  But this love will always be imperfect in this life, because we still are sinners.

Baptism is the right start.

Quote
Is there ever a conflict within love?  For instance, how do we love God with all our being, but also love our neighbor?  Is there any love left for our neighbor?

We cannot love God any other practical way than loving our neighbor. "As ye have done it unto the least ... ye have done it unto me." That is to say, on earth (but we are not always bound to earth), they are necessarily the same thing. "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. ... No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. ... for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" (St. John's first Epistle).

The ὅμοιος (ὁμοία) in the passage you cite means more than "like" but also "the same" and even "of equal force" -- mark, too, that the lawyer had asked, "Master, which is the great commandment?" -- in sum, Christ was teaching one thing, divine love. He perfects this, late in St. John's Gospel, with "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
Title: Re: what does it mean to love God? Is it possible?
Post by: minasoliman on June 30, 2016, 04:11:46 PM
It's impossible if God did not show the same amount of Love first to us.  He loves us with all His being as well (John 17:26).

If your spouse showed that same type of sacrificial love, wouldn't it move you to move heaven and earth and all the mountains in the world to return that love to her?

Wow, both of you have some powerful answers.

I think the Lutheran would tend to say in response to God's love by unconditionally accepting us as his child in Christ through baptism, we are now free to love God.  But this love will always be imperfect in this life, because we still are sinners.

Is there ever a conflict within love?  For instance, how do we love God with all our being, but also love our neighbor?  Is there any love left for our neighbor?

Two points:  growth and divine

Love is not a thing you can point at or one action that you can identify.  Love is growth.  You grow into loving the other.  It takes time...actually it takes forever to love with all your being.  If all your being changes over time into something better day by day, so will your love.

Love is divine.  We do not say God can only deal with one relationship at a time; God gives, but never loses anything in His giving.  He loves you as if you're the only one, and yet He also gives Himself fully to all His children.  If the love we share with God deifies us, then like God, our character is not lessened when we love God with all our being, but all our being can also love our neighbor as well.

St. Augustine writes: 

What art Thou then, my God?
what, but the Lord God?
For who is Lord but the Lord?
or who is God save our God?
Most highest, most good, most potent, most omnipotent;
most merciful, yet most just;
most hidden, yet most present;
most beautiful, yet most strong,
stable, yet incomprehensible;
unchangeable, yet all-changing;
never new, never old;
all-renewing, and bringing age upon the proud, and they know it not;
ever working, ever at rest;
still gathering, yet nothing lacking;
supporting, filling, and overspreading;
creating, nourishing, and maturing;
seeking, yet having all things.
Thou lovest, without passion;
art jealous, without anxiety;
repentest, yet grievest not;
art angry, yet serene;
changest Thy works, Thy purpose unchanged;
receivest again what Thou findest, yet didst never lose;
never in need, yet rejoicing in gains;
never covetous, yet exacting usury.
Thou receivest over and above, that Thou mayest owe; and who hath aught that is not Thine?
Thou payest debts, owing nothing;
remittest debts, losing nothing.
And what had I now said, my God, my life, my holy joy?
or what saith any man when he speaks of Thee?
Yet woe to him that speaketh not, since mute are even the most eloquent.

What I highlighted, that's what Love is.  You love with everything you are and have to God, and yet you never lost anything, and you still have infinite room to spare to love others.  In love, you grow and gain, and yet in love you have all that you need and much more.

There is no conflict.  There is only awe.  When you love God, you and God become one, and you and God reach out to others in that same Love, that you may strive others to be one with you and God.
Title: Re: what does it mean to love God? Is it possible?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on June 30, 2016, 07:07:17 PM
I don't think Luther was terrified of the love of God per se.  He was definitely terrified by the idea it was a command he had to obey or face eternal hell.  Indeed, he confessed to hating such a God.

The actual love of God... I'm not sure he actually knew it until his tower conversion experience meditating on the "righteousness of faith".  Before then his experience of God seems to have been mostly fear.
Title: Re: what does it mean to love God? Is it possible?
Post by: Porter ODoran on June 30, 2016, 07:14:54 PM
I don't think Luther was terrified of the love of God per se.  He was definitely terrified by the idea it was a command he had to obey or face eternal hell.  Indeed, he confessed to hating such a God.

The actual love of God... I'm not sure he actually knew it until his tower conversion experience meditating on the "righteousness of faith".  Before then his experience of God seems to have been mostly fear.

Again, while I love him, I don't think Dr. Luther amounted to a specially profound or holy example of a man. He was vivid, loquacious, bold, a voracious student, and, of course, politically very important in his time. He was also shallow and impossibly mutable, self-obsessed and quick-tempered. But his personality isn't the point. I just don't think he amounted to more than a great man of the world.
Title: Re: what does it mean to love God? Is it possible?
Post by: Porter ODoran on June 30, 2016, 07:16:19 PM
It's impossible if God did not show the same amount of Love first to us.  He loves us with all His being as well (John 17:26).

If your spouse showed that same type of sacrificial love, wouldn't it move you to move heaven and earth and all the mountains in the world to return that love to her?

Wow, both of you have some powerful answers.

I think the Lutheran would tend to say in response to God's love by unconditionally accepting us as his child in Christ through baptism, we are now free to love God.  But this love will always be imperfect in this life, because we still are sinners.

Is there ever a conflict within love?  For instance, how do we love God with all our being, but also love our neighbor?  Is there any love left for our neighbor?

Two points:  growth and divine

Love is not a thing you can point at or one action that you can identify.  Love is growth.  You grow into loving the other.  It takes time...actually it takes forever to love with all your being.  If all your being changes over time into something better day by day, so will your love.

Love is divine.  We do not say God can only deal with one relationship at a time; God gives, but never loses anything in His giving.  He loves you as if you're the only one, and yet He also gives Himself fully to all His children.  If the love we share with God deifies us, then like God, our character is not lessened when we love God with all our being, but all our being can also love our neighbor as well.

St. Augustine writes: 

What art Thou then, my God?
what, but the Lord God?
For who is Lord but the Lord?
or who is God save our God?
Most highest, most good, most potent, most omnipotent;
most merciful, yet most just;
most hidden, yet most present;
most beautiful, yet most strong,
stable, yet incomprehensible;
unchangeable, yet all-changing;
never new, never old;
all-renewing, and bringing age upon the proud, and they know it not;
ever working, ever at rest;
still gathering, yet nothing lacking;
supporting, filling, and overspreading;
creating, nourishing, and maturing;
seeking, yet having all things.
Thou lovest, without passion;
art jealous, without anxiety;
repentest, yet grievest not;
art angry, yet serene;
changest Thy works, Thy purpose unchanged;
receivest again what Thou findest, yet didst never lose;
never in need, yet rejoicing in gains;
never covetous, yet exacting usury.
Thou receivest over and above, that Thou mayest owe; and who hath aught that is not Thine?
Thou payest debts, owing nothing;
remittest debts, losing nothing.
And what had I now said, my God, my life, my holy joy?
or what saith any man when he speaks of Thee?
Yet woe to him that speaketh not, since mute are even the most eloquent.

What I highlighted, that's what Love is.  You love with everything you are and have to God, and yet you never lost anything, and you still have infinite room to spare to love others.  In love, you grow and gain, and yet in love you have all that you need and much more.

There is no conflict.  There is only awe.  When you love God, you and God become one, and you and God reach out to others in that same Love, that you may strive others to be one with you and God.

This poetry of the great Saint -- how moving and challenging, how it sinks into my spirit. Thank you for posting it.
Title: Re: what does it mean to love God? Is it possible?
Post by: Daedelus1138 on June 30, 2016, 07:42:15 PM
Again, while I love him, I don't think Dr. Luther amounted to a specially profound or holy example of a man. He was vivid, loquacious, bold, a voracious student, and, of course, politically very important in his time. He was also shallow and impossibly mutable, self-obsessed and quick-tempered. But his personality isn't the point. I just don't think he amounted to more than a great man of the world.

I think even he claimed that he wasn't necessarily the most virtuous of men.

For a similar theology, St. Therese of Lisieux is a more obvious example of holiness.  But she also struggled with self-obsession.

What I find fascinating is that they both were neurotic and both driven to a theology of divesting themselves of personal responsibility and handing their salvation over to God completely.  And at least in St. Therese's case, we know it was likely caused by a brain disease (St. Vitus Dance).   Luther probably had a neurosis from a genetic temperament.  I find them interesting examples just because I also suffer from being neurotic and anxiety prone.  I have a sharp mind but sometimes my mind is out of control with anxiety.
Title: Re: what does it mean to love God? Is it possible?
Post by: Porter ODoran on June 30, 2016, 07:52:34 PM
No comparison. Therese was a mystic in the tradition of the Church; Luther was an educated humanist forging a path toward alienation and narcissism, away from the Church. But this is a whole other topic, obviously.
Title: Re: what does it mean to love God? Is it possible?
Post by: Justin Kolodziej on June 30, 2016, 08:07:41 PM
I was taught it is impossible to really love God unless God who is Love lives in us. This was kind of the whole point of the All Saints Sunday homily, though substitute "really love God" for "become a saint", which is probably the same thing anyway.