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God is Love and the Trinity

God, Christ, & The Holy Spirit

Re: God is Love and the Trinity

Postby mattrose » Tue Apr 04, 2017 1:58 pm

For the purposes of this thread... I don't think it matters if we're talking binitarian or trinitarian (so I won't get into a defense of the personhood of the Holy Spirit here).

This thread is about, if I remember correctly, whether the phrase 'God is love' (speaking to the essence of God) makes sense in a unitarian construct. Personally, I don't think it does, but I recognize that many people don't find this argument convincing.
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Re: God is Love and the Trinity

Postby darinhouston » Tue Apr 04, 2017 9:03 pm

mattrose wrote:For the purposes of this thread... I don't think it matters if we're talking binitarian or trinitarian (so I won't get into a defense of the personhood of the Holy Spirit here).

This thread is about, if I remember correctly, whether the phrase 'God is love' (speaking to the essence of God) makes sense in a unitarian construct. Personally, I don't think it does, but I recognize that many people don't find this argument convincing.


Matt's right -- Homer, I would be glad to continue on another thread. .... though it was posted in Pneumatology -- ;)
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Re: God is Love and the Trinity

Postby mattrose » Tue Apr 04, 2017 10:30 pm

darinhouston wrote:though it was posted in Pneumatology -- ;)


I just realized that I never know what category things are posted in since I only look at new and active topics :)
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Re: God is Love and the Trinity

Postby 21centpilgrim » Wed May 24, 2017 8:43 am

Homer wrote:If God the Father, God the Word/Son, and God the Holy Spirit have not eternally co-existed then it would seem necessary to say that God was not always love as the word translated love, agape, in "God is Love", speaks of an attitude of one being toward another. If there was ever not another then during that state of being God was not love.



Back to the original question. I think the assumption is false that there has to be multiple selves for there to be love. The bible tells us that we as individuals love our selves.
Why could not a single self perfect being love them self?
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him.
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Re: God is Love and the Trinity

Postby Homer » Wed May 24, 2017 10:20 am

Back to the original question. I think the assumption is false that there has to be multiple selves for there to be love. The bible tells us that we as individuals love our selves.
Why could not a single self perfect being love them self?


But then we would have a God who is characterized by selfishness; selfishness is not a virtue in Christianity.
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Re: God is Love and the Trinity

Postby 21centpilgrim » Wed May 24, 2017 10:39 am

Homer wrote:
Back to the original question. I think the assumption is false that there has to be multiple selves for there to be love. The bible tells us that we as individuals love our selves.
Why could not a single self perfect being love them self?


But then we would have a God who is characterized by selfishness; selfishness is not a virtue in Christianity.



Homer, "You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself." this is the assumption in scripture of non-sinful, non-selfish self love. Sorry for not initially clarifying the distinction between a self love that is sinful and the kind that is not.

Just as God does things for His own name's sake and it is not wrong because He is the most glorious, most majestic and most worthy of anything in the universe. For God to delight in and be pleased with the perfection of Himself is not selfish but it is right because of who He is.

"whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things."
God as a single self being could rightly love and dwell upon His own self in a non- selfish way, correct?
Then those who feared the LORD spoke with each other, and the LORD listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him.
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Re: God is Love and the Trinity

Postby Homer » Wed May 24, 2017 4:34 pm

21centpilgrim,

You wrote:
Just as God does things for His own name's sake and it is not wrong because He is the most glorious, most majestic and most worthy of anything in the universe. For God to delight in and be pleased with the perfection of Himself is not selfish but it is right because of who He is.


IMO this does not address the point of the OP. We always seem to have in mind the "God is love" statement Jon made but consider the context:

1 John 4: 7-12 (NASB)
7. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. 10. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.


I do not think John had self-love in mind at all in the context but rather had in mind "other directed love". And that is the point. Before God created man, without the Trinity (or binity if you prefer) there was no "other". To fit John's context "God is love" required, it seems to me, an "other".
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Re: God is Love and the Trinity

Postby darinhouston » Wed May 24, 2017 9:04 pm

Homer wrote:
Back to the original question. I think the assumption is false that there has to be multiple selves for there to be love. The bible tells us that we as individuals love our selves.
Why could not a single self perfect being love them self?


But then we would have a God who is characterized by selfishness; selfishness is not a virtue in Christianity.


Selfishness implies the existence of "others" -- without "others" selfishness has no context. I would say that self-love is not sinful if the self is God. If you love yourself more than others, that would be sinful. But, if there are no others, that can't happen.
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Re: God is Love and the Trinity

Postby mattrose » Wed May 24, 2017 9:34 pm

21centpilgrim wrote:Back to the original question. I think the assumption is false that there has to be multiple selves for there to be love. The bible tells us that we as individuals love our selves.
Why could not a single self perfect being love them self?


I think this is an appropriate question to ask those making the suggestion that 'God is love' makes no sense if there's no plurality within the godhead. Thank you for posing it.

You may be right.

But I would respond in 3 ways

First, I'd respond the way Homer has responded... by focusing on the 'other-oriented' context of 1 John 4:8+16.

Second, I'd respond by suggesting that self-love only really makes sense in a world where there are others. What does it even mean to look out for your own best interest when there simply are no 'others' to potentially have conflicting interests? Self-love, in this sense, might be a good thing (in a sense), but only makes sense in relation to other-oriented love. If this is so, the Father could/would have had self-love, but only in perfect relation to His other-oriented love (for the Son and Spirit).

Third, I'd respond by pondering that, maybe, self-love isn't an ideal thing. Maybe God's vision for humanity was 'other-oriented' love, but in our fallen state that other-oriented love turned inward. Therefore, Jesus told them to turn their inward-oriented love outward. [From now on] love your neighbor as you [currently] love yourself. Just speculating here.
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Re: God is Love and the Trinity

Postby Timios » Wed May 24, 2017 10:37 pm

Homer wrote:If God the Father, God the Word/Son, and God the Holy Spirit have not eternally co-existed then...


I find the phrase "God the Father" in the Bible. But I do not find "God the Son" or "God the Holy Spirit" anywhere in the Bible.
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