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What is love?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Helen, Apr 5, 2006.

  1. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    Only on the BB would defining love be turned into a C. vs. A. discussion. [​IMG]
     
  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan Well-Known Member
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    French

    I believe the love is an action (doing something) not a fuzzy feeling. How did God love those he did not choose to be saved. What action did he do for them.

    Or is love a fuzzy feeling? Are you saying God had "love feelings" for those he did not choose and therfore sent hell with out chance for redemption.

    When God says love your neighbor, is it good enough to just have feelings for them while doing nothing?
    </font>[/QUOTE]Good points DeeJay. Keep talking. I'm almost ready to redefine agape as, a decision to love resulting in action towards the loved one. [​IMG]
     
  3. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist New Member

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    Once again, evidence that it is not Calvinists who are taking over the board and turning everything into a Calvinism-Arminianism debate.
     
  4. Frenchy

    Frenchy New Member

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    Good question, I cannot explain God's love (his nature, his character) except that it is unconditional. it is not based on what we do or don't do, it just IS. the fact that God allows man to even exist is LOVE, for God to allow man to enjoy life is LOVE, for God to bestow gifts on the unjust is LOVE. who are we to question how his love should work?

    God is also HOLY, RIGHTEOUS and JUST.
    so in that sense should we not be thankful he even allows anyone to even go to HEAVEN in the first place? that is what you should be questioning, why he even allows sinful man to be saved?
     
  5. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

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    Once again, evidence that it is not Calvinists who are taking over the board and turning everything into a Calvinism-Arminianism debate. </font>[/QUOTE]...or you can respond to the question. Why we were created and the character of God are vital to the understanding of the Bible and our relationship with God.

    Were we created to and for love, as I seem to read? Yes, I know "for God's glory" but in what way? I think He has told us.

    And can we love if we have no choices about what we do, say, think, are? Or are we simply behaving as we were created to behave.

    And if we are behaving the way we were created to behave, when why command anything against our natures, which is what all ten of the Ten Commandments do? Which is what Jesus does, and Paul does...

    They aren't preaching to the animals, who do behave exactly as they were created to behave. Obviously there must be some sort of response expected which we are capable of giving, even in an unredeemed state.

    If love is love, if obedience is obedience, and if neither one is a built-in response which a man has no way of controlling, then we have a reason why God allowed sin and has given each of us the opportunity and the ability to choose to love and obey or otherwise. The tree of life or the tree of disobedience and death.

    But if love is not something we can do, or at least want to do, on our own, then love is not a decision, not a choice, not a commitment. It is a programmed response which could be termed along with instincts.

    But that is not what we see in people and that is not what we see in the Bible.

    In short, we are commanded to love. If we are to obey, then we must have the choice to love or not love; to commit or not commit. Frenchy, I am not arguing that God's love is not eternally 'bigger' and better than ours. I am arguing about what is possible for us as human beings. Is the command to love a command to make a decision?

    And if it is a command to make a decision, are we then not capable of choosing to make that decision? That does not mean we are capable of following through, but are we not capable of wanting to? Isn't that what freedom of choice really means?
     
  6. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist New Member

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    I waited a while to weigh in on this one, because I don't want to sound argumentative. Helen, I like the way you put the things in your OP.

    I agree that, in some sense, love is a decision. However, emotion is not a side-issue. It is not as if we decide to do things for someone and wait for emotions to come later. Love is definitely an emotion.

    The idea that love is not an emotion was popularized by Immanuel Kant. His reasoning was a fairly simple syllogism:

    1) Love is commanded in the Bible.
    2) You can't command an emotion.
    3) Therefore, love isn't an emotion.

    John Piper has done an exception job at discounting this view by pointing out that emotions are commanded all over the Bible.

    Joy is commanded and joy is an emotion. "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice." Fear is commanded and fear is an emotion. "Fear Him who has the power to send both body and soul to hell." Anger is commanded and anger is an emotion. "Be angry and do not sin."

    Love will produce actions, and could even be described as actions. But all the actions could be there and there not be love. How is this possible if love is an action?

    1 Corinthians 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

    The fact is, I believe, that love is an emotion that produces actions. This is why Jesus could say, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." If the action is the love, then Jesus would have been saying, "If you love me, you will love me." The actions prove love is there. Hence it is appropriate to say that if the actions are not there, there is no love. But it is not appropriate to say that if the actions are there, there is definitely love.

    Consider Jesus' words to the Pharisees in Matthew 15:7-8 - "Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 'These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me."

    The Pharisees had all the action, but none of the right affections. Love is BOTH affection (emotion) and actions.
     
  7. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

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    If love were primarily an emotion, love could come and go with the winds and indigestion. Love causes a lot of emotions, but love itself is not an emotion.

    Neither is joy. Happiness is an emotion. Joy is a deep form of contentment and rest that Jesus gives -- the total absence of fear which perfect love casts out. It can surface as happiness, an emotion, but joy itself is not an emotion.

    The fear of God, which is commanded, is not 'afraid' type of fear, but awe and deep respect and a remembering of who God is compared to who we are! That is NOT an emotion!

    Affection is an emotion. Love is a commited decision to care for someone over and above oneself. Proof? God so loved the world that He gave His Son. That was not an emotional response to a sinful and insulting world. That was a commitment and a caring that He decided upon.
     
  8. Frenchy

    Frenchy New Member

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    You don't get it! Man's love is shown towards God AFTER he is saved, not before or while he is getting saved. We were created to Glorify God something we were NOT doing before salvation. and the only way we can GLORIFY God is through Jesus and the Holy Spirit working IN us. Heb 3 says that only the good works which Christ has done through us will matter everything DONE in the flesh will be burned up! It's ALL about God not about you
     
  9. Frenchy

    Frenchy New Member

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  10. Frenchy

    Frenchy New Member

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    I see Helen isn't able to debate any of my arguments, so carry on while i check out some other threads.
     
  11. bapmom

    bapmom New Member

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    Thats funny Frenchy, because Helen is talking about GOD showing HIS love to US (all about GOD) and all you can talk about is how MAN shows man's love to GOD (all about man.)
     
  12. bapmom

    bapmom New Member

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    Personally I think most of us fall extremely short of God's definition of love. I agree wholly with Helen, and for me it was a huge step to realize this truth....that love is not an emotion but is an action.
     
  13. Frenchy

    Frenchy New Member

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    No bapmom she tried and turn this into a Armenian and Calvinsist debate. a few of us saw where she was going with it, yet she still can't and never has been able to answer my questions.

    Helen said
     
  14. bapmom

    bapmom New Member

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    Helen started the thread.......I know that's what she was intending. She didn't hijack anything, as is happening in many other threads.

    I think in this case its a whole "goose and gander" thing
     
  15. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist New Member

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    Helen, we have been over the compatibility of God's complete sovereignty and man's choice hundreds of times. And yet you still try to cast Calvinists as if they say that man doesn't have a choice.

    When the command is given to love, we have the choice to choose to love or to choose not to love. None of us want to choose the right thing, so we choose not to love every time. That does not indict the commandment or the command-giver. The commandment was not ever supposed to give the ability to keep it. Nor does it assume ability.

    This is Paul's whole discussion of the Law in Romans in Romans 7-8 (despite your view that it talks about neutrality at birth). Paul is saying that when the Law came, all it did was revive and encourage sin rather than helping us stay away from it. It gave no ability to keep it.

    Romans 8:3-4 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    You can cry foul at this and say that it is unrighteous for God to give us a command that we can't keep, but this is what God did. If you don't like it, don't take it up with me. I'm just the messenger. Take it up with Him.
     
  16. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist New Member

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    I didn't say love was primarily an emotion. I said it had both emotional and volitional aspects. It is an emotion and and action. You can't deny either.

    I would like you to do a word-study on joy and happiness in the Bible. I dare say you will find that the Bible is indescriminate in it's usage of those terms.

    Then, how come the terrible threats if we do not obey Him? It sounds like some kind of emotional response is expected.

    You are right that love does not derive from the response of the one loved. Love is an emotion and an action that someone has whether that person is loved in response or not. God loved despite our sinfulness. That does not prove it is not emotional.

    But, God is on a completely different plane. God is said to be joyful and loving and happy and pleased and angry and wrathful, etc. But God is not a man and, therefore, does not have emotions like we do.
     
  17. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist New Member

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    Actually, my point was that Helen has complained more than once that Calvinists are hijacking this board. She has every right to start any thread that she wants. But to complain about Calvinists always starting thread to debate Arminians, and then to start a thread with an innocuous title like "What is love," which has nothing to do with Calvinism-Arminianism, and then to, after 1 1/2 pages spring a supposed slam at Calvinists is dishonest and hypocritical.

    If she is going to do this, which I don't really mind, then she needs to stop whining about us bringing up debates. I mean this as no disrespect to her, it just looks like the pot calling the kettle black.
     
  18. webdog

    webdog Active Member
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    :confused:
    Jesus says unless we receive the Gospel as a child, we will not inherit It in Mark 10:15. Try explaining this theology to a child and see if they understand it. The Gospel message is not a puzzle. If God gives a command, God gives the ability to obey. If God commands to seek Him, by all means we can seek Him. This a child understands, and the point that Jesus was trying to make. Faith as a child takes the understanding as a child.
    According to you, not the Bible.
    Unless your words are inspired, I will take it up with you. If you are the messenger of the "truth", God must be blinding me to it. Why would that be?
     
  19. Dave

    Dave Member
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    For those who think that there was any possibility of Israel keeping the law, look at the last few chapters of Deuteronomy where God tells them what will happen WHEN they fall away from Him. Not IF they fall away - WHEN they fall away.

    God knew they couldn't keep the law because of their fallen natures, but that didn't mean that the commandment wasn't righteous. God still took them from Egypt and brought them to the promised land. He also endured much sin on their part before He removed them from it.

    The whole discussion of love being a decision or not has nothing to do with this, by the way. Nobody says that man cannot make choices. Man cannot, however, on his own choose do be righteous, or to do the work of God (believing on the Lord Jesus) unless God draws him.

    This was proven by the law, in that nobody could keep the law perfectly except for Jesus. Only God could keep his law because God is righteous. Man lost his ability to do so in the garden. Paul makes an excellent case for this in the first seven chapters of Romans; a fitting indictment of the whole human race.

    Relating this to the question of man's ability to make a choice to love or not is ridiculous. People love other people whether they are saved or not. Nothing to do with free-will in regard to salvation.
     
  20. Aaron

    Aaron Member
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    I haven't read every post. I'm short on time. So if this has already been said....GRRRRRREAT!

    Love is a broad topic. To ask, "What is love," is like asking, "What is God?" The short answer, love is the fulfillment of the Law, Rom. 13:10.

    Love is not simply affectionate feeling, but it does not exist without it. One cannot love his enemies and have a neutral or ill feeling about them.

    That being said, I think two of the best works on love are A.W. Pink's An Exposition of the Sermon on the Mount chapters 19 - 21, and Hannah Hurnard's Hind's Feet on High Places, about Much Afraid's journey to the High Places where perfect love casteth out all fear.
     
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