The Trinity and the Doctrine of Love -- By: Alexander Strauch
EMJ 12:2 (Winter 03) p. 265
The Trinity and the Doctrine of Love
God Is Love
One of the most thrilling and unique aspects of the triune God of the Bible is love. The Scripture says: “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). In its day, this was a radical statement. In the ancient world among the Romans and Greeks, such a statement would have been meaningless. They would never say, “Zeus is love.” “Jupiter is love.” Emil Brunner says:
The message that God is love is something wholly new in the world. We perceive this if we try to apply this statement to the divinities of the various religions of the world: Brahma, Vishnu, Allah is Love. All these combinations are obviously wholly impossible.1
According to the Bible, Love is an attribute of God’s nature. “God is love.” Leon Morris writes: “This means more than that God is loving, it means that love is of the essence of his being.”2 God did not create Love. He did not say, “Let there be love.” Love is not a created thing; it is part and parcel of the divine being himself. It is his own property, his own affection.
When we read that “God is love,” we are compelled to think of the triune nature of God. William Clarke writes in his book, The Christian Doctrine of God,
EMJ 12:2 (Winter 03) p. 266
“Love is a matter of relations and does not exist outside of them, for it implies two, lover and the beloved.”3 The God of the Bible is one God, yet tri-personal—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. There is one God in three persons; there is one-in-three, and there is three-in-one. Thus there has always (eternally) existed an amazing, dynamic inter-relationship between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit characterized by love. Each member in the holy fellowship of the Godhead loves and is beloved.
Our God is not an egotistical, self-absorbed deity alone looking at and worshiping himself in a mirror from eternity past. Instead, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist in loving communal life with one another, speaking to one another, working together, giving and receiving, and delighting in each other for all eternity.
It is the Gospel of John that reveals the amazing, dynamic interpersonal fellowship of love between Father and Son, a relationship “of infinite, eternal tenderness.”4 Thinking of this eternal co...
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