Study Topic: The Love of God. Part of the ResearchSpider Study Network... Read more below...
What is the Love of God?
If you are studying the love of God for a class, a profession, or on a personal quest for the purpose of life and a door to continual peace and bliss, you will soon discover the concept of "Mysticism." At core, each religion has a vast literature of experiences and steps by adherents, from Baha'i to Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islam, Judaeism, etc. that involve loving God as the primary quest and goal of all spiritual practices. We wrote the Wikipedia article on the Love of God reproduced below, which will give you a good start in exploring these various concepts. Every system has its Evelyn Underhills, Sister Theresa's, Interior Castles, Mathnavi, Seven Valleys and other specific core teachings about the love of God.
The old "know thyself" has an exciting "negative" aspect. We might not be able to know "what" we are, but we can know what we ARE NOT: a body, a mind, thoughts, feelings. We ARE a soul-- but since that reality contains the Universe, while "connected" to our root-experience bodies, minds and brains, during this tiny initial spark of time, we can't begin to understand what our soul is. This can be peaceful and freeing in the essential core of all teachings about the love of God: prayer.
Love of God From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Love of God (divine love, theophilia) is a central notion in monotheistic, personalconceptions of God. "Love of God" means the love that someone has for God, as "friend of God" (theophilos) can mean someone who is friendly towards God or who is loved by God. Love of God, understood as someone's love for God is associated with concepts of piety, worship, and devotion towards God. "Love of God" also means the love God has for us, as in Psalm 52:1: "The steadfast love of God endures all the day"; Psalm 52:8: "I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever"; Romans 8:39: "Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God"; 2 Corinthians 13:14: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all"; 1 John 4:9: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him"; etc.
Bahá'í Faith The teachings of the Bahá'í Faith hold that the love of God is the primary reason for human creation, and one of the primary purposes of life. The love of God purifies human hearts and through it humans become transformed and self-sacrificing, as they reflect more the attributes and qualities of God.`Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the religion wrote: "There is nothing greater or more blessed than the Love of God! It gives healing to the sick, balm to the wounded, joy and consolation to the whole world, and through it alone can man attain Life Everlasting. The essence of all religions is the Love of God, and it is the foundation of all the sacred teachings." Bhakti movements Main article: Bhakti yoga See also: Svayam Bhagavan and Krishnaism Devotees of Krishna worship him in different emotional, transcendental raptures, known as rasas. Two major systems of Krishna worship developed, each with its own philosophical system. These two systems are aishwaryamaya bhakti and madhuryamaya bhakti. Aishwaryamaya bhakti is revealed in the abode of queens and kingdom of Krishna in Dwaraka. Madhuryamaya Bhakti is revealed in the abode of braja. Thus Krishna is variously worshipped according to the development of devotee's taste in worshipping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, as father, friend, master, beloved and many different varieties which are all extraordinary. Krishna is famous as Makhanchor, or butter thief. He loved to eat butter and is the beloved of his little village in Gokul. These are all transcendental descriptions. Thus they are revealed to the sincere devotees in proportion to the development in their love of Godhead. Vaishnavism is a form of monotheism, sometimes described as 'polymorphic monotheism', with implication that there are many forms of one original deity, defined as belief in a single unitary deity who takes many forms. In Krishnaism this deity is Krishna, sometimes referred as intimate deity - as compared with the numerous four-armed forms of Narayana or Vishnu. It may refer to either of the interrelated concepts of the love of God towards creation, the love of creatures towards God or relationship between the two as in bhakti. Greek polytheism In polytheism, that which is loved by the gods (τὸ θεοφιλές) was identified as the virtuous or pious. Socrates famously asked whether this identification is a tautology, see Euthyphro dilemma. The words "philotheos" and "theophilos" In Greekphilotheos means "loving God, pious", as philosophos means a lover of wisdom (sophia). The word Theophilos was and is used as a proper name, but does not appear as an adjective or common noun in Greek, which uses instead the form theophilês, which means "dear to God" but also "loving God". Eric Voegelin has used "theophilos" as a common noun: "In the Phaedrus, Plato has Socrates describe the characteristics of the True thinker. When Phaedrus asks what one should call such a man, Socrates, following Heraclitus, replies that the term sophos, one who knows, would be excessive: this attribute may be applied to God Alone : but one well call him philosophos. Thus "actual knowledge" is reserved to God; finite man can only be the "lover of knowledge," not himself the one who knows. In the meaning of the passage, the lover of the knowledge that belongs only to the knowing God, the philosophos, becomes the theophilos, the lover of God." Christianity In Christianity, God's love for mankind or the world is expressed in Greek as agape (ἀγάπη), famously in John 3:16: "God so loved the world" (οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον). The same Greek word agape is used also of the love of Christians for one another and for other human beings, as in 1 Thessalonians 3:12: "May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else" (ὑμᾶς δὲ ὁ Κύριος πλεονάσαι καὶ περισσεύσαι τῇ ἀγάπῃ εἰς ἀλλήλους καὶ εἰς πάντας), but apart from quotations of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy 6:5 ("Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength", see Ministry of Jesus#General ethics and Biblical law in Christianity), there is no instance in the New Testament where agape is used of effective love by humans for God. To avoid the sexual connotations of the Latin word "amor", the word "caritas" was preferred as the Latin equivalent of this New Testament word. Thomas Aquinas taught that the essence of sanctity lies in love of God, and Thérèse of Lisieux made love of God the centre of her spirituality. Christian Orthodoxy In Greek Orthodox Christianity, a person's love for God is called a theophilos, this love one has of God is the catalyst that drives the relationship between man and God referred to as theosis. This is contrasted by the Church's opposition[clarification needed] which depict existence and its creation as an act of tyranny. This position is vaguely covered under the terms misotheism, and gnosticism. Theophilia is love for and by God, Philokalia is the love of beauty (as manifestation of God) and also as a set of Eastern Orthodox ascetic religious texts, centered on the idea of using theoria (contemplation of Beauty and or God) called Hesychasm to cultivate true beauty and therefore the love of God. Theoria being the manifestation or experience of God in the life of the person as the highest beauty. Christian mysticism An experience of divine love is central in mysticism. Medieval German mystics, women in particular (Mechthild of Magdeburg, Hildegard von Bingen), express divine love as a burning passion. Similarly, Julian of Norwich in her Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love (ca. 1393). Hinduism In Hinduism, in contrast to kāma, which is selfish, or pleasurable love, prema – or prem – refers to elevated love. Karuna is compassion and mercy, which impels one to help reduce the suffering of others. Bhakti is a Sanskrit term, meaning "loving devotion to the supreme God." A person who practices bhakti is called a bhakta. Hindu writers, theologians, and philosophers have distinguished nine forms of bhakti, which can be found in the Bhagavata Purana and works by Tulsidas. The philosophical work Narada Bhakti Sutras, written by an unknown author (presumed to be Narada), distinguishes eleven forms of love. On the mystic side of Hinduism, one of the forms of Yoga includes Ishvarapranidhana, or self-surrender to God, and His worship. Note that Islam also refers to surrender to the Will of God, motivated by His love and good pleasure. Islam The love of God, and the fear of God, are two of the foundations of Islam. The highest spiritual attainment in Islam is related to the love of God. “Yet there are men who take (for worship) others besides God, as equal (with God): They love them as they should love God. But those of Faith are overflowing in their love for God.” (Quran 2:165) Islam, as in Christianity, also has numerous mystic, and in many cases inclusive, traditions surrounding the love of God, as in: “O lovers! The religion of the love of God is not found in Islam alone. In the realm of love, there is neither belief, nor unbelief.” (Rumi) Judaism The love of God has been called the "essence of Judaism." “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deut. 6:5) Other Goethe expresses the sentiment of love of God alongside the opposite sentiments in his two poems Ganymed and Prometheus, respectively. Paradox and Complexity How does the concept of the love of God integrate with the fear of God (as in Islam), the wrath of God (as in Judaism), the unknowable nature of God (as in Baha'i), the inner love of the Higher Self Buddha-nature (Buddhism), and the even more complex ChristianBiblical references to God's other seemingly "stern" or judging qualities? At first glance, the love of God would seem a simple concept. D.A. Carson argues that simple notions of the love of God are a cultural phenomenon. Using Sci Fi movies such as E.T., Contact, Independence Day, the Alien series, as well as deep Biblical scholarship, Carson proposes that the love of God is even more complex than many of the other concepts we assume to be complex, such as the Trinity. "The love of God in our culture has been purged of anything the culture finds uncomfortable..." according to Carson. Deeply exploring the paradox and complexity of this topic (from a Christian standpoint), Wayne Jacobsen comments (and William P Young praises in the forward): "We seem to be far more comfortable when our deities command fear. Almost every idol or false god man has ever created seeks the submission of his or her subjects by sheer terror. But love? What false god ever wanted to be loved? Feared? Yes! Obeyed? Yes. But never loved." See also
^ Quotation: In this statement no object of human love is indicated, simply "We love". The reason for that love is, "because he first loved us" (v. 19). We might have expected, "We love him because he first loved us." The following verses (vv. 20-21) show that responsive human love is in fact directed to the brother. The key to the argument is the assumption that love requires the seen presence of the one loved. Given the acceptance of the invisibility of God, a teaching common to Hellenistic Judaism and the Greco-Roman world, love for God is excluded. (Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible, p. 1533).
^ Scripture in tradition: the Bible and its interpretation in the Orthodox Church By John Breck Published by St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2001 ISBN 0881412260, 9780881412260
^ Rumi's Quatrain no. 768, translated by Gamard & Farhadi. Versions of this quatrain have been made by Shahram Shiva, "Hush: Don't Tell God," p. 17 and by Azima Kolin (based on Mafi), "Rumi: Whispers of the Beloved," p. 71. [`âshiq to yaqîn dân, ke musulmân na-bûd dar maZhab-é `ishq, kufr-o îmân na-bûd]
"The essence of love is for man to turn his heart to the Beloved One, and sever himself from all else but Him, and desire naught save that which is the desire of his Lord." --Baha'u'llah
"Beg everything thou desirest from Baha'u'llah... If thou are longing for the Love of God, He will bestow it upon thee." --Abdu'l-Baha
"Love is... the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms. Love is the one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next. Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the Universe. Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle." --Abdu'l-Baha
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