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is Gods love impersonal?

Mr.Big_is_Bud_Good
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12/28/2011 12:50:46 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
It was brought to my attention by a very thoughtful, respectful, and intelligent Gileandos in another thread that Gods love is impersonal. I fealt differently and gave my reasons for feeling that way. But Gileandos failed to reply to my response.

Therefore I ask you, what are your thoughts on the idea thats Gods love is impersonal?

the context of our discussion follow. but keep in mind, the question is "is Gods love impersonal?"

@Gileandos

You are using non-theological definitions.

Here's the problem with that. "theological definitions" are not bound by logic or reason, they are only bound by faith.
And for us to live in a world where all actions and reactions must be dictated by reason and logic to insure a predictable and realistic desired outcome, we need to base our reasoning on something that is based on logic and not faith.

God has impersonal love not unconditional. Unless you are asserting just a god that is not the Christian God.

I'm not quite sure where in the bible I read that God's love is impersonal. I would welcome you to share that with me.
And if what you say is true, "God's love is not unconditional" that kind of negates Christianity's "Selling points" doesn't it? The Christianity that I know invites new members through the promise of forgiveness of ones sin's, no matter what the sin may be (with one minor exception). Think of the whole message behind the song amazing grace. (it doesn't matter how much of a wretch you are, you will be forgiven.) Thats an example of implying, unconditional love.
But the semantics here are the implication that Gods love is "impersonal" coming from what is defined as a personal God. Not to mention that the theological arguments for Gods existence is that his love is perfect. and by my understanding, "Impersonal love" falls short of "Perfect love".

I also am able to have impersonal love for the homeless man down the street. I offer my care for his needs, my sympathy and compassion. That does not mean should he attack me that there will not be consequences.

Good response, but poor analogy, Consequences based on love would be to take measures that the perpetrator not take those actions again. and remember this is a god that says it 's totally OK to attack you as long as he repents, God will forgive him regardless if you forgive him or not. the attacker can still get into heaven.
Not to mention, that you also do not have a personal relationship with the homeless man down the street the way God has with all his children. in Gods eyes he is one of his children as well. (as long as he repents, meaning appreciates gods love through praise, repentance, etc. prerequisites in order to receive that gift of love)


Impersonal love is for the good inside of people, stated another way, Impersonal love is for the people they 'should be'.

Sounds like that definition falls short of perfect love.
In that example, if my child is not the person I feel he "Should be" he somehow gets less than my 100% love. that my love for him is dependent on what I think he should be? I'm reasonably sure there are many Christians that would feel differently about that assertion.

If they reject the goodness, I cannot give them that impersonal love.

Why not?

I can only give them punishment for their decisions.

There are other options besides punishment

If the homeless man rapes children he will only see a meager portion of the impersonal love I have for him.

That may be true, but but as far as God is concerned, all he has to do is ask for forgiveness, and repent. (as well as the prerequisite believe, praise, etc.)

Punishment will be the only thing in his purview.

Incorrect


It is not ingratitude for my impersonal love that I gifted the homeless man I am punishing, but rejection of the goodness that should be chosen by him that I am punishing.

Edit: That would still appear to be a condition required to receive Gods love.

Love can not include selfishness.

Love can in fact be a psycho selfish love. I will assume you are referring to a type of divine love?

Psycho selfish love is not love, that is a word used to define something else.
The opposite of love is not hate, it is selfishness.


Again, Gods love is "agape" or impersonal for all mankind.

This statement goes against Christian dogma.
Remember the selling points?, God is a personal God?


A personal love is extended to those who respond to God's character by becoming "like" God.

This statement declares that Gods love comes with strings attached. Theres simply no way to get around that.
For me or you or anyone else to love one of their children, only if they do as I say, is something short of what real love truly is.
Why would God be held to a different standard?

It is an impersonal love for the type of persons they should be or could be.

See earlier points

It is the reason that Jesus came on the cross to change the people back to the good by showing them the light.

Incorrect: Jesus died on the cross to pay for all of mankind's sins. (even the homeless man down the street that attacked you) It was an act of saying, "you are loved no matter what you do, and I forgive you" (that pretty much equates to unconditional love) but theirs an untold clause in there that excludes you from forgiveness if you don't appreciate Gods love. which falls short of the promise of unconditional love that is implied.


Love is patient but not infinite.

Not according to Christian dogma.

If I love you, my love is not dependent on you appreciating my love.
and If I were to give you a gift, any further rewards that I may have for you are not dependent an whether you appreciate that gift, If I do indeed love you unconditionally.

That may be true for you, but it is not true of God

So your saying that God's love is less than perfect?


or how even human's function.

Incorrect: mother Theressa might have something to say about that

I can show my impersonal love to Hitler. I can be patient with him and try to teach him how to be good.

Even Hitler is guaranteed a place in heaven if he were to of repented.

When he spurns (not my love) my goodness and wholesomeness.
What was the net result of my affections for a dedicated man to evil?

A guaranteed place in heaven if he repented before his death.

Thats what love is, it's a gift.
People that give gifts with the expectation of something in return do not do so out of love.
Therefore: How can you qualify Gods love as perfect?

I would not be so pretentious to assume God's love is an irrevocable gift, as you seem to be suggesting.

Thats not what I am suggesting, I'm with you on this one.
If you don't give me something in return for what I've given you, my love is revoked.

God's love is what he has for us. Nothing logically follows that his love, or any human display of love, is irrevocable or must be without conditions.

Incorrect: If your saying that to live "Forever in the kingdom of heaven" is not logically implying irrevocable love. you are mistaken. you are also using the logic that is outside non-theological definitions to do so I might add.

For the Christian all of God's promises dwell in a single concept. Repentance.

Correct: Repentance, the paying back of Gods love through appreciation etc.

Those who deny the goodness God placed in them will not see the ‘goodness' of God, but the judgment of God.

Seems God is held to a different standard of morals than the rest of us doesn't it?
Brian: I'm not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand? Honestly!
Girl: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity.
Brian: What? Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah!
Followers: He is! He is the Messiah!
Brian: Now, f**k off!
[silence]
Arthur: How shall we f**k off, O Lord?
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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12/28/2011 2:38:45 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Sorry,
I have been trying to complete this degree quickly and when responding competes with studying, clearly school wins out. (Please respond to this post as a whole and not in line by line bits)

I will be brief and clear to the forum's post.

http://en.wikipedia.org...

This work by C.S. Lewis is great and a good read. There are four types of Love.
Agape
Eros
Philia
Storge

Agape is the focus and the word for the Biblical understanding of impersonal love.

When Christians say unconditional love or more correctly impersonal love, it means unconditional of circumstance, not unconditional of "everything" globally.

The agape love in Greek directly discusses the love as sourced in the giver and not the circumstances of the receiver.

As to Theological definitions,
When theologians discuss these definitions we are not using some mystical faith apparatus but clearly the definitions of 2000 year old dead languages need to be "made" to apply to a modern English words.

So a Theological definition is a logical and reasonable approach to broaden the use of a single word "Love" in modern English to be equated to the many words used by these ancient languages.

The rest of your post seemed to be trying to restrict your view of God to modern English definitions and such.

If there is a particular insight you would like to pull out please numerically number your points that you feel need to be addressed.

Like Perfect Love being a very subjective concept. To help me draw this subjective concept out, I will use the following analogy.

Analogy:
I love my son.
He grows up and murders 30 children in 17 states and commits countless accompanying crimes.

I approach him and ask him to repent. He spurns me. He states "If I ever get out of here I will not only do the same but worse and I will kill you too!"

Clearly I have no affection for the person that my son chooses to become.

Just merely thinking about such a tragic future for my son brings me to near tears.

I am more than willing to throw the switch to end such an evil persons life, even though he is my son.

However, he is not who I intended him to become.

Do I have a perfect love for him by not executing him? Or do I have a perfect love for him by executing him?

We as Christians realize that God having a perfect Love is to say God has an appropriate love for every situation.

Hope these clarifications help.

Please avoid a response to the analogy with "other options".

We as Christians recognize the fact that there are a myriad of options. The above analogy places the background reality that all options or process of repentence were rejected by my son.

I was just being brief.
Assume all options of punishment leading to repentence were accomplished and rejected by my son.

Assume all othe nuances you could make as the expection were expedited as well within the analogy.
Mr.Big_is_Bud_Good
Posts: 32
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12/28/2011 3:27:34 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
As I have come to expect from you Gileandos your response is very well thought out respectful, to the point, and without hyperbole. Thank you.

please do not take this as an attempt to redefine words or meanings, but love is not a word. it's something you feel. and through that feeling there is no expectation of anything in return for that feeling.

your analogy is a good one, but, there is a flaw in the reasoning. please allow me to extrapolate.

to have no affection for the person your son has become is by definition, to stop loving the son and not the sin. (thats kind of a major point in Christianity)

It of course does not mean he should not receive an appropriate punishment.

It is irrelevant whatever punishment you choose to inflict or not inflect, your feelings for the person are separate from your feelings for your sons actions.

If you stop loving your son because of his actions, then that means that your love comes with conditions.

and heres the part thats hard to reconcile with, no matter how horrendous of an act your son commits your willing to forgive him and forgo punishment if he loves you back sincerely.

the only unforgivable sin, is not loving God with all your heart.

that is a condition to receive Gods love.

when love comes with conditions it falls short of what that true feeling within you is that that we call love.

I understand and respect your time priorities, and hope that I have responded in a way that enables you to get an understanding of what it is that I have trouble with understanding.

Thank you as always for your continued insight into my queries.
Brian: I'm not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand? Honestly!
Girl: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity.
Brian: What? Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah!
Followers: He is! He is the Messiah!
Brian: Now, f**k off!
[silence]
Arthur: How shall we f**k off, O Lord?
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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12/29/2011 1:51:49 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
@Bud,

1: You wanted to make the word Love a mere feeling. This neither may nor may not be a personal belief you have of the definition of the English word Love, however, it is not the definition of the word Agape.
Love for the Christian is on several levels. All of them are intellectual. Emotion or feelings are the physical response to the intellectual reality.

2: To quote you:
to have no affection for the person your son has become is by definition, to stop loving the son and not the sin. (thats kind of a major point in Christianity)

Not at all, I have affection for who my son was. I have affection for who he 'should' have become. I cannot love whom he chose to be.
Repentance is offered to him to become who he 'should' have been.

We see I am not devoid of love or affection for my wayward son, but he is given time to receive that affection. If he chooses to become some evil murderer, then he has no qualities to receive that affection.

We express this in Christianity in that God loves the person but does not love the sin. This means exactly what I stated above. I can see why you are taking issue with the Christian God's nature if you did not understand this.

I love my son. I love who he was. I love what he 'should' have been. I love who he could be. I do not love the sin he envolped in. Should he embrace the sin and reject the person he 'could' have been, then at that point he is no longer my son.

It is why Christians easily reconcile that an evil person will be rejected by God and on the same hand state that God loves them.

Perhaps this will enlighten your spiritual walk.

Did you ever go to church to gain an understanding of this concept?

3: God's unconditional love.
I explained earlier that when Christians discuss this concept we state "God's love is unconditional of your circumstances." Perhaps some examples will help.
You could be a murderer in jail, slave brothel owner in Thailand or a dishwasher in India. What you choose upon hearing the Good news of your salvation is what directly affects your salvation.
When you hear of the goodness of God you, disregard God's calling to wholesomeness and Holiness, by going and raping little children in your Thai Brothel, you choose for your own evil and rejected salvation.

So we see that your salvation is unconditional of circumstance, not specific to your sin, but is very much conditional of your choices.

4: Forgiveness forgoes punishment:
"and heres the part thats hard to reconcile with, no matter how horrendous of an act your son commits your willing to forgive him and forgo punishment if he loves you back sincerely."

Mainstream Christianity does not forgo punishment.
Punishment for your sins will come in this life or in the place of purgatory/intermediate state.
Punishment will come, but your response to the punishment or indeed to embrace the punishment directly results in the duration or intensive nature of the punishment.

We look to Moses' temporal punishment for murder or Paul's life long suffering commanded of God due to the suffering he caused to Christians. Paul himself was killed 3 times and resuscitated.

You do not get out of divine punishment for the sins you committed.

5: You claim impersonal love falling short of the feeling of love within all of us.

I have no idea what internalized concept of love you are pointing to.
When discussing impersonal love we are discussing one of the several aspects of Love.

The other Greek words work to define the other aspects of Love.

Additionally, the Christian worldview holds emotions follow the intellectual assent.
Mr.Big_is_Bud_Good
Posts: 32
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12/30/2011 12:41:03 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
Gileandos

Thank you for your well thought out reply.
I respect your sincerity.
But with all due respect, I find so many flaws in your arguments that to address them all would require so much effort on each of our parts that it would no longer be considered productive discourse. (it'd be full fledged work on both out parts)

My efforts to scrutinize my convictions are sincere, and I have spent a great deal of time conversing with legitimate scholars in the past in which the net result was simply "you have to have faith"
To revisit the subject with those who are not scholars is not disingenuous, but an attempt to gain different perspectives. (I do not consider young people any less likely to posses inner wisdom than older people.)
As a former full fledged crying in the morning from joy in my heart that Jesus loves me and wanting to shout it out to the would, Christian wacko, I appreciate your position.
I found nothing in the bible to be more true than the phrase, "the truth will set you free". And I'll give you my personal testament that all those tears of joy over Jesus love for me paled in comparison to opening my eyes and seeing reality for the first time.

thanks for your sincere efforts Gileandos, you've been more helpful than you may realize.
Brian: I'm not the Messiah! Will you please listen? I am not the Messiah, do you understand? Honestly!
Girl: Only the true Messiah denies His divinity.
Brian: What? Well, what sort of chance does that give me? All right! I am the Messiah!
Followers: He is! He is the Messiah!
Brian: Now, f**k off!
[silence]
Arthur: How shall we f**k off, O Lord?
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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12/30/2011 9:43:03 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
@Bud,
(As a side note, if you get in another tie/forfeit let me know and I will jump on and reconcile that. Sorry I missed your first one).

As to the post,
I completely understand that to reconcile viewpoints can take some time to hit those fundamental "reception" phrases.

I am excited to hear that your attempts to scrutinize your beliefs is genuine. I am on the other side saddened that you feel person who has limited overall experience has "Truth". I am not disagreeing with the concept or possibility mind you, but their ability to understand what they have been taught and convey that understanding in any sort of setting will have a very limited practice range.
They certainly could have Truth but never be able to defend it adaquately, to suit you. This is not a failing of Truth but of the practical experience of a person.

Also when I say to take Theologians to aid you as you scrutinize your beliefs, I recommend Priests or Theologians. You will want people, like myself, that directly have answers that do not involve, "just believe". You will want to avoid pastors as they are incredibly busy and hvae no specific focus on the answer you are seeking.

I have been directly trained and led by God to supply the answers you seek.

You sound as though you are straight out of a legalistic pentecostal church. I love pentecostals but they can produce some weird teachings equally weird to calvanistic non denominational churches.

Additionally, pastors are trained as shepherds not as apologists in a foundational sense.

Foundational apologists would be those like, William Lane Craig who is probably the strongest. Frank Turek is also very strong and able to relay information on a basic level.

Each of these apologists have a specific approach to direct a specific type of person.