Tuesday 11 February 2020

Unconditional Love

Here's a question. If God loves everything unconditionally, does he love evil?

Obviously not. God loves something because it is. Existence is good. It comes from him and it is him. But a creature's free will can deform that goodness into evil. God still loves the creature for the goodness that is inherent in the fact of its existence but he does not love the form in which it has chosen to express itself, and the more it identifies with that form the more it separates itself from him. God's love is always there but it has been rejected and that rejection is fundamentally an act of hatred. God does not love hatred. How can you love hatred since hatred is the denial of love? How can you love evil since evil is the rejection of good and love is the recognition of good? God is not beyond good and evil as the popular fallacy has it it. In God there is only good. Evil is the refusal of God. It is the shadow cast by good in a world in which good must be consciously chosen.

Does God love a saint more than a sinner? Yes he does for he only loves the good and in the saint there is both existential good and expressed good while in the sinner there is only the former.  God still loves the sinner because of his existential good but while the saint is shining God's light back to him, the sinner has put up a dark barrier that kills that light  The saint reflects God but the sinner rejects him. God does not love sin because it is the denial of his own reality which is truth but he loves the sinner which is why he sent his Son to the world.  If he loved the sinner for himself qua sinner, as he loves the saint for himself, he would not have needed to do this. Christ would not have been necessary. But Christ was necessary. Christ shows that God does not love evil. He only loves the good.


Bruce Charlton said...

@William - I feel that 'unconditional love' is a bit of a fake concept; propagated by atheist moral philosophers. It is an abstract formulation of the reality of parental love, but intended to be the basis of a modernist 'universalist' ethic such as was advocated in the French or Russian revolutions, or nowadays by the New Left of social justice. Such parental love is, of course, very selective - furthermore it is (when needed) a 'tough love' that seeks long term moral benefit, as well as for short termist happiness and alleviation of suffering.

William Wildblood said...

I agree Bruce. Unconditional love cannot really be love in a proper sense because love is a qualitative thing.

edwin faust said...

The early Church fathers, such as Origen, and later, Gregory of Nyssa, were often misunderstood as denying the consequences of sin and free will because they taught that God never abandons his children, no matter how far they stray from Him. Unconditional love in Christian universalism involved punishment for sin, even for eons and eons, until the sinner was destroyed through knowledge of goodness, of God's love, and the soul shown once again in its purity. Unconditional love is now confused with license: it becomes unconditional endorsement. Unconditional love from God is what Francis Thompson dramatizes in "The Hound of Heaven."

William Wildblood said...

I think that's the difference I was trying to make between existence and expression. Unconditional love only refers to the former but is misconceived as including the latter.