I'm going to take a little different angle on my favorite Bible verse than I did back in a January post. While the previously posted reason for 1 John 4:8 being my personal favorite still resonate very strongly for me, I've come to understand more clearly just how this passage completely ties the Bible together.
My post today may come across as an apologetic position to justify the existence of God. Please believe that is not my intent. While my points will have apologetic tone, the deeper understanding I now have on just how important the statement God is love is for all Christians has only added to my overall peace and personal joy in my daily walk.
One of the struggles during my 'dark years' away from God's intended path for my life was reconciling the concept of the Trinity. Is God one or three? How can three be one? I just couldn't wrap my head around it all. Granted, this is a challenging concept for even the most learned theologians, and I believe that's because at the heart of the matter is a philosophical answer and not one based on total logic...well...at least human logic.
God is eternal. Always has been and always will be. Yet another difficult concept for the finite and limited minds of man. Yet we are eternal beings from birth (or conception depending on your position on that subject matter). The word love in the original text of this verse is the word agape. Now, I'm not going to break down into 'Christianese' and rehash the differences between Greek words agape, phileo, eros and storge which are all translated into English as the word love (click here). What I will state, however, is that agape is not the word we associate with emotions or feelings, but rather a word that by nature implies an action is prompted (aka 'action model' in aforementioned 'Christianese').
God is agape. God is eternal. Therefore, God has always had someone or something to love. But what is older than or as old as God?
Some years ago, I heard an explanation of the following fundamental principle that, at the time, sounded like flawed logic to me. I've since come to realize the explanation far better explains the nature of the Trinity than any other one I'd heard before or since that time. Let's look at the traditional Scutum Fidei or Shield of the Trinity:
Working from the Scriptures that state God is love (my favorite verse) and God is eternal (Genesis 1:1 and Romans 1:20 to name a few), the nature of the Trinity actually answers more questions than are created when put into context. God is three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so inside the Godhead you have one Person who loves (Father), one Person being loved (Son) and the very spirit of love (Holy Spirit). God is love, God always has been love, God always will be love...and that fact doesn't rely on absolutely any other element.
Does this explanation exempt the Son from also loving? Absolutely not. The nature of the relationship being Father and Son is given to us by God in terms we can actually relate or dare I say understand...to a degree. I never forget that He is God, and I will never understand the complete nature of his majesty.
So, I've shared yet another reason why 1 John 4:8 is one of my very favorite verses. I do actually have more...but we'll save those for the next go around on favorite verse. God bless!