In my previous post, I contend love has become “god.” That is, we have our self-made definition of love and we shape our understanding of God around it and hold him accountable to that particular definition. But in the final analysis, we must insist “God is love.” He himself provides the essence and definition of love. This likely means our definition of love is going to be found wonting.
Let’s press into this farther and explore the notion that God loves God.
“This is my beloved Son” (Matthew 3:17; 17:5).
“The Father loves the Son…” (John 3:35; 5:20).
“The reason my Father loves me…” (John 10:17).
“…you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24).
“I have made known to them your name, and I will make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26).
“…I love the Father…” (John 14:31).
It is impossible to overstate the affection the Father has for his only Son and the love the Son has for the Father. God loves God.
Now, as one actor put it, this seems to be about “ego.” Is God egomaniacal? That assessment would work if we’re talking about another human being. To love oneself sounds like vanity. But we’re talking about God. Think about it: once there was only God. For millions and billions of years, there was only God. “I’m better than everybody else” deserves to be on his business card. The moment we stack up the infinite, transcendent, omniscient, holy God against any human character, to accuse God of being an egomaniac is going to fall short and appear just plain silly.
Admittedly, I’m still in process on this and all the implications that fall out of it, but there’s another thought-provoking idea to consider. What if God’s love for himself is his supreme love? What if God loves himself more than he loves anyone or anything else? Don’t hang up the phone, stick with me.
Let’s say there’s a good, moral atheist out there who demonstrates tremendous care and concern for other human beings. But in all his actions, he does not acknowledge God – he is an atheist. Would we not say that by caring for people sacrificially, but failing to even acknowledge God, they are stuck in idolatry? Or to put it differently, to love someone or something other than God more than God, is idolatrous. Why would it be any different with God?
If God loves any aspect of his creation more than he loves himself, would we not say he has become an idolater? “God must love and delight in his own beauty and perfection above all things. For us to do this in front of the mirror is the essence of vanity; for God to do it in front of his Son is the essence of righteousness” (Piper, The Pleasures of God, 29).
Like I said, I’m still in process on this, but if this is right, it’ll cause a dramatic shift in the tectonic plates of our understanding of God’s love.