How do we Explain Love?

Some things obviously essential to our existence as humans – air, food, water, shelter, and sleep – we understand and can explain in relatively simple terms.  But one essential we have difficulty explaining is love – both the need to love and to be loved.  Why is it difficult to explain?

The 2015 science-fiction movie, Interstellar, connected the human need for love to the need to survive.  One of the movie’s stars, scientist, Dr. Amelia Brand, while on a mission with other astrophysicists in a desperate attempt to save humanity, made this profound statement:

“Love isn’t something we invented. It’s observable, powerful, it has to mean something… something we can’t yet understand. Maybe it’s some evidence, some artifact of a higher dimension that we can’t consciously perceive. I’m drawn across the universe to someone I haven’t seen in a decade, who I know is probably dead. Love is the one thing we’re capable of perceiving that transcends dimensions of time and space. Maybe we should trust that, even if we can’t understand it.”

We do not understand love, but we know that we need it.  What is love and how is it explained?

A woman I know, years ago a teenage friend of one of my daughters, expressed intense anger on her Facebook page about the abuse she saw poor people suffering at the hands of the rich.  This woman, a confessed atheist, raged at religion, especially Christianity, which she considered a major source of the abuse.  Explaining her belief, she wrote, “I don’t have to be religious to love people.”

After reading her comments, I called her by phone and told her that I admired her love for those who are victimized by those who are stronger.  Then I asked her where this love she has comes from?  “After all,” I went on to elaborate, “according to Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest, isn’t it natural for the strong to prevail over the weak?  If we all evolved into existence, what would be wrong if the strong annihilated the weak?”  She responded, “I got love from my parents!”  I answered, “Where did they get it?”

I asked her these questions to provoke her to deeper thought than she had garnered from her religion – Atheism.  Instead, it provoked an angry response, “You’re just trying to get me saved.”  I said, “No, I can’t do that.  But I would like you to know that the One who gave your parents love, Jesus Christ, who is unbound to any religion, including Christianity, loves you and wants you to receive His love.”

Dr. Brand’s movie character realized that there is something about love that transcends the discoveries of science.  Unless our thoughts extend beyond those limitations, we are without explanation of love.  An atheist who indignantly considers an action morally wrong is relying on human conscience to define morality.  That seems to me to be the sole prerogative of One who has authority to govern creation – God.

The Bible supplies the answer to the question about the source of love.  1 John 4:8 says, “God is love.”  It doesn’t say that God is capable of love or that God practices love.  It says God is love; that is why love is so difficult for us to explain.  Love comes from its source.  Acts 17:25 says that God “gives all people life and breath and everything else.”  That includes love.

Here’s the point.  The God that is embraced by religious people is love, even if religious people are unloving.  The God rejected by Atheism is love, even while Atheism denies Him as the source.  The God and Father of Jesus Christ loves all people (John 3:16), and through Jesus gives humans who follow Him the means to love and be one with each other (John 17:22).

You see, the problem of Atheism and any religion that does not receive the love of God through Jesus Christ is that although it can say that we ought to love it is unaware of the means to fulfill it.  That means is God.

The book, Echo of Jesus’ Prayer – through the Church explains love and how it is that God our Father, through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, gives us incentive to seriously consider Jesus’ prayer for us that we would be one, and in believing Jesus, understand how God will grant the answer to Jesus’ prayer.