“God is Love” or “Love is God”?

“God is Love” or “Love is God”? May 9, 2016

“Love ceases to be a demon only when it ceases to be a god.” (C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves, quoting Denis de Rougemont)

Lewis goes on to explain: “Every human love at its height has a tendency to claim for itself a divine authority. Its voice tends to sound as if it were the will of God Himself. It tells us not to count the cost, it demands of us a total commitment, it attempts to override all other claims and insinuates that any action which is sincerely done ‘for love’s sake’ is thereby lawful and even meritorious.”

It’s a profound point he’s making, and we would be wise to learn it well. Love is wonderful; but if we make it our god, it will turn around and destroy us. The Bible asserts: “God is love.” Our culture has flipped the statement to read: “Love is god.” And with that one simple inversion, love stops being a delight and starts becoming a demon. The evidence is all around us.

How many families in your own acquaintance have been blown up by the “divine commands” of romantic love? How many marriages have been torn apart at the behest love’s irresistible call to be with someone else?

How many minds have been polluted and consciences seared by pornography as people obey erotic love’s demand not to count the cost? How many hearts are broken, how many lives are filled with shame, how many nights are spent in sleepless regret because people gave their total commitment to “love” instead of to God?

How often are children smothered and driven away by overbearing parents whose inflated sense of family love has become to them like the will of God Himself?

It doesn’t have to be like this. Every false god will treat us this way and make our lives a living death. But there is a God—only one!—whose service yields eternal life. His name is Jesus:

We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in Him who is true—even in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal Life. Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:20-21)