instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Saturday, July 04, 2015

The Triune God is love

The homily I heard on Trinity Sunday, after the traditional bad analogies, wound up here: "Because God is love, there can be no instance of love in which God is not present."

This got me wondering about what people who don't believe God is love believe about love. Such people would include straight-up atheists as well as folks with all sorts of incorrect conceptions about God (e.g., God as a cold-hearted rule giver, an indifferent watchmaker, a capricious cosmic vending machine, a god of culture war, an affirmer of human will).

And then we had the "#lovewins" explosion. I offered a positive view of that here, but a negative view might suggest it signals just how far our society -- and, let's not kid ourselves, that includes a lot of practicing Catholics -- is from a right conception of love, and therefore from a right conception of God, and therefore from a right conception of that creature whom He created in His own image and likeness.

I'll add, unoriginally, that one thing needed is the recovery (or reintroduction) of the sense of sin. I don't mean of the fact that this or that specific behavior is sinful, but the fundamental realization that there is such a thing as sin, that we are capable of it, and that we ought not do it. For there to be sin, there must be something objective, outside our own will, to which we are and ought to be accountable. There is a right relation to God and to each other that we can know but we can't define by our own authority. We can choose to live according to that right relation, or we can choose otherwise, but we can't invent it.

If we believe that -- I mean we, those who don't think #lovewon on June 24, or on a whole sequence of dates on which our society moved incrementally further from the common good -- we can learn to explain it to others, by teaching and witness. And we can evolve, in their eyes, from hate-filled lunatics to well-meaning lunatics, maybe even to error-prone thinkers. At some point, not of our choosing, Love will win.