Love. It’s just that pure, plain and simple. That’s how I know GOD is real. In 1 John 4:16 we see the truth: GOD is love. Without GOD there would be no love.
When I say “there would be no love” I mean exactly that. There would be no love in any form: no erotic (male/female marital love), filial (brotherly love), agape (love of GOD), nor “empathy love” that would make you run to help someone trapped in a burning car. None of those would exist. No one would realize that we were missing something because you never miss what you’ve never had. That’s how I know that we have the One, True GOD watching over us and loving us. There is love.
Without GOD, there would be no human motherly love toward her child. All human children would be born from animal instincts to mate and the children would be left to fend for themselves as though they were sea turtles (to choose something we’re all familiar with here in Florida). Sea turtles lay their eggs in the sand, bury them and return to the sea. When it’s time for the eggs to hatch the mother is nowhere to be found and the babies make their ways out of the eggs, up out of the sand and – if they’re lucky – into the sea to make their way the best they can. Some don’t make it far from the nest thanks to sea gulls and other land predators, or they make it to the ocean only to live a day and be eaten by a predator in the sea. No mommy to take care of them, watch over them, instruct them in how to avoid being eaten by that sea gull, or defend them against the tiger shark or grouper once they get to the ocean. Human children would be left to themselves, like the turtles.
That’s not, however, the way we do it. Most women, once pregnant, trying to get pregnant because they desire a child so much their hearts ache for one, or at least once they’ve given birth and seen their child, have a mothering instinct that kicks in and a connection is made with the child and barring circumstances that are not the norm (substance abuse, sociopathy, etc.), will do everything she can to protect her child, go to extremes to feed, clothe and house her child. It’s an instinct, but it’s formed from, based and predicated upon love. She looks at the face of her newborn and falls so very deeply, inexplicably, irrevocably in love with her baby that most mothers will lay down her life for her child, no matter what. She’s that child’s mommy; nothing will stop that, change that, remove that, not even giving it up for adoption. Love makes this happen. Love proves that GOD is real.
Without GOD there would be no other forms of love: brotherly love, erotic (Eros) love (like between a bride and groom), or “empathy love”: the kind of love one has for a stranger when you help him get up off the ground after a hard fall, or buy him dinner when he’s hungry. Without GOD there would be none of that because, like sunlight, in order to have love there must be a source of love. GOD is that source.
Without GOD there would be no one willing to lay down his life for his fellow man, for “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” It’s impossible to have that kind of sacrifice without having GOD’s example and gift of His Son who laid down His life for us so that we don’t have to face an eternity in hell if we choose to follow Him and accept His free gift. No one would be a cop, serve in the military, risk their lives to save a stranger or the stranger’s child from a rising river and a stalled and flooding vehicle. Without GOD there would be no firefighters willing to run into a burning building to rescue a trapped person, a dog who is whimpering in the locked apartment, or even the parakeet much loved by its elderly owner.
“Oh!” you smugly retort, “But they’re getting paid to do that!”
True, but they were not being paid to do so when they choose that career. Ask firemen (generic term meaning “people” in general) if they chose the career because they wanted the pay and you’ll be laughed at to your face. Ask them if they went into the career because they wanted to help people and that’s what will get a resounding “Yes” most often. They may or may not call it “brotherly love” or “empathy love” but that’s what it is: they risk laying down their lives for their fellow man every time they respond to a dangerous situation.
We all know that there is love and there is lust. Lust is not love if you will admit the truth. You may lust for someone (your neighbor, a celebrity, or a former high school classmate), but that doesn’t mean that you love them. “Eros love” – not lust, love – is what the bride and groom share that makes them truly commit to each other for life. That “until death do us part” portion of the wedding vows is not always followed but when given they are supposed to be meant and it’s supposed to be a real commitment. If it were not for this kind of love then most of the children in the world would be born out of lust (a lot more frequent nowadays than sixty years ago); the temporary joining of bodies in order to fulfill temporary animalistic desires, sometimes more desired by the male than the female. Eros love, as Helen Joy Lewis put it, “the most appreciative of all pleasures”(1) and is the kind of love that makes the marriage ceremony so solemn, so celebrate, so important and not to be mucked with via changing laws. The marriage kind of love is the one GOD talked about after creating Adam and Eve and he said to “be fruitful and multiply” and we learned in both the Old and New Testaments that “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” And Jesus instructed us “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” One flesh. One. That’s how deeply man and woman are joined together in love, not lust.
Look at how those who do not love act and you will see that there is a difference between those of us who do know GOD via knowing how to love and knowing love in return; no matter what kind of love we experience we do experience it. Those incapable of experiencing it are often called sociopaths because they do not connect with others, have no idea what right and wrong are and wouldn’t know how to treat others if they were not instructed in how to do so and were not restricted in their deeds because others are watching. Sociopaths cannot feel the love of others toward themselves nor do they know how to give love in return. They can fake it both ways, but they can’t really feel it. That’s why sociopaths can commit such heinous acts; no love – not even brotherly or empathy love -- equals no remorse.
Another example of not realizing the truth of GOD’s love and the way it affects people is the way those societies that do not follow the GOD of Christianity conduct themselves. ISIS is not following the GOD of Christianity; their god does not love them, he loves their acts if it happens to please him at the time but even their martyrdoms do not always please him and it holds no guarantees. Heaven is not promised in the Quran for martyrs. That was not even guaranteed to the prophet of Islam, Mohammed. Yet, they kill their own children for their god so that they may be able to spend time in heaven with the same god who they want to please so desperately that kill their own children so that he will be placated. That’s not love in my book. Nor is stoning your daughter, neighbor, sister, or wife to death because she dared drive a car, go outside by herself, not wear a full hijab. If that’s love I think a lot of us would say, “No thank you!” to love.
Look at how other societies do things, societies that do not follow the GOD of Christianity, and you will see other things that are scary, questionable, too negative to be considered a good thing. Am I saying that Christians always behave perfectly? No. I am saying that the overall differences between Christianity and other religions can be very minor as to be miniscule, to so big they can be considered enormous. Different religions sometimes have similar beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that the non-Christian religion is better than the Christian religion. Look at what each of them believes, teaches and practices (actions speak louder than words). Then tell me that the GOD of Christianity is subservient to, less than, not as good as the gods of other religions.
“Oh, but the Crusades!” you scream at your screen. The “crusades” were long ago and more about power and money than they were about religion. The Crusades really had nothing to do with religion; it had more to do with territory and who controlled it. Yes, the mask of Catholicism was worn, but it wasn’t really a religious war; it was about power and territory. The pope may have been involved, but that doesn’t mean that everything the pope did then nor currently does is based upon Biblical principles.
Now I want you to reread the first two sentences of the second paragraph. No love would look something like this: There would be no one willing to lay down his/her life for their fellow man. No one would be willing to give birth to babies because the baby in the womb would not illicit motherly love, but just the inconveniences of today’s abortion industry. Murder most heinous would be the norm; horrors of the worst kind being done to others for the fun of it. Bribery of the highest officials in the land would be normal. Robberies using whatever force needed to get what was wanted would be an hourly occurrence. Gang rapes the norm; animals would be treated as cruelly as evil hearts would do to them and no one would raise an eyebrow. Godless gangs would roam the streets doing as they wish without anyone even thinking of stopping them: there would be no law enforcement to do so because no one would be willing to lay down their lives for their fellow man. Think of any of the vile things one can do to a child that is currently done in the sex slave industry then multiply it by ten, twenty, thirty. That is what will be done without love because mercy stems from love and without it there would be no reason to stop.
That’s a world without love. That’s what tells me that GOD is: “I Am that I Am.” Without Him and His intercession into the minds, hearts, souls and spirits of mankind, our world would be so very dark and hateful that you would not want to recognize it. GOD is love and love exists. Our world is – for the most part – a better place than that. If GOD was not real, it would all look like ISIS and it would all be darkness, hatred, murder, horrendous things done in the name of whatever they choose to call it.
It’s just that simple. GOD is love and it comes from and is part of Him. If you love anyone or anything you know GOD is the source of that love for without Him, it would not be love. He gave His only begotten Son – who chose to do what was necessary for Him to do in order to save us – to die in our stead. That’s love. If it weren’t for Jesus Christ’s self-sacrifice for us we would be doomed to receive the eternity in hell that we deserve.
GOD is love. Without Him we would be demons not even as close to acting as civilized as the wildest animals, the smallest brained slugs, the hyenas that laugh at civilization or the deepest ocean depth’s creatures that never see light. Darkness would not begin to describe us, our souls, our actions, our filth.
1) Helen Joy Lewis, “The Four Loves” as published in “The Beloved Works of C.S. Lewis”, pg. 264: Inspirational Press, A Division of BBS Publishing Corporation, 450 Raritan Center Parkway, Edison, NJ, 08837: Harcourt Brace & Company, 622 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32897
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