Sunday, September 19, 2010

Love is eternal because it does not depend on attributes

This is a response to an absolutely fascinating post by a guy named Peter Rollins. You can and should read his original post here:

It really got me thinking about some of the foundational aspects of grace and love, so I wanted to post my response on my own blog as a matter of record.

I really enjoyed this. I heard a radio DJ in Vancouver BC read the jacket notes after playing Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique, talking about his Idee Fixe - that it was about a love so great that it pined eternally and forgave everything. I can't stand Berlioz, but I walked on clouds for days thinking that this is the kind of love God has loved me with. It is ironic that for most of us, the great love of God seems to be a vapor compared to romantic love, whereas romantic love is actually only a shadow or icon of the love of God for us. It is also another reason why in Christ we leave the universe of requirement and enter the universe of grace. Under law we maintain relationship by maintaining the necessary attributes to prevent rejection. Grace goes beyond accepting relationship based on adherence to certain traits, and enters into love based on pure identity. We become His sacred x, his pearl of great price for which He sells all else.

As to the criticism that it seems specious to define love as only that which loves always without defining attributes, this is actually the strongest idea in the piece. If love depends on attributes, it is not love but earned credit. If it does not need attributes but is based entirely on identity, then since nothing can be earned, nothing can be lost, and it becomes eternal. This is why, when Paul lists his huge list of unpardonable offenses in 1Cor 6 (aberrant sexualities and slander and greed and such), he follows immediately with "All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable." The relationship which is defined by admiration of attributes is subject to a perfection of behaviors, but the relationship which is defined by grace is defined by pure love based on direct identity.

Thanks again, loved the ideas in this one.

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