a few hours ago - I have made what feels to me like a metaphysical breakthrough in a problem which has been puzzling more for a couple of years - how to conceptualize and understand the primacy of love in Christianity.
I have played with the idea of love as a force, and as a substance - but these are inadequate because a good answer must take account of the primacy of relationship in the universe: love must be the supreme aspect of a relationship between Men, or Man and God.
The answer is, of course, perfectly simple - which is that relationships are eternal - therefore love is operative in the way that it is because love is continuously active.
So: love is not a force or a substance but a continuously-active relationship - active both before and after mortal life.
And that is why the effects of love are operative over vast sweeps of time, and how God's love shapes everything.
Love is important not because it is permanent, nor because we acknowledge it - it is important because it is a part of the basic structure of reality - always continuously operative.
(This model entails the belief in eternal pre-mortal existence of some individualized, autonomous human potential, seed, essence, spirit or soul (although the origins of human souls need not be, and I think factually were not, agents with free will or consciousness - these attributes being added when we became Sons of God. Thus, we existed eternally as (mere) centres of 'intelligence' or being; but did not become Men, or aware, or capable of agency and choice, until we became Sons of God.).
Relationships (between Men, or between God and us) are permanent because they already exist - there are no new relationships; there are only changed relationships.
Relationships are thus objective; not subjective.
Their objectivity is continuous - it does not come and go according to the transient vicissitudes of the human mind.
The objectivity of love is real even when it is forever denied - such as Satan's denial of God's love for him. Satan may deny this for eternity - but this does not make the slightest difference to the eternal reality of God's love for his son, Satan.
The reality is that God's love beams-down upon Satan eternally - all that Satan does, all he can do, is shut and lock the door against it.
God's love beams-down on each of us too; as does the love of Jesus Christ, and of some men and women.
We can, each as individuals, choose whether or not to acknowledge that love (to open or close the door).
Only we can open or close the door - there is no power in earth or in heaven that can compel us either to open or shut that door. Our personal responsibility for this choice is total.
What applies to love applies to all aspects of relationship.
We just are, and always have been (since before our mortal life) and always will be (after our mortal life) embedded in an objectively real and continuously operative web of relationships.
Our awareness of those relationships and our understanding of each relationship will inevitably be partial, and may (or may not) be distorted or inverted or denied - but the actuality of the relationship is objective and as it is, whatever our personal and temporary feelings about it may be.
So I can choose to misunderstand, distort or even deny my relationship with my earthly Mother (whether she be alive or passed beyond this mortal life) - but that subjective state is just a description of an objective reality which is what it is whatever my personal choices or errors may be.
And the same, exactly, applies to my Heavenly Father.