Tuesday 28 May 2019

The commandment to love God (above all else) - what does it mean?

If it seems like nonsense to command love - clearly we are misunderstanding the instruction; since the modern idea of love as intense emotion cannot be 'commanded' (although it can sometimes be manipulated).

I think the meaning of the commandment to love God is quite simple: it is that we must acknowledge the objective reality of love. And that this acknowledgment should be the foundation of all else.

Pick that apart... Love is a reality, therefore not an illusion; it is something that is of universal validity and knowability - therefore not just a 'psychological' emotion that happens 'inside' an individual person's head and body. Since it is a foundation; love is potentially eternal - therefore not a temporary, fragile, corruptible thing.

The commandment means that love is The most important thing that Beings can do.

Furthermore, as well as being real - love is Good.

We are being told that love is the primary value; that love is more important than anything else.

And told that there is No Conflict among loves.

When we think there is a conflict, it is because of our failure to understand.

There is no conflict among loves for the same kind of reason that there is only One right course of action in any circumstances. So-called 'moral dilemmas' are merely a consequence of trying to reduce the unique specificity of true morality to a System of (inevitably, intrinsically) generalised, simplified and partial Laws.

True Morality is the One Right Path. True Love is which sustains creation and enables us to participate in creation.  

In being asked to love God first and foremost - we are actually being told that love of different Beings and (and love of so-called Things) can never be in conflict - that all specific loves (eg of specific people) are instances of the general objective reality of that love which holds-together the universe of reality.

We are Not being commanded to love God 'more than' our wife, children, parents... we are instead being told that the objective value and goodness of these specific loves is only possible because we inhabit a creation that is itself founded-upon love.

Because, if we did Not inhabit a loving creation; then love really-would-be just a private emotion in a mortal world - love would be certain to decline with age and disease, sure to be destroyed by death.

So, the commandment to love God first and foremost is actually that which enables, sustains and makes serious all other loves. It is simply a recognition that love is the cohesion of creation.


Anonymous said...

I believe that in this case you are not only wrong, but grossly wrong.

"Love God above all else" is indeed not really a commandment as much as it is a /requirement/; meaning, if you don't love God enough, you cannot get close to him. And this love is different from normal love, because here, you can and must /choose/. You must choose to love God above all else.

And yes, "above all else" means that you must choose to love Him more than your wife, children, parents... Which, it seems to me, is something you refuse to do, which is why you prefer the convoluted explanation given in this article.

"You must love God above all else" - it is so simple! And as you rightly stated in one of your previous articles, it is the evil that is complicated because fake.

"You must" - a requirement. "Love God" - self-explanatory. "Above all else" - indeed, above all else!


Bruce Charlton said...

@L'C - It is futile to assert, and especially to threaten, that somebody Must Love God, when we all know that Love, as generally understood, cannot be commanded. It is *that* simple. Therefore we must either dispense with the commandment (as most people have done) or else reconceptualise Love.