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What defines the word "love"? Show more Show less

Few words in the English language convey such a range of meanings as the word "love". For many, love is the point of existence, for others it's the manifestation of the divine, for some it is a tool of oppression. No subject has spawned so much poetry. But what is love? Is it an animalistic urge, a mystical aspiration, a social construct, a neurological glitch, or nothing at all?

It depends on the type of love Show more Show less

There are many different types of love. Each one is something different.
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God is love

The bible tells us God is love. Because God is unknowable and undefinable, love must be the same.
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Context

"Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love... Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:8, 16)[1]

The Argument

God is love. It is bestowed on us by the divine and belongs in the mortal realm. The only pure instance of true, everlasting love is the love that exists between God and man. Everything else is human love, which is transient and cannot be classified as true love. Because God is unknowable and the divine realm is beyond our mortal comprehension, love is also beyond what is knowable. We may be able to recognise the effects of love, but we cannot hope to define love or understand it.[2]

Counter arguments

Science has explained many aspects of love. It has explained why we love certain people and not others through its theory of evolution. It has explained why we remain committed to one person for a period of time. It has even explained universal perceptions of beauty and can separate familial love from romantic love. Love is inherently knowable and definable. We can detect love in the animal kingdom. Dating apps can effectively predict when love will occur. Love does not reside in the divine realm. It sits in our brains, is transported in our hormones and is expressed in our actions. It is a physical phenomenon explicable through scientific research.

Framing

Premises

[P1] God is love. [P2] God is unknowable and undefinable. [P3] Therefore, love is unknowable and undefinable.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] God is not love. Love is hormones, neurochemistry and evolution in action.

Proponents

Further Reading

References

  1. https://www.thoughtco.com/god-is-love-bible-verse-701340
  2. http://www.sorenkierkegaard.org/works-of-love.html

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This page was last edited on Monday, 10 Feb 2020 at 11:35 UTC