Updated: Jun 12, 2022
God is love (1 John 4:8). That belief is fundamental to Christianity, absolutely bedrock in the foundation of our religion and principally formative to who we are as a people. Without love, our beliefs are just a rough variation of the many other faiths to date imagined or proposed. Without love, our God would arguably be the same as suggested by Islam, a being of supreme power but with negligible interest in creation or his creatures. For that matter, why would such a god create at all, unless we were a kind of study or play, like sitting down with an Etch-a-Sketch? And even then, it seems questionable that an all-mighty, all-knowing divinity would have reason to stoop so low as to dabble with material things for entertainment. Which makes us Christians/Catholics ponder the question, why did God create us? The four letter answer is Love.
I find amusing what the African Catechism reputedly states about reasons for creation: “God made us because He thought we’d like it.” There is something catchy in that reply, but it cannot be the whole or even the main reason for an infinite Being who lacks nothing in Himself to bring about finite and limited beings. Such super-fluidity and super abundance as largess would not explain God’s creation of us for our own sake. Even when Scriptures equate love with gift-giving (“Of the greatest of God’s gifts, faith, hope, and love, “the greatest . . . is love” 1 Cor. 13:13), that love presumes a recipient for gifts, and if creation is a gift, we are not per se the recipients; we are the gift! There are perhaps a hundred Scripture verses that say, one way or another, that we are made for God: that He made us for Himself. God the Father brought about creation as a gift to His Son, knowing His Son would like it (us!).
So, if Love has brought us about (our raison d’etre), if we are Love’s gift of Love to Love, would there be any appropriate response on our part other than that of all the love we can muster for our Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier God? Mine is a roundabout approach to claiming that we ought to love God by showcasing the larger picture, even as that imaging is cast in the humble realm of religious faith. Yes, we believe as God has revealed to us that Love is our beginning, middle and end, and belief doesn’t make it any less true. As for why we are obliged to love that Love which loved us into existence, are there any other possible appropriate responses for so glorious a love?