Unconditional Love

Velsigne

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orthonorm said:
Irini said:
orthonorm said:
Irini said:
orthonorm said:
T
Melodist said:
God loves us unconditionally, but our relationship with Him is based on our openness to receive His love and return that love to Him.


Just in virtue of the act of creation, which I think most here would agree was a free act of God even perhaps conditioned by His love, but nevertheless no love exists without condition. In fact, the etymology works quite happily here. For God cannot love without His Word, which after all is what condition radically means.
The condition is the Logos?
Con-diction is how the more radical meaning would look in English.

With His Word (conditionally) God loves.

Really, I can come up with probably twenty other ways to show how unconditional love is something inane and in fact not love at all. Not something hard to do with cliches.
So you have experienced the pure quill, the essence of God's love, and you know it to be conditional...on what?

Do you think love is an emotion, or something else?
See argument from the meaning of words above.
We can stop talking now if you like.

I'm too tired from long days with no days off and I'm totally procrastinating in my work and I have to be in for an early meeting.  We might even agree if we can determine what our set of words mean.  I'm not motivated enough to look up diction in the OED to figure out if that's really a root for condition.  con=against diction=how one speaks?  Es contra la ley.  contra punto, au contraire,

What was God's condition?
 

Velsigne

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orthonorm said:
Irini said:
This just in over the wire:  


But I say to you, the Lord says, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, pray for those who persecute you. Why did He command these things? So that He might free you from hatred, sadness, anger and grudges, and might grant you the greatest possession of all, perfect love, which is impossible to possess except by the one who loves all equally in imitation of God.   St. Maximos the Confessor
See the condition here in the pedestrian sense?

Again. You are going to have to get to some newage to find this unconditional love nonsense.
Um, but if it were conditional, it is on our part, because He receives the prodigal son, the tax collector, the sinful woman who wept at his feet, Fotini at the well, etc.  He's the perfect gentlemen, and doesn't force himself on anyone.  Do you continue to visit people who loath you, insult you, and otherwise make it clear they don't want your company?  If it were conditional, it would already be too late, we already did all the bad deeds, acted like monsters, said the 'f' word in the morning meeting, etc.
 

orthonorm

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You need to re-read the thread. I am arguing for conditionality in at least three different ways. You are skipping around with ostensible counter-factuals which are not.
 

Velsigne

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Yeah, probably when I'm awake would be a better time.  Hey, but Asteriskos seemed happy about St. Maximus, so it's all good.
 

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Romaios said:
Irini said:
Asteriskos
Aster-iskos - "little star".

A-steriktos - "unstable/unsteadfast".

:police:   ;)
Trust me . . . this is one time new and fascinating board member that you ain't telling us something we don't already know.
 

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Oh no!  The spelling police!

Why does he choose a name unstable / unsteadfast?  What is that about?


Good night
 

Asteriktos

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Irini said:
Oh no!  The spelling police!

Why does he choose a name unstable / unsteadfast?  What is that about?


Good night
I was tricked! They told me it meant "big buff manly man," which would be a perfect description of me. Apparently it means unstable(!), which is obviously as far from my personality as is possibly possible. Amazing!
 

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Perhaps germane to this discussion is another quote by St. Maximus, from the same Centuries on Charity which I hope will prove of some help in reconciling the divergent positions (but perhaps that is simply how I have always understood this chapter):

Century I: Chapter 25-

God, Who is by nature good and without passion, loves all alike as His handiwork; yet the virtuous He glorifies as one who for his good will is made intimate with Himself, while because of His goodness, He shows mercy on the bad, with chastisements in this world to convert him. So also he, who by good will is good and without passion, loves all men alike—the virtuous because of his nature and good intention, the bad because of his nature and that fellow-feeling which causes him to show mercy upon one without sense and wandering in darkness.

This is the Sherwood translation with my emphases. I am not conversant in the original Greek but I intuit that the sense is the same.

The Catholic theologian Dietrich Von Hildebrand wrote an entire book with a central concept of love as 'value-response', which I am too tired to get into here. But it is worth seeking out. 'The Meaning of Love', it is called.

But, to the OP, I think the vital thing is being free from the passion of hatred. Otherwise, I think we are doomed to love everyone differently, and hence conditionally, by virtue of their different personas. Some we will pity, some we will admire, some we will consider our closest friends. I hope it will not scandalize anyone here to remind them that the Lord Himself, in his humanity, demonstrated special affection for some. Hence, his tears over Lazarus; hence 'the disciple whom Jesus loved', etc.

 
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Asteriktos said:
Is the love of Christ for us unconditional, or is it conditional? What about the love that we are to have for our fellow man? I struggle with this as I do indeed have conditions on love. For instance, if someone murdered thirteen people and then ate them I would not love that person. I may have thought I loved them at some point, but the person I loved turned out to be a fiction--perhaps only in my own mind. My love in that case was conditional--the condition being that they were who I thought they were, and not some sick monster. I could not love the person they turned out to be (or became). Does that mean I fall short of loving my neighbor? I couldn't love myself if I did a similar act. Are we to love all without thought as to conditions or actions or whatever? Thoughts?
I would suggest that even people who do things like this can and do have God's love as these actions are a result of our fallen state and not actually in our nature.
Also, if it was your child who did these things, would you still love them? I don't think there is anything on earth my daughters could do that would make me stop loving them, and God's love for us is infinitely more than that of a human parent for their child.
 

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Symeon77 said:
Perhaps germane to this discussion is another quote by St. Maximus, from the same Centuries on Charity which I hope will prove of some help in reconciling the divergent positions (but perhaps that is simply how I have always understood this chapter):

Century I: Chapter 25-

God, Who is by nature good and without passion, loves all alike as His handiwork; yet the virtuous He glorifies as one who for his good will is made intimate with Himself, while because of His goodness, He shows mercy on the bad, with chastisements in this world to convert him. So also he, who by good will is good and without passion, loves all men alike—the virtuous because of his nature and good intention, the bad because of his nature and that fellow-feeling which causes him to show mercy upon one without sense and wandering in darkness.

This is the Sherwood translation with my emphases. I am not conversant in the original Greek but I intuit that the sense is the same.

The Catholic theologian Dietrich Von Hildebrand wrote an entire book with a central concept of love as 'value-response', which I am too tired to get into here. But it is worth seeking out. 'The Meaning of Love', 'The Nature of Love' it is called.

But, to the OP, I think the vital thing is being free from the passion of hatred. Otherwise, I think we are doomed to love everyone differently, and hence conditionally, by virtue of their different personas. Some we will pity, some we will admire, some we will consider our closest friends. I hope it will not scandalize anyone here to remind them that the Lord Himself, in his humanity, demonstrated special affection for some. Hence, his tears over Lazarus; hence 'the disciple whom Jesus loved', etc.
Oops. Was thinking of Solovyov, I guess. See corrected title.
 

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Asteriktos said:
Irini said:
Oh no!  The spelling police!

Why does he choose a name unstable / unsteadfast?  What is that about?


Good night
I was tricked! They told me it meant "big buff manly man," which would be a perfect description of me. Apparently it means unstable(!), which is obviously as far from my personality as is possibly possible. Amazing!

LOL!!

as to the OP " big buff manly man",lol I am among those who say it is conditional.no such thing as unconditional love.however, it must be understood what people mean when they say God's love is unconditional, they refer to their actions being the condition , as such their action or inaction are not the conditions by which God loves them. He loves them because they are the works of His hands. His Wisdom by which He acts is the condition.Because of that Loving Communion in Himself, He loves us.

for us we are called to imitate that love ( that sets its condition on only one fact that God is the source of all)which is also based on the condition of being of one family all of us coming from Him, so on the condition of loving Him we love others unconditioned by or detached from their actions or inaction. in a way we are having a relationship with Him in others.

on the other hand the personal love of another creature is conditioned by the knowledge of yourself and the otherperson. ingrained in here the condition that is the knowledge of who you are in all dimensions of your being or the lack of such knowledge. either way your love on that level is conditioned.

 

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I unconditionally love air-conditioning and no one will convince me otherwise :mad:
 

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Several years ago I wrote a blog article titled "Finding the God Who is Love."  I referred to the writings of a well known Catholic theologian, Herbert McCabe, but I could just as easily have invoked St Isaac the Syrian. 

Of course God's love for humanity is unconditional.  If it weren't, there wouldn't be a good reason to be a Christian, except for fear of damnation.  But the gospel is not about terrorism, despite what the Old Testament may sometimes lead us to believe.

That's what the doctrine of the Trinity is all about:  God is love.  It's not about resolving a metaphysical conundrum about how one can be three and three be one.  This is one reason why the East will always need St Augustine.  Whatever flaws his Trinitarian reflections may have had, he understood that the doctrine of the Trinity is all about love.  Fortunately, St Gregory Palamas assimilated his insights into his own trinitarian reflections (without attribution, however).  It's all about unconditional love.  Nothing else is worth preaching.   
 

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I heard a nice prayer today on the Prayers By the Lake audiobook:

Prayer XXXIV

Love makes me God, and You, O God, man.

Where there is one, there is no love.  Where there are two united there is only a semblance of love. Where three are united, there is love.  Your name is Love because Your name is trinity in Unity.

If You were solitary, You would not be love but hatred.

If You were a duality, You would be an alternation of love and hatred.  But You are a trinity, and therefore You are love, and in You there is neither darkness nor alternation.

Love knows neither time nor space.  It is outside of time and outside of space.  For love one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day.

When I am united with You in love, neither heaven nor earth exists--only God exists.  No "you" or "I" exists--only God exists.

Love has three hypostases: chastity, knowledge, and light.  Without chastity love is not affection but selfishness and passion.  Without knowledge love is not affection but selfishness and passion.  Without knowledge love is not wisdom but foolishness.  Without light love is not power but weakness.  When passion, foolishness, and weakness combine, they become hell, which is what satan likes to call "love."

When my soul is a most pure virgin, and my conscience is keen-sighted wisdom, and my spirit is life-giving light, I am a love that coincides with Your love.  Through love I see You in myself, and You see me in Yourself.

Through love I do not see myself but only You.  Through love You do not see Yourself, but only me. 

Love sacrifices itself, and does not feel that the sacrifice is giving but rather receiving.

My worldly children:  the world "love" is the deepest prayer of all.

"Does worldly love not exist?" my neighbors ask me.  "To the same extent that a worldly God exists," I answer.  "Worldly love burns and burns out, Heavenly love burns without burning out.  Worldly love, like everything worldly, is only a dream and semblance of Love.  Your love resembles divine love the way smoke resembles flames.

"When you exchange a gold coin for copper pennies, you do not call the pennies a gold coin but copper pennies.  Why then do you call divine love that has been broken and ground into ashes by time and space 'love' and not 'ashes'?"

O Lord, make me worthy of Your love, O Lord, and I shall be free of all laws.

Move Your love into me, and love will move me into You.


St. Nikolai Velimirovich
 

Asteriktos

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akimel said:
That's what the doctrine of the Trinity is all about:  God is love.  It's not about resolving a metaphysical conundrum about how one can be three and three be one.  This is one reason why the East will always need St Augustine.  Whatever flaws his Trinitarian reflections may have had, he understood that the doctrine of the Trinity is all about love.  Fortunately, St Gregory Palamas assimilated his insights into his own trinitarian reflections (without attribution, however).  It's all about unconditional love.  Nothing else is worth preaching.   
I'm not sure that I can go along with the implications of this, Father. Are we to say that until someone got around to translating St. Augustine into Greek, or perhaps even until the late time of St. Gregory Palamas, that Orthodox theology was somehow distorted or wrong and in need of a counter-balance or corrective?  ???
 

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Asteriktos said:
akimel said:
That's what the doctrine of the Trinity is all about:  God is love.  It's not about resolving a metaphysical conundrum about how one can be three and three be one.  This is one reason why the East will always need St Augustine.  Whatever flaws his Trinitarian reflections may have had, he understood that the doctrine of the Trinity is all about love.  Fortunately, St Gregory Palamas assimilated his insights into his own trinitarian reflections (without attribution, however).  It's all about unconditional love.  Nothing else is worth preaching.   
I'm not sure that I can go along with the implications of this, Father. Are we to say that until someone got around to translating St. Augustine into Greek, or perhaps even until the late time of St. Gregory Palamas, that Orthodox theology was somehow distorted or wrong and in need of a counter-balance or corrective?  ???
So St. Augustine is not part of "Orthodox theology"?
 

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Alpo said:
Asteriktos said:
akimel said:
That's what the doctrine of the Trinity is all about:  God is love.  It's not about resolving a metaphysical conundrum about how one can be three and three be one.  This is one reason why the East will always need St Augustine.  Whatever flaws his Trinitarian reflections may have had, he understood that the doctrine of the Trinity is all about love.  Fortunately, St Gregory Palamas assimilated his insights into his own trinitarian reflections (without attribution, however).  It's all about unconditional love.  Nothing else is worth preaching.   
I'm not sure that I can go along with the implications of this, Father. Are we to say that until someone got around to translating St. Augustine into Greek, or perhaps even until the late time of St. Gregory Palamas, that Orthodox theology was somehow distorted or wrong and in need of a counter-balance or corrective?  ???
So St. Augustine is not part of "Orthodox theology"?
Poor guy.  :-\
 
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