Suppose there was a God. An all-powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing being who is good and loving. In fact, He is so good and loving that He is not so much the personification of love and goodness but rather, love and goodness are conceptualisations of His nature.
Let’s suppose that this God’s definition of love is giving to the other person, not loving oneself. Therefore, we can deduce that such a God is a relational being, someone who desires to love another being and be loved by them.
Such a God would not be satisfied with abstract love. He’d want actual relationships and actual acts of expressing love to other people, because He is love, and He is a person, not an idea, and his love is about giving to another person.
Now, what sort of reality would this all-powerful God create?
Clearly, He’d create a world intended for relationship. This God is a person, so His love is person-based. He wouldn’t be interested in creating an abstract world of airy-fairy ideals like Plato’s Cave. That’s not how He thinks of love. He is love, and He is a person. Bring the two together, and you imagine He’d create other persons capable of expressing and receiving love, as a subdued reflection of what is God is like.
“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” – Genesis 1:27
“And the LORD God said, “It is not good that man should be alone…” – Genesis 2:16
But this God is not a simplistic God. He is love, and His love is focussed on the other person. So obviously we’re talking about a God with a healthy appreciation for diversity. So we can imagine that His reality would be filled with a great diversity of things. He’d be very creative.
“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…” –Colossians 1:16
The weird thing about this God is how, in other-based love, He balances order and diversity. Creating reality is an expression of His love, so there is an overall coherency and theme to His works. But His love is focussed on the other, so there’s huge diversity of things all designed to fit in the overall theme. There is order and freedom at the same time.
“But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed, there are many members, yet one body.” –1 Corinthians 12:18-20
This God is incredibly committed to love as personal, relational love, not an abstracted theory. So, naturally, He’s going to design a reality where love is embodied in a physical creation. In this reality, love isn’t an abstract idea. It’s something that is expressed and shown through actions and creations which have a physical, tangible form. There is no escape. The conclusion is unavoidable: love is not abstract. Love is a person.
“Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?” – James 2:22
And what sort of God do we have here?
This God is the Christian God. The reality we just described, is the reality the Bible says He made. That reality is the way we’re supposed to live.
I haven’t unpacked that, but that changes a lot of stuff about how we see the world, even for us Christians, who theoretically already believe this stuff. Embodied love as the central tenet of reality. It changes everything.
We don’t have a meaningless, heartless, mechanical reality, and we don’t have an airy-fairy spiritualism. We have an embodied love that is to shape all our interactions with reality, others, and God. That really is a game-changer.