Updated: Feb 3
1 John 4:8 says that God is love. What does that mean? 1 John 4:9 (HCSB) says: “God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent His One and Only Son into the world so that we might live through Him.” Through Jesus, one can know love because Jesus revealed love to humans by His actions and his overall mission. Jesus, the son of God the Father, represents the Father, so if Jesus is love then the Father must also be love. Jesus is love because He fulfilled the law and Romans 13:10 says that love is the fulfillment of the law. So, it can be concluded that the Father is love.
God Is Love
Still, what does that mean that God, as a whole, is love? Jesus did not fulfill the law by doing nothing. Yet love is the fulfillment of the law. So then, love must be an expression of nature. Why? The law is there to judge character, so, one cannot fulfill the law by pretending to be good because pretending is not being, and one has to be good to measure up to the standards of the law. If one has to be good to measure up to the standards of the law, then to be good (in this context) is to express love. How does one know that another is good? Through one’s actions. The law cannot measure someone who does nothing because there is nothing to measure. Actions come out of one’s nature and therefore, to judge a nature as being good or bad, one has to be measured by the expressions of one’s nature—which is seen through one’s actions. So, when it is said that God is love, it is meant that God’s very nature is love so that every expression (action) of His nature is out of love. However, there is more to love. Love is, essentially, the expression of one’s inner goodness to another.
Side Note: “Goodness” is defined as anything that is in coherence with God’s nature.
Remember, love is nothing without being expressed. Jesus would not be the fulfillment of the law if He did nothing. To have love, one must be expressing it, or else it would never be known. Love, by its very nature, is expressed.
To clear this idea up, consider the following: Love, like faith, has a dualistic nature to it. Love is, both, of one’s nature and expressed—both, in the personal sense, a noun (it could be argued that it is an adjective in the human sense) and a verb. To illustrate this, a lion is a predator by nature, but it is only by a predatory act that its nature is confirmed and realized. So, the first lion that ever existed could not be deemed a predator until it commits a predatory act, and it could be said that the lion was not a predator before the act. It is the same with God. God could not be love until love was expressed because it is in the act that love is realized. C.S. Lewis knew this and made an amazing statement: “Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love.”
Love and Reality
C.S. Lewis understood that love is only realized through action or an expression of one’s nature. So, if there was no trinity, then love could not have existed until the world was created. If that were true, then God’s very nature changed—meaning the God of today was not the God before the world. The implications of this are hard to fathom. But, in as much as a human mind can hope to understand, it would mean that reality, as we know it, could instantly change as God’s very nature has the possibility of changing again.
Side Note: This thought process is assuming God is the triune God of today—whether that was true before the world or not.
God, who defines all personable things, could change—thereby destroying one’s idea of personhood and destroying oneself. This is because if God changed, then one’s identity in Christ is lost. This is because, if love is the fulfillment of the law and God is love, then to fulfill the law one has to be like God. However, if God is no longer God (love), then how can one find his identity in Christ if Christ or the rest of the trinity do not fulfill the law themselves? The law would be baseless and therefore arbitrary because it is no longer based on the nature of God. So, in this new reality, salvation, in its previous tense, is meaningless because salvation from what? It could be said, in this hypothetical circumstance, that God became like man. This is because, one would be, in a way, no longer separated by God, assuming that He changes into something that is conceivable in this reality—meaning that he changes into the only other alternative to love: a “selfish” God.
So, love can only be realized by the expression of it. However, the only way one knows that the expression is love is by revealed knowledge. This revealed knowledge was, essentially, Christ. God’s very nature is love and always was love due to the love between the trinity. God’s nature and how that relates to love provides key foundations for this reality and how one views the world. Lastly, the concept of the trinity makes the Christian God work. Since there is love, as well as all other personable things, it can easily be known that there is a God, and that God can only be the triune God. This makes love unique, while other personable things point to a God, love points to a very specific God.
Want more? See: Love and the Law
Lewis, C.S. The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002.
 C.S. Lewis, The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics, (New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 2002), p. 142.