5 A Canonical Survey of Divine Love in the New Testament
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A Canonical Survey of Divine Love in the New Testament
Divine love in the NT builds on the facets of love discovered already in the OT. As the previous chapter, this chapter presents a canonical survey of the prominent themes that illuminate the many facets of divine love in the God-world relationship. Due to the overwhelming amount of data, this survey is selective in its presentation. The investigative process consisted of a broad reading of the entire NT that analyzed any texts and/or passages that might contribute to potential answers to the questions identified in chapters 2 and 3 (below), which revolve around whether divine love is unilateral or whether God and humans may share a reciprocal (though unequal) relationship of love.
Relative to this broad issue, five questions have been identified as standing at the center of the conflict of interpretations. First, is God the sole giver but never the receiver? In other words, is divine love only arbitrarily willed, pure beneficence (thematic agape) or may it include desire or enjoyment (thematic eros)? Second, does God only bestow and/or create value or might he also appraise, appreciate, and receive value? Third, does God’s love include affection and/or emotionality such that God is concerned for the world, sympathetically or otherwise? Fourth, does God choose to fully love only some, or does he choose to love all, or is he essentially related to all such that he necessarily loves all? Fifth,...
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