Love, an attribute?

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timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I was reading Charles Hodge on the attributes of God. He listed God's goodness as an attribute and love as coming from God's goodness rather than love being an attribute itself. I always viewed love as an attribute by itself ("God is love" (1 John 4:16)). Also, the WCF seems to put love under the attribute of His goodness.

If we can rightly say that God is love even though love itself is not an attribute, could we not also say that God is hate? In no way am I advocating that He is, but it seems that logically if love itself is not an attribute and the scriptures say God is love, then we could say the same for His hatred as hatred can be seen as a subcategory of His holiness/justice.

I am inclined to see love as an attribute itself, though certainly very related to His goodness.

Thoughts?
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
I understand it to be a "selfless commitment to the good of another." Or would "goodness" simply be adequate? I'm inclined to define goodness as a subcategory of love. Or an I just splitting hairs?
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
I understand it to be a "selfless commitment to the good of another."

That is similar to Hodge's definition:

Love includes complacency, desire, and delight, and has rational beings for its objects.

Hodge uses 'goodness' as a broader category which includes God's benevolence to non-rational creatures as well.
 

Nicholas Perella

Puritan Board Freshman
Love is what He is rather than what He has.

The way that the OP is using the term 'attribute' does mean God is love. The term is not being used strictly in a philosophical sense but in a theological sense. Since the unity of God is not only numerical (God is one or There is one God), but also simple (all that He is, is the total of who He is). The term 'attribute' in the OP is meant in accord with how God is simple. So this means God is not only totally and fully love, but God is also totally and fully holiness, righteousness, and good, etc.... Neither His love nor His holiness are parts of a whole, but His love is the whole of who He is and so is His holiness the whole (total, complete) of who He is.

I have not read Hodge, but I assume from other Reformed.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Love is what He is rather than what He has.

The way that the OP is using the term 'attribute' does mean God is love. The term is not being used strictly in a philosophical sense but in a theological sense. Since the unity of God is not only numerical (God is one or There is one God), but also simple (all that He is, is the total of who He is). The term 'attribute' in the OP is meant in accord with how God is simple. So this means God is not only totally and fully love, but God is also totally and fully holiness, righteousness, and good, etc.... Neither His love nor His holiness are parts of a whole, but His love is the whole of who He is and so is His holiness the whole (total, complete) of who He is.

I have not read Hodge, but I assume from other Reformed.

Amen!
 
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