It is said that God is love. And in one sense, this may be so. But to say that God is love is to say that love is God. And this is not so. The two are not equal, or the same, or interchangeable.
Better to say God is. And also, love is.
But what is love? And what does love have to do with God (if God is)?
We might begin by saying what love is not.
Love is not an activity. Love is not something we do. Love is not an action. In essence, love is not a verb.
Nor is it a choice.
When we speak of Love either as a verb or a choice, we confuse Love with devotion. Devotion is action, and can be a choice. Devotion may be ignited by love, or it may be demonstrated by choice. Over time, consistently choosing to demonstrate devotion may even result in love being revealed where love had previously not been recognized. In other words, it may result in discovering, or uncovering, love.
Nor is love an emotion, like pleasure, or sadness. These are sensations recognized in the body, which rise in response to stimulus.
Lust, physical attraction, the ‘chemistry’ between two humans… these should not be mistaken for love. They may lead to love, or the uncovering of the recognition that we call love. But they are not love. Love is possible without these sensations. A mother holding her newborn child knows love.
Some will say a mother’s love is due to having been literally connected to her child. To sharing the child’s being for a time. And this is a part of the reason, but not the whole of it.
All is connected, all is one, one is all. There is no other. There is no separation between subject and object, between ‘I’ and ‘you,’ between mind and matter. There is something prior to all of these, from which all of these arise and out of which these are made. From an acorn rises the oak tree, but not without water in soil readying nutrients, enlivened by sunlight, by carbon dioxide exhaled from breathing bodies. In a similar way, the fetus is nourished by the mother’s own food, the air she breathes, the star that warms her.
More simply, what is shared by the fetus, the mother, the acorn, the soil, the breath, and ‘all things’ that are one thing, is being itself.
Love, simply, is the recognition of our shared being.
Love is the dissolution of the sense of separation between ‘I’ and ‘other.’ The crumbling of the wall that says I am me, you are you, and the world is made of other stuff. Love is the realization of the source of all that is prior to all, gives rise to all, is in harmony with all. Words become inadequate here, unless they are the words of poets.
And so what has love to do with God, then?
We might say that if God is, and is the source of all, and all arises from God and is within God, then because of this, love is known.
We might also say love is, and therefore God is.