Sunday, May 20, 2007

Love Will Keep Us Together (Part 2)

In seeking definition, one often looks to others, or to an authoritative source. My favorite source for definition is the Oxford English Dictionary, a fine and weighty tome. Oxford’s first definition of love describes it as a “disposition or state of feeling,” based on, or arising from the “recognition of attractive qualities.” This is a worthwhile start, because the definition does not simply list characteristic behaviors or manifestations that are the result of love; we’re actually making a stab here at really saying what this thing called love IS. Oxford (remarkably enough!) falls short in that I believe love goes beyond simple attraction. As I intend to explore later, I believe there truly is a transcendence in love… but that’s later.

At my wife’s suggestion, I investigated a somewhat less secular, yet no less authoritative source, the Works of Oswald Chambers. In his discussion in “The Love of God,” (December 14, 1916), he offers this definition:
“Love is the sovereign preference of my person for another person, embracing everyone and everything in that preference.”
Mr. Chambers includes the concept of preference or choice as a component of love, and notes the completely inclusive, comprehensive nature of love as a relationship. So for him, love is a chosen and comprehensive relationship. It is an easy jump to 1 Corinthians 13 to examine the nature and characteristics of this relationship, however, my sense is that this serves to exemplify, rather than to describe the relationship itself. Splitting semantic hairs? Perhaps, but I can’t be comfortable with patience, kindness, gentleness as synonyms for love… they tel me about love, but not what it is.

To Be Continued…


Toph said...

Love means never having to say you're sorry.

Stephanie said...

Part of the definition of LOVE (noun) found in Webster's 1828 Dictionary is this:

An affection of the mind excited by beauty and worth of any kind, or by the qualities of an object which communicate pleasure, sensual or intellectual...
...The love of God is the first duty of man, and this springs from just views of his attributes or excellencies of character, which afford the highest delight to the sanctified heart. Esteem and reverance constitute ingredients in this affection, and a fear of offending him is its inseperable effect.

I like that.