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Love of God (divine love, theophilia) is a central notion in monotheistic, personal conceptions of God.

"Love of God" means the love that someone has for God, as "friend of God" (theophilos) can mean someone who is friendly towards God or who is loved by God.[1][2][3] Love of God, understood as someone's love for God is associated with concepts of piety, worship, and devotion towards God.

"Love of God" also means the love God has for us, as in Psalm 52:1: "The steadfast love of God endures all the day"; Psalm 52:8: "I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever"; Romans 8:39: "Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God"; 2 Corinthians 13:14: "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all"; 1 John 4:9: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him"; etc.


Bhakti movements

Devotees of Krishna worship him in different emotional, transcendental raptures, known as rasas. Two major systems of Krishna worship developed, each with its own philosophical system. These two systems are aishwaryamaya bhakti and madhuryamaya bhakti. Aishwaryamaya bhakti is revealed in the abode of queens and kingdom of Krishna in Dwaraka. Madhuryamaya Bhakti is revealed in the abode of braja. Thus Krishna is variously worshipped according to the development of devotee's taste in worshipping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, as father, friend, master, beloved and many different varieties which are all extraordinary. Krishna is famous as Makhanchor, or butter thief. He loved to eat butter and is the beloved of his little village in Gokul. These are all transcendental descriptions. Thus they are revealed to the sincere devotees in proportion to the development in their love of Godhead. Vaishnavism is a form of monotheism, sometimes described as 'polymorphic monotheism', with implication that there are many forms of one original deity, defined as belief in a single unitary deity who takes many forms. In Krishnaism this deity is Krishna, sometimes referred as intimate deity - as compared with the numerous four-armed forms of Narayana or Vishnu.[4] It may refer to either of the interrelated concepts of the love of God towards creation, the love of creatures towards God or relationship between the two as in bhakti.

Greek polytheism

In polytheism, that which is loved by the gods (τὸ θεοφιλές) was identified as the virtuous or pious. Socrates famously asked whether this identification is a tautology, see Euthyphro dilemma.

The words "philotheos" and "theophilos"

In Greek philotheos means "loving God, pious", as philosophos means a lover of wisdom (sophia). The word Theophilos was and is used as a proper name, but does not appear as an adjective or common noun in Greek,[5] which uses instead the form theophilês, which means "dear to God" but also "loving God".

Eric Voegelin has used "theophilos" as a common noun: "In the Phaedrus, Plato has Socrates describe the characteristics of the True thinker. When Phaedrus asks what one should call such a man, Socrates, following Heraclitus, replies that the term sophos, one who knows, would be excessive: this attribute may be applied to God Alone : but one well call him philosophos. Thus "actual knowledge" is reserved to God; finite man can only be the "lover of knowledge," not himself the one who knows. In the meaning of the passage, the lover of the knowledge that belongs only to the knowing God, the philosophos, becomes the theophilos, the lover of God."[6]


In Christianity, God's love for mankind or the world is expressed in Greek as agape (ἀγάπη), famously in John 3:16: "God so loved the world" (οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον). The same Greek word agape is used also of the love of Christians for one another and for other human beings, as in 1 Thessalonians 3:12: "May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else" (ὑμᾶς δὲ ὁ Κύριος πλεονάσαι καὶ περισσεύσαι τῇ ἀγάπῃ εἰς ἀλλήλους καὶ εἰς πάντας), but apart from quotations of the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy 6:5 ("Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength"), there is no instance in the New Testament where agape is used of effective love by humans for God.[7]

To avoid the sexual connotations of the Latin word "amor", the word "caritas" was preferred as the Latin equivalent of this New Testament word. Thomas Aquinas taught that the essence of sanctity lies in love of God, and Thérèse of Lisieux made love of God the centre of her spirituality.[8]

Christian Orthodoxy

In Greek Orthodox Christianity, a person's love for God is called a theophilos, this love one has of God is the catalyst that drives the relationship between man and God referred to as theosis. This is contrasted by the Church's opposition which depict existence and its creation as an act of tyranny. This position is vaguely covered under the terms misotheism, and gnosticism. Theophilia is love for and by God, Philokalia is the love of beauty (as manifestation of God)[9] and also as a set of Eastern Orthodox ascetic religious texts, centered on the idea of using theoria (contemplation of Beauty and or God) called Hesychasm to cultivate true beauty and therefore the love of God. Theoria being the manifestation or experience of God in the life of the person as the highest beauty.

Christian mysticism

An experience of divine love is central in mysticism. Medieval German mystics, women in particular (Mechthild of Magdeburg, Hildegard von Bingen), express divine love as a burning passion. Similarly, Julian of Norwich in her Sixteen Revelations of Divine Love (ca. 1393).


Goethe expresses the sentiment of love of God alongside the opposite sentiment of hatred of God in his two poems Ganymed and Prometheus, respectively.

See also


  1. ^ Teofil
  2. ^ The Baby Name Bible: The Ultimate Guide
  3. ^ Theophilos
  4. ^ Scheweig, (2004) pp. 13-17
  5. ^ The word does not appear in the great Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon
  6. ^ Science, Politics, And Gnosticism by Eric Voegelin. Publisher: ISI Books ISBN 1932236481
  7. ^ Quotation: In this statement no object of human love is indicated, simply "We love". The reason for that love is, "because he first loved us" (v. 19). We might have expected, "We love him because he first loved us." The following verses (vv. 20-21) show that responsive human love is in fact directed to the brother. The key to the argument is the assumption that love requires the seen presence of the one loved. Given the acceptance of the invisibility of God, a teaching common to Hellenistic Judaism and the Greco-Roman world, love for God is excluded. (Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible, p. 1533).
  8. ^ The Story of a Soul
  9. ^ Scripture in tradition: the Bible and its interpretation in the Orthodox Church By John Breck Published by St Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2001 ISBN 0881412260, 9780881412260[1]


  • MULLICK, Bulloram (1898). Krishna and Krishnaism. S.K. Lahiri & Co.  
  • SCHWEIG, G.M. (2005). Dance of divine love: The Rasa Lila of Krishna from the Bhagavata Purana, India's classic sacred love story. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ; Oxford. ISBN 0691114463.
  • HAWLEY, John Stratton: Three Bhakti Voices. Mirabai, Surdas, and Kabir in Their Time and Ours. 2nd impression. Oxford 2006.

External links




Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Spiritual love article)

From Wikiquote

Spiritual love or religious love is love that is either believed to emanate from a supernatural entity, or which is directed towards such an entity, or which is directed at others in the name of or at the behest of such an entity.


  • Love is the mystery of divine revelations! Love is the effulgent manifestation! Love is the spiritual fulfilment! Love is the light of the Kingdom! Love is the breath of the Holy Spirit inspired into the human spirit! Love is the cause of the manifestation of the Truth (God) in the phenomenal world!. Love is the necessary tie proceeding from the realities of things through divine creation!"
  • ... love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave.Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord.
    • The Bible, Song of Solomon 8:6
  • If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
    • The Bible, I Corinthians 13:1-2
  • Love suffers long, and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.... And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
    • The Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4 - 8 (New King James Version) and an alternative "take":
  • God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.
    • The Bible, 1 John 4:16b
  • There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
  • Love thy neighbor as thyself.
    • The Bible, Leviticus 19:18
  • Stay with me flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.
    • The Bible, Song of Solomon 2:5
    • Alternate translation: "Strengthen me with flagons of wine, refresh me with apples; for sick of love am I."
  • I adjure you, o daughters of Jerusalem, that you stir not up nor awaken love until it please.
    • The Bible, Song of Solomon 8:4
  • Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.
    • The Bible, Song of Solomon 8:7
    • Alternative translation: "Many waters are not able to quench love, nor can the rivers flood it away."
  • Heaven's harmony is universal love.
    • William Cowper, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 393.
  • The incarnation of God in Christ reveals this truth, that the love that seeks and saves the lost is a love that suffers. On the one side there is loss, Gethsemane and the rugged burden of Golgotha, but on the other is gain, the gain of a world's redemption.
    • Wesley R. Davis, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 393.
  • God be thanked that there are some in the world to whose hearts the barnacles will not cling.
    • Josiah Gilbert Holland, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 393.
  • Of the systems above us, angelic and seraphic, we know little; but we see one law, simple, efficient, and comprehensive as that of gravitation,— the law of love,— extending its sway over the whole of God's dominions, living where He lives, embracing every moral movement in its universal authority, and producing the same harmony, where it is obeyed as we observe in the movements of nature.
    • Mark Hopkins, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 393.
  • But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
    • Jesus, Matthew 5:44 - 45 (KJV)
  • The soul that walks in love neither tires others nor grows tired
    • St. John of the Cross in Sayings of Light and Love (1581, trans. by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodríguez, 1991), # 97
  • Learn the new commandment of the Son of God. Not to love merely, but to love as He loved. Go forth in this spirit to your life-duties; go forth, — children of the cross, to carry every thing before you, and win victories for God by the conquering power of a love like His.
  • Love is the greatest thing that God can give us, for Himself is love; and it is the greatest thing we can give to God, for it will also give ourselves, and carry with it all that is ours.
    • Jeremy Taylor, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 392.
  • If there is any thing that keeps the mind open to angel visits, and repels the ministry of ill, it is human love.
    • Nathaniel Parker Willis, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 394.
  • It was in prison that we found the hope of salvation for the Communists. It was there that we developed a sense of responsibility toward them. It was in being tortured by them that we learned to love them.
  • Humble love,
    And not proud reason, keeps the door of heaven;
    Love finds admission, where proud science fails.
    • Edward Young, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 392.

External links

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Love of God
Attributed to Christopher Smart without evidence.
From the APPENDIX to the Hymns Hymns for the Amusement of Children (1771).



Great God of Love! — that charming name
Should all my powers controul;
Should make my best affections flame
And kindle all my soul.

Nor I, nor Angels round the throne
Can love to what's thy due;
Beauties divine to them unknown
Pass all they have in view.

When they have stretch'd their wings for flight,
The steep ascent to try; <10>
Struck with the vast and boundless height,
In wonder lost they lie.

Yet they for ever wonder on
And gaze with high delight:
And love the Infinite unknown,
With all their mind and might.

I too would lift mine eyes to see
What Angels can't explore,
With fix'd attention gaze at Thee,
And wonder and adore. <20>

O clear mine eyes, my heart inflame,
With love fill up my soul;
Let this affection reign supreme,
And all my powers controul.

PD-icon.svg This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


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