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This post builds on the previous forum topic “Christian Ultimate Moral Belief” at viewtopic.php?f=31&t=121#p213. That topic includes these definitions:
"the verb love means acting only to promote the well-being of the thing loved."
"Loving all persons includes accepting all persons and promoting equal treatment of all persons, now and future. Loving all persons includes loving oneself,"
Definition from Wiktionary:
"love: (verb) To care deeply about, to be dedicated to (someone or something)."
Definition from Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms, by Donald K. McKim
"love: (Greek: agape) Strong feeling of personal affection, care, and desire for the well-being of others."
Webster’s New World Dictionary 1968 defines love as:
n. 8. In theology,
a) God’s benevolent concern for mankind
b) Man’s devout attachment to God
c) The feeling of benevolence and brotherhood that people should have for each other
v.t. 1. To feel love for
3. To delight in; take pleasure in
In I Corinthians 4-8a, St. Paul describes love this way: (CEB) “Love is patient, love is kind, it isn’t jealous, it doesn’t brag, it isn’t arrogant, it isn’t rude, it doesn’t seek its own advantage, it isn’t irritable, it doesn’t keep a record of complaints, it isn’t happy with injustice, but it is happy with the truth. Love puts up with all things, trusts in all things, hopes for all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
I read the 20 page articles on “love” in the Anchor Bible Dictionary 1992. They indicate that “love” is best seen in the human love between parent and child, or between husband and wife (as equals). Some of the qualities of love mentioned are kindness, mercy, devotion, and loyalty.
These definitions of love do not mention having a relationship. However, a friendship relationship seems to be assumed, or is at least desirable.
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It seems that there are two opposite tendencies that are a part of our basic animal nature, "love" and "hate," or "affection" and "anger." We cooperate and please the other, and we reject and fight the other. Jesus was an early Humanian, advocating for promoting the positive, and inhibiting the negative, aspects of relationship.