Love is God?

I must now explain why I have found this distinction [nearness-by-likeness versus nearness-of-approach] necessary to any treatment of our loves. St. John’s saying that God is love has long been balanced in my mind against the remark of a modern author (M. Denis de Rougemont) that “love ceases to be a demon only when he ceases to be a god”; which of course can be re-stated in the form “begins to be a demon the moment he begins to be a god.” This balance seems to me an indispensable safeguard. If we ignore it the truth that God is love may slyly come to mean for us the converse, that love is God.

I suppose that everyone who has thought about the matter will see what M. de Rougemont meant. Every human love, at its height, has a tendency to claim for itself a divine authority. Its voice tends to sound as if it were the will of God Himself. It tells us not to count the cost, it demands of us a total commitment, it attempts to over-ride all other claims and insinuates that any action which is sincerely done “for loves sake” is thereby lawful and even meritorious. That erotic love and love of one’s country may thus attempt to “become gods” is generally recognized. But family affection may do the same. So, in a different way, may friendship. I shall not elaborate the point, for it will meet us again and again in later chapters.

C. S. Lewis, “Introduction” in The Four Loves, pp. 6-7

With all this talk going around about love and its relationship to God and the Christian life, I find Lewis’ observations helpful.

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