The Judea-Christian God encompasses such a vast amount of theology and attributes that no man can comprehend Him; but then again, most people always enjoy a good mystery. In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV) says, “However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’— the things God has prepared for those who love him.” Most theologians would categorize God into five main attributes, but qualities are left out, mainly due to the fact that God is complex and mysterious. One of these attributes that is often not mentioned is His omni-benevolence- the fact that He is all-loving. This displays one of the most conflicting ideas for human logic to contemplate.
I John 4:7-8 (NIV) claims, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” These verses explicitly define God as love. Qualifying love is an important step to make before solving the rest of this puzzle of God’s love, just as taking the puzzle pieces out of the box always helps in putting them together. In the English language only one word for love shows meaning for a wide variety of things. People throw this word at anything whether they intimately love it, or if it temporarily makes them happy.
In the Greek language, the original language of the New Testament in the Bible, four meaningful words for love exist. The one used in 1 John 4 is agape love. Jesus, God incarnate, and his followers used this word to represent a sacrificial love. A love so great that a person would be willing to give his life for another. This word illustrates Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross for everyone’s sins . When 1 John 4 says God is love, it is specifically referring to unconditional love. This sacrificial, agape love comes across in two very distinct forms of recklessness and relentlessness. (Note to the reader: this was written a while back before I realized its an exegetical fallacy to impose the classical Greek meanings on the Koine Greek text. Nonetheless, the concept of God’s love being unconditional and sacrificial still holds).
Fitting a few puzzle pieces together explains how God’s love is reckless. Matthew 5:43-45 (NIV) states, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” This verse alone creates the most absurd reckless love. When God created Adam and Eve and they wronged Him, God had every right to give up on His creation. But God’s love is reckless. He shines the sun on everyone despite who those people may be.
Sliding a few more groves into the correct position clarifies how God’s love is relentless. This fact is displayed throughout the four Gospels of the Bible- Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. God became man through the virgin birth and was crucified for the salvation of all mankind. God’s love is so relentless that He suffered and died for the world’s sake. Luke 23 contains the crucifixion of Jesus. In verse forty-two, a thief on the cross beside Jesus asks the Christ to remember him. At that point Jesus did not give him specific rituals on how to receive salvation: “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’”(Luke 23:43 NIV). God’s love is so relentless that by faith alone anyone can be saved from God’s wrath against sin. Any person could commit the darkest of wrongdoings, but because of God’s relentless love, forgiveness shines brighter.
Most people enjoy keeping God and His illogical love in their box and never try to explore the mystery; but if they tried to put the pieces together, they would realize the whole puzzle will not fit in the box anymore. In other words, God’s love does not fit in a person’s own box. Not all things can be completely grasped and understood. If it could be, would God be God? God’s omni-benevolence is only one piece of God’s entire puzzle, but it is the piece that causes all the other parts to make sense.