Why life? As an atheist I would say, just because, a happy accident borne of organic compounds. Those of faith will tell you, because life is love. Today I have been exploring this, looking at what philosophers have to say about love and what is written in the Bible. I really could do with some more holy books!
“God’s Love and Ours
7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
13This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God. 16And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
19We love because he first loved us. 20Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
New International Version of The Holy Bible. 1 John 4:7-21
I have put it all in because I think context is important, rather than just taking the odd fragments and making them into something they are not.
My idea of love is that it is all prevalent, all pervasive, a thought, a feeling an emotion that one reflects on one’s self and on others with a degree of compulsion. We look at another human being and we feel love, that love comes in the form of familiarity, we love that human form because it is recognisable. We look at a flower and feel love because of its beauty. We are in the presence of our children and we not only feel love through our bond with them but feel loved in return. We are compelled to love in one way or another. To this end love is life even in an atheist’s world.
Imagine a world without love. There would be no responsibility either given or taken, no respect, no duty or obligation, nothing really. Without love there cannot be a zest that makes life living, or even worth living. No motivation to go from the beginning of the day to the end of the day. The flower must ‘love’ the sun for the life it brings. The baby loves the breast for the nourishment and comfort it needs to live. We love one another for the cooperation we need to live, if the farmer isn’t loved he doesn’t produce food, if the shop keeper isn’t loved, she doesn’t sell the food the farmer produces, if the consumer isn’t loved they do not consume. I can see how loved and paid can be interchanged here and that brings me on to politics.
How can love be linked with politics? Kierkegaard says that the lover is indebted because god puts love in everyone and so to love is to cover the debt of being loved. Kant says that the loved is indebted to the lover for giving the respect of love thereby obliging the loved to love. Hume ties it all up in benevolence and has done with it. The principles of Communism tells us that if we do a good deed for someone then someone will do a good deed to us, not necessarily the same person. I think this is the same with love, no one is indebted because everyone repays each other’s debt.
So to my question, why life? Well why not? Life is love and love is life, purpose and meaning all in one nice tidy place, just because it is that way, whether you believe in a higher presence or not. You give love, you receive love, you are love!
Here’s a newer translation of the passages I have quoted above. I don’t know about you but it reads better to me. This has been written by James David Audlin in his “The Writings of John”. You can find his fiction and non-fiction works at these websites:
“4:7 Beloved ones, we should love each other because love is from God and everyone who loves has been engendered by God and knows God. 4:8 Anyone who does not passionately love has not known God, because God is love. 4:9 The love of God has been revealed thus among us: that he has sent his son ÷ into the world so we might live through him. ÷ 4:11 Beloved ones, if God so loved us we ought likewise to love each other. 4:12 No one has ever seen God, (but) if we love each other God abides in us, and his love fully develops in us. 4:13 By this we know that we abide in him, and he in us, because he has given to us from his spirit. 4:14 And we have seen and bear witness that the father GREEK: has sent the son [as] savior/deliverer (of) the cosmos. ARAMAIC: sent the son as deliverer from the cosmos / into the Æon. 4:15 Those who agree that Jesus is son of God, God abides in them and they in God. 4:16 And we have come to know and to trust in the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 4:17 In this way love has fully developed among us, so we may be candid in the day of judgement, because just as he exists so also do we (exist) in this GREEK: cosmos. ARAMAIC: Æon. 4:18 There is no fear in love, for fully developed love pushes fear out, because fear brings on its own torment, because anyone who fears has not come to fully developed love. 4:19 We love because he first loved us. 4:20 If anyone says “I love God” and hates his brother, he is a liar; if he does not love his brother, whom he has seen, he cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 4:21 For this is the law that we have from him, that one who loves God should also love his brother.“