As a youth leader in a local youth ministry (middle and high school age students), our ministry recently discussed the topic of love and whether love can exist without God. As a Christian apologist, this specific question reminds me of the objectivity of God’s transcendent morality. Personally, I approach these types of topics with an apologetic style. The main verse that was referenced to answer this question was 1 John 4:7-12,
7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever 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.
Essentially, God is the embodiment of love. So, the question is, can love exist without God? Simply put, no. Using these verses alone, we can easily deduce that if God did not exist, love would not exist because these verses clearly state, “ Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God…Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” If love finds its origins in God, love cannot exist without God. God is the ultimate ontological foundation for not only love, but all things that exist within His creation. God is the objective moral standard by which we can measure the difference between love and hate. We are told that “since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” God’s nature is what we use as a standard by which we can identify love. The farther away from His nature we wander, the closer we become to aligning with the sinful means of expression that don’t resemble God’s nature.
This is a brief summary of my theological understanding of love and whether or not it can exist without His existence. I would love to hear your opinion on the matter! Leave me a comment below outlining your understanding of love and whether or not love can exist with or without Him!