The Triune God Is Love
By Kenneth R. Samples
According to the New Testament “God is love” (1 John 4:8). But according to historic Christian theology God is love only because God is a Trinity. In fact, Christian theology asserts that God can only be a supreme independent being exactly because God is a Trinity. This insight led British evangelical theologian Bruce Milne to state that “just about everything that matters in Christianity hangs on the truth of God’s three-in-oneness.”1
In traditional monotheism (classical Judaism, Islam, and Unitarianism), God is one being and one person. Or, philosophically, God is one What (essence) and one Who (person). Thus the one God is a single, solitary person. But this common conception of monotheism raises serious theological difficulties.
If God is a single, solitary person (like the Jewish conception of Yahweh and the Islamic conception of Allah), then traditional monotheism must answer two fundamental questions:
1. Who did God love in eternity before he created the world?
2. Is God in desperate need of the creation to fulfill himself?
On this view, before God created he––as a single person––was completely alone in eternity. God had no one to love but himself. But self-love can be toxic and it is certainly not as rich and vibrant as having love for someone else. Therefore in traditional monotheism, God must create other persons (angels or humans) in order to have someone to love. But if this were true, then God would be dependent upon the creation for fulfillment.
British evangelical theologian Michael Reeves uses the example of Allah and his title as “The Loving” in Islam to show the problem…
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