The Nature of Love – a theology, by Thomas Jay Oord

The first clue that Oords book would be a rather thorough  presentation of his thesis, that love must form the foundation of biblical theology, is found in his three exhaustive pages of acknowledgments. Wow. So many people – and he kept tract of them all. A projective of the man and his manuscript.

The author’s work is not just another book rehashing the old, old story of God’s love for man. Rather, it is the product of his own personal and very thorough wrestlings with the idea of God – to discover for himself if God really exists and, if so, what kind of God is god? If God truly is, by nature, love, then shouldn’t every aspect of theology be built upon the foundation of God as love?

Oords studies confirmed the primacy of love. He then challenged the many commonly accepted formal theologies, revealing their internal inconsistencies when founded on anything other than love. He proposed that substitutions for love have arisen because our definition of God’s love has been faulty in the least or totally absent at worst. Oord then formulated and presented a more consistently biblical definition for love and demonstrated the adequacy of his definition in various applications.

The nature of love impacts, obviously, our understanding of the nature of God, for – as the scriptures proclaim – ‘God is love’. How can God be love in the light of the frequently rehearsed challenges to that premise? Judge for yourself the authors rather novel approach to each objection as he tests his definition of love against the difficult questions.

The chapter that captured the bulk of my own attention was the last – Essential Kenosis. Based on an exploration of Phil 2:5-8, Oord presents Jesus’ life and teachings as the perfect revelation of God as love.

While you may not buy the whole paradigm as the author envisions it, his ideas challenge us to rethink our current stratagem of faith.

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