What does “God is Love” mean? It certainly isn’t a mathematical concept
God = Love
These two words seem so totally unrelated to each other that it implies one can pick any two words out of the dictionary and say this word equals that word. That clearly would be nonsense. Therefore, when I see these words put up in religious buildings it must mean something to the people who chose to put it up and to the people who see it quite often who keep coming back into that statement’s presence.
Surely that statement doesn’t refer to some super sentient man with a long white beard sitting on an incredibly expensive throne of pure gold studded with precious gems, who on his own whim, about 13.8 billion years ago created a Universe, and was thinking very affectionately about the people who a few years ago made that window or the people like me who are presently occasionally reading it. These days our understanding of how the Universe works makes that belief unacceptable because it makes too many assumptions which are untestable, when there are other assumptions which are testable and give understandable models of why things are the way they are, and behave as they do. And these modern models don’t need that form of a God shaped like man, to make our being possible, or our sentiments of love.
If we are to accept that the statement “God is Love” has a meaning, it must start from a different place than the physical world. We must move into the mental world, the world of ideas, and search for mental constructs where some defined entity can be linked as an identity with some seemingly unrelated but also defined entity. That instantly becomes an impossible task, because enormous quantities of thoughts have been published on the concept of God and there are an unlimited number of ways of defining whatever it might be, if anything. The same could be said about love, and thus we end up with an unlimited number of definitions of God equaling, according to the statement “God is Love,” some other unlimited number of definitions of love. The statement “God is love” becomes nothing very useful for a person to think about or to attempt to apply to their life, because it is so absolutely nebulous in every way.
If the statement is approached uncritically, it seems to say God is the warm feeling people sometimes have. Using that fuzzy approach creates a problem because the term love is just floating about in emptiness, and for love to mean anything it must be applied toward something. Charles loves Godiva’s chocolate hazelnut ice cream. That is a specific statement and can be verified and can be meaningful knowledge, especially when serving Charles ice cream. God is love doesn’t give anyone a clue as to what behavior is expected. Even a statement like, if you believe in God you will go to Heaven when you die, makes some sense as a statement, but it is untestable so it goes nowhere.
Humans can make up word associations, but if they don’t function to make their world better in some verifiable way it is better not to waste time and effort thinking about them.
Putting “God is Love” in conspicuous places only confuses humans.