Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Logos and love: Is love not logical?

Love is not logical anyway
Love is not logical anyway
I chanced upon a Facebook post in Manga Fox with the speech bubble, "Love is not logical anyway."  This is an interesting statement.  Let us look at what the Scripture says about this.

A. God is love

In the first book of John, we read that God is love:
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. 8 Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.f 10 In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.g 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. (1 Jn 4:7-11)

B. God is Logos

In the first chapter of the Gospel of John, we also read that God is Logos:
In the beginning* was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.a 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 * All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be.b What came to be 4 through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race. (Jn 1:1-4)
In the Greek text, the word used by John for Word was logos.
Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word", "speech", "account", "to reason"[1][2] it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus (ca. 535–475 BC), who used the term for a principle of order and knowledge.[3] Ancient philosophers used the term in different ways. The sophists used the term to mean discourse, and Aristotle applied the term to refer to "reasoned discourse"[4] or "the argument" in the field of rhetoric.[5] The Stoic philosophers identified the term with the divine animating principle pervading the Universe. Under Hellenistic Judaism, Philo (c. 20 BC – AD 50) adopted the term into Jewish philosophy.[6] The Gospel of John identifies the Logos, through which all things are made, as divine (theos),[7] and further identifies Jesus as the incarnate Logos.
Thus, logos is connected with reason. God did not create the world by playing dice, as what Einstein said. Rather, God fashioned the world in his Wisdom.  Solomon recognized this.  And that's why he attributes his wisdom to God:
For [God] gave me sound knowledge of what exists, that I might know the structure of the universe and the force of its elements, 18 The beginning and the end and the midpoint of times, the changes in the sun’s course and the variations of the seasons, 19 Cycles of years, positions of stars, 20 natures of living things, tempers of beasts, Powers of the winds and thoughts of human beings, uses of plants and virtues of roots— 21 Whatever is hidden or plain I learned, 22 for Wisdom, the artisan of all, taught me.  (Wis 7:17-22)
If the created world is not reasonable, then the knowledge about the world cannot be taught and learned.  But we know that we can know the world through our reason.  That is why we perceive the world as logical, e.g. moving according to definite laws. That is why we have sciences and sciences traditionally ends in -logy, which is logos.

For example, in Biology, we study the order (logos) that governs living things (bio), eg. how they are distinguished from non-living things. We study the structure and functions of organisms and how they interact with the non-living things, our environment. We know the distinction between species, and how they are grouped in a hierarchical order as imagined by Linnaeus. We know the laws that govern genetics, from Mendel's combinatorics to DNA replication.  We know all these because the order behind living things is reasonable.

The reasonableness of the world only reflects the reasonableness of God, for God is Logos.

C. Logos and Love

In summary, God is love (1 Jn 4:8) and God is also logical (c.f. Jn 1:1).  Thus, for our love to reflect God's love, our love must be also logical and abide by God's law:
  • Marriage: Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’ 5 c and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.” (Mt 19:4-6)
  • Parenthood: Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land the LORD your God is giving you. (Ex 20:12)
  On the other hand, a love that is not logical becomes a sin:
  • Homosexuality: Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts* for the mutual degradation of their bodies.v 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.w 26 Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions. Their females exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity.x (Rom 1:24-27)
  • Adultery.  But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Mt 5:27-28)
  • Divorce. But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Nodame Cantabile, Vol. 3
Nodame Cantabile, Vol. 3
The Logos as Reason, Word, and Love in the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger
The Logos as Reason, Word, and Love in the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger
God Does Not Play Dice: The Fulfillment of Einstein's Quest for Law and Order in Nature
God Does Not Play Dice: The Fulfillment of Einstein's Quest for Law and Order in Nature
The Epic History Of Biology
The Epic History Of Biology
Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church
Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church
On Romantic Love: Simple Truths about a Complex Emotion (Philosophy in Action)
On Romantic Love: Simple Truths about a Complex Emotion (Philosophy in Action)