Love: Son Love (Christ)

​To see the love of God in the second person of the Trinity, we must explore the love of the universal Christ and the incarnate Jesus.  We look at the universal Christ today and the incarnate Jesus next week. [1]

The Son of God is the excarnate Christ. [2]  As the second person of the Trinity, Christ is an aspect of the eternal God, bearing the nature of love with the Father and Spirit in the Godhead. In relation to  time, Christ is the 13.8 billion year “firstborn of all creation” who created all things and in whom all things are held together (Colossians 1:15-17).  Just a little later in the same letter Paul summed it up in one sentence, “Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11).  E. Stanley Jones said that nothing in all literature compares with that sentence. [3]

With respect to love, this means what Richard Rohr says: love is the meaning of everything. [4]  As I noted in the second post in this series, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin saw this reality in the physical structure of the universe, and contemporary cosmologists are saying similar things as they see an essential oneness between things seen and unseen (Hebrews 11:3).

Beyond this, the love of the excarnate Christ is woven into the essence of our being because everything that is made is made by him (John 1:3).  We bear the mark of our creator. And we do so beyond any particular religious affiliation; indeed, we bear the mark of love even if we do not practice any particular religious faith.  All this is to say that love is not some kind of subsequent feature, it is an intrinsic quality.

As such, love becomes the one-word summation of our ethics—love of the kind we have pointed to in the words hesed and agapé.  But from that kind of love, we can speak and act in congruence with the nature of Reality and the flow if the universe.

And more, at the personal level, each of us has an “I-Thou”relationship as God’s beloved child.  To live consciously in what some call “the womb of love” is to be fully alive. Because of the cosmic Christ, we are never outside if or separated from that womb (e.g. Psalm 139: 7-14).  Whatever causes us to lack this awareness is not due to God’s coming-and-going, but rather our varying consciousness relative to it.  How can it be otherwise when we remember “from everlasting to everlasting you are God” (Psalm 90:2).  It is Christ who makes this so.

[1] Richard Rohr’s book, ‘The Universal Christ’ (Convergent Books, 2019) is a must-read to be drawn into the magnificence of the excarnate Christ.

[2] I use the terms “excarnate Christ’ and “incarnate Christ” thanks to E. Stanley Jones.  The terms provide proper differentiantion –excarnate/ incarnate—while  preserving the essential unity—Christ Jesus. Jones’ book, ‘The Word Became Flesh’ (Abingdon Press, 1963) is one of the best books I know of to be drawn into the incarnate Christ.  It is still available.

[3] E. Stanley Jones, ‘In Christ’ (Abingdon Press, 1961), 296.

[4] Rohr, ‘The Universal Christ,’ chapter five.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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