How We Love God and Man
Posted by LizzyBeth
On this lovely Sunday I’d like to share with you all something I have been ruminating on since I’ve been rereading the Four Loves by C. S. Lewis. (If you know nothing about the book: Lewis in his brilliantly conversational way explains the difference between Need-Love, Appreciative-Love and Give-Love. He divides them into four categories: Affection, Friendship, Eros, and Charity).
As I was reading, I was struck by the way in which Lewis describes Friendship. It is not necessary for survival but it is part of surviving well. Friendship is the essence of what makes life more bearable. But it cannot be forced. A man who wants friends will always be striving for something he cannot gain because “Friendship is utterly free from Affection’s need to be needed” (Lewis 69). And as soon as a man “wants/needs” friendship, he will search in vain for it. Friendship is formed through mutual appreciation and camaraderie of shared interest and perspective. This is what makes a true Friendship so rare and fine. It doesn’t need to be needed; it just is. It builds affection and creates bonds with each other that beyond social convention, race, status, money, and a great many things.
Lewis went on to say that some people have even likened true friendship with a sort of divine quality, something that we would expect the angels in Heaven to experience. Friendship welcomes with open arms the idea of sharing its love with others who share the same views. The body of Christ, the church, is an example of this sort of friendship – a shared faith with a common purpose. In Heaven we can express this shared love, this friendship perfectly and divinely – as Dante describes it in his Divine Comedy.
But Lewis was quick to remind us that the Scriptures very rarely refers to this kind of Love in regards to our relationship with God. “Affection is taken as the image when God is represented as our Father; Eros, when Christ is represented as the Bridegroom of the Church” (78). This comment really got me thinking about the importance of our understanding of how God relates to us and the value we place on friendship. By necessity, the church needs to foster friendship within itself; however that same necessity ought to foster an understanding that our Love for God must not be the same because our relationship with God is vastly different.
God it Father. Christ is Brother. Christ is Bridegroom.
There was a time, and perhaps it is still now, when the song “I Am a Friend of God” was particularly popular. The song repeated this phrase, “I am a friend of God, He has called me friend.” Though there is scriptural truth to that statement, it neglects the greater concepts of the type of Love we ought to have for and towards our God. Lewis talks about how Affection and Eros do have aspects of Friendship, but Affection and Eros come first. They are the primary forms of Love in which God relates to Man and conversely Man to God. But Friendship is how Man relates to his fellow Man.
About LizzyBethThere is a Story inside of me that I must give a voice. I write so that imagination can take me to Faerie and I can catch a glimpse of the Otherworld and hopefully so will you.
Posted on February 3, 2013, in Authors, C. S. Lewis, Christianity, Lantern Hollow Press Authors, Meditations, Rachel Burkholder, Theology and tagged C. S. Lewis, Dante, Eros, Four Loves, Friendship. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.