The life of those who dwell in the secret place of the Most High may be called a Hidden Life, because the animating principle, the vital or operative element, is not so much in itself as in another. It is a life grafted into another life. It is the life of the soul, incorporated into the life of Christ; and in such a way, that, while it has a distinct vitality, it has so very much in the sense, in which the branch of a tree may be said to have a distinct vitality from the root.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Love Must be the Constitutive Activity of the Universe

Love, in distinction from the counterfeits of love; we mean that divine love, which “casts out fear,” and which pursues the good of its object for the sake of the good and not for the sake of reward; such love has all the marks or characteristics which have already been ascribed to the Essential Life. It was said of Essential Life that it has no beginning. The same can be said of Love. Looking at love psychologically, and in one of its most distinguishing aspects, it may be described as simply benevolent desire, or the desire of good. And like every other desire, it involves in its very nature and as a part of its nature, a tendency to activity and to practical results. It is essentially a motive power. Now take the universe as the theater of inquiry, and say whether Love, considered as a motive power, has or can have, admits, or can admit, of any active and causative power antecedent to itself. Looking at the question psychologically, it seems to us that only three suppositions are possible in the case; first, indifference, which is not life, but the negation of life; second, the desire of evil, which, if it be admitted as the primal activity, would annihilate God, and enthrone Satan; and third, the desire of good, which is only another name for Love.

Now apply this analysis to God. If God exists at all, he exists as Essential Life. As essential life, He is essential activity; and that, too, without a beginning of such activity. Forever, and as a part of his nature, He must have had in himself a motivity, a principle of action. That principle of activity, could not have been indifference; for that would be a contradiction in terms. It could not be the desire of evil, for that would constitute a satanic Infinite. On the only remaining supposition, it must have been the desire of good or love. Love therefore, is, and, from the nature of the case, must be, the constitutive activity of the universe. And being central in the infinite nature, we may say of it as we say of God, it is without beginning; and, therefore it is, and must be to that extent, the same with the Essential Life of things.

— edited from Absolute Religion (1873), Chapter 4.

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