Without moral agency there can be no moral character. Without moral character, there is no such thing as love. This would be problematic in that love is revealed as the most fundamental dimension of God’s moral character (1 Jn.4:8, 16) and is the goal to which we are to aspire as human beings (Ro.13:10; Ga.5:14; Ep.5:1-2; Jms.2:8).
For the purpose of reflecting upon the nature of love as a moral characteristic I will use a definition offered by Charles G. Finney, the American evangelist and revivalist whose ministry was greatly used of God. He writes, “…love…consists in choosing the highest good of God and of universal being, for its own intrinsic value, in a spirit of entire consecration to this as the ultimate end of existence.” A series of upcoming posts will consider the elements of this statement.
First, “…love…consists in choosing…”
Love is not a natural attribute. Love involves a moral decision and choice. God does not command us to have certain natural attributes, He commands us to make moral choices.
Love does not consist in feeling. Feelings might or might not arise as a manifestation of love. Love, as a moral quality, requires choice in response to various options. Of course, not all choices produce or are a manifestation of love as sin also involves choice. Love involves very specific choice. It requires that we choose, “…the highest good of God and of universal being…,” the focus of our next entry.