Love & War
‘All’s fair in love and war.’ I respectfully disagree with this adage! I do understand the need for deception in war. Propaganda or ‘fake news’, as it’s being styled nowadays, has its place. For who wants an enemy knowing what you’re really up to? But what about ‘rules of engagement’? These are needed if atrocities are to be avoided, and also the propaganda war to be won. Therefore, all’s not fair in war. But what about in love?
What is love? We know what war is. War is enmity. But where does enmity come from? The Bible has an answer for everything! ‘Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?’ James 4:1. Wars, according to the Bible, come from desires that battle within each of us! But what about love? Where does love come from? ‘God is love’ 1 John 4:8b. God is the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. Therefore, love begins with the Triune God. From all eternity to all eternity the Father loves the Son and the Spirit, the Son loves the Father and the Spirit, and the Spirit loves the Father and the Son. Each Person in the Godhead loves the Other Members of the Godhead. Thus, God loves God and He loves His Neighbour (i.e., the Other Persons in the Godhead) as Himself.
The Triune God created humans in His own image. ‘He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created’ Genesis 5:2. Do you have ‘desires for pleasure that war in your members’? Yes? Do you wrestle with cravings? E.g. for sex, certain foods and drinks, and other things that bring you pleasure? Well, that’s not the way God created you! There are no lusts, cravings, i.e., covetousness in the Godhead. God keeps His 10th Commandment!
Like the Members of the Godhead, all ten of the Commandments interconnect and interpenetrate the others. This is because the Decalogue is an expression of the character of God in whose image we were made. The Decalogue is summed up thus: Love God and your neighbour as yourself (Mark 12:30-31 with Deut. 6:4-5 & Lev. 19:18). We don’t do this. According to the Bible, this is where wars come from!
Obviously God didn’t create us like this. Where, then, did it all go wrong for us? It happened in the Garden when Adam sinned against God, i.e., when he broke God’s 10 Commandments that He had written on his heart (e.g. Rom. 2:14-15) by eating the fruit God had forbidden him to eat. See if you can spot the beginning of wars in the following verses spoken between God and Adam right after he’d eaten the forbidden fruit: ‘And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate”’ Genesis 3:11-12. War within? ‘Who told you that you were naked?’ War with God and with neighbour? ‘The woman whom YOU gave to be with me, SHE gave me of the tree, and I ate.’ Don’t forget the Serpent’s primary role, i.e., Satan, the father of lies, the false propaganda-ist, the ‘fake news’ reporter (John 8:44; 1 John 3:12): ‘Has God indeed said, “You shall not eat of every tree of the garden”?’ Genesis 3:1b.
The Gospel is about reconciliation – first with God, then with neighbour and with self! The Spirit working with the Word in your heart changes war into love – love for God, neighbour and self as God’s image.