Theologian Katherine Sonderegger (Systematic Theology, Volume 1, The Doctrine of God) inspired me to think about what difference it might make to imagine God as love as opposed to imagining that God is loving. The difference it makes is quite astounding.
If one imagines that God is “loving” God’s nature automatically gets personified. We imagine all that “being loving” means and then we start applying or assigning all of those human attributes to God’s agency or purpose and then, quite naturally, the inevitable questions arise… “If God is loving then tell me about this or that circumstance in the world or in my life where God seems absent or disinterested at best; anything but loving.” In the process we turn God into a person. But love is not a person, and neither is God.
So what happens when we imagine that God is love rather than loving? One simple answer is many of the timeless questions that plague the faithful quickly fall away. If God is love rather than loving. then where love is, God is. Where love isn’t, neither is God. We can apply this thinking to other words commonly associated with the divine nature, like righteousness. When, or if, we do that, instead of thinking that God is righteous we can imagine God as righteousness. Where true righteousness is, God is, and where it isn’t, God isn’t either.
True Love or righteousness is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. They are qualities or realities that, with God, stand outside the categories of time or space; unlimited in capacity, infinite. Thanks be to God.