For the past decade or so, I’ve been thinking about the love, science, and theology interface. The questions about how these three relate are complex. These questions require complex but understandable answers.
At the very heart of theological and scientific love research are two largely unanswered questions. The first – and more typically scientific question – has to do with measuring…
To some, the idea of measuring love is sheer foolishness. Love escapes any measuring mechanisms, in their opinion. Pressing them to identify how they know which action is loving and which is not, however, reveals quickly that they do adopt some measurement methods. The measurements they adopt are tacit or largely unconscious.
Part of the scientist’s task is to make explicit and conceptually coherent love assumptions that may currently remain implicit and incoherent. In future blog essays, I answer this first question by offering my definition of love. In addition, I will offer general measuring domains scientists might use to pursue research on creaturely love.
My definition of love involves three domains as essential to love:
The second question is theological in nature…
If God’s love makes a difference in the world, can we measure it?
In coming blogs, I propose a method for measuring the effectiveness of God’s love. I build on my theory of Essential Kenosis for this task.
Essential Kenosis says God acts as a loving causal agent in every agent and/or event. But God never entirely determines anything. To put it another way, God never totally controls others.
God’s love varies, however. God’s persuasive influence oscillates as creatures respond appropriately or inappropriately. And God expresses diverse forms of love.
I will argue that scientific researchers (and the rest of us) can justifiably make inferences with regard to the degree of divine love’s effectiveness. We infer God’s effectiveness by observing creaturely action.
While we presuppose for various reasons the fact THAT God loves everyone all the time, we can measure how effective God’s love is by looking at creaturely responses.
I’m thinking of developing these blogs into a scholarly book. So I welcome your evaluation of these essays!