What is more common than talk of love? The word is overused. So much love is false. Billy Joel sang truth in “A Matter of Trust”:
Some love is just a lie of the heart
The cold remains of what began with a passionate start
Some love is just a lie of the soul
A constant struggle for the ultimate state of control
Some love is just a lie of the mind
It’s make believe until it’s only a matter of time
With all the lies of love, with all the wounds, betrayals, cruelties, deceptions, and abandonments, we still hope for true love, love eternal, love divine.
But, without the Trinity, love is abolished.
Before creation of heaven and earth, there was only God. There were no creatures, angels or humans. Suppose there were not three persons in God. Suppose there was only one. Where was the love? It never was.
We might imagine a god who, though only one person, still loved. The love of such a god must have been self-love because that person had only himself to love. Love’s nature would be so altered that it is no longer what we desire. Love would become hellish. Bishop Kallistos Ware says “Self-love is hell; self-love signifies the end of all joy and all meaning. Hell is not other people; hell is myself, cut off from others in self-centeredness.”
In the Trinity, even before creation, there was love. There were the Father and Son. The Father loved his Son and the Son loved his Father. That was family. That was home. The Son had a home in his Father and the Father had a home in his Son. The Trinity is love’s eternal home.
Even richer, there was the Holy Spirit. The Father, the Son, and the Spirit all loved each other eternally. Before a blade of grass ever felt the dew of morning, before a tree heard a bird song – before Adam saw Eve – love already was true, divine, and eternal between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus said to his Father, “You loved me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:24
Such love was full of glories and wonders, pleasures and comforts. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit were one in the heavenliness of heaven.
What happiness to never need to wonder what the other person said behind one’s back, to never wonder what was meant by a comment, to never be unsure of the attitude behind a look of the eye, for an expression of the face to never be a riddle or mask, to trust, to believe all things, to bear all things, to hope all things, for there to be no wrongs or record of wrongs, no envy, no rivalry, no rudeness, no gossip, for every moment and every blink of consciousness to be all kindness and faith perfectly.
Once upon a time, we had that.
In creation, the Father, Son, and Spirit gave us not only heaven and earth. They gave us the desire, the capacity, the realization, and the enjoyment of love like theirs. In Adam, we once walked with God in the cool of the day in a perfect garden. God gave us both his image and himself.
In Adam and Eve, we once knew marriage as wedded bliss before, by our fall into sin, the word marriage became tarnished and the phrase wedded bliss came to signify a mirage.
We had love and faith. We gave them up for ourselves, and got our loveless, faithless selves. Earth became a lonely planet. Truly, what we lost was paradise. Seemingly, it all came to inconsolable despair.
But, in the Trinity, love is imperturbable. Our fall into sin did not stop God from being Triune. Our becoming unloving did not spoil Trinitarian love. Our being cast out of Eden did not cast out love from its eternal home in the Trinity. Through the blood of Christ, the Trinity invites us into a redeemed love like theirs, the love that is no lie.