How would you define a divine relationship

The secret of “agape” and the ability to love divinely.

What is the secret of love Is there even one? I mean YES, there is one and I want to tell you today! Admittedly, they are very philosophical, deep thoughts, but once it clicks, it can change everything. Mahatma Gandhi once said:

Love is the strongest power in the world, and yet it is the most humble force imaginable.

Love is not love

Many clever people have grappled with love. One of my favorite authors is the philosopher Erich Fromm. In one of his works [1] he first divides love into different types of love:

  • maternal love: I am loved because I am.
  • fatherly love: I am loved because I am doing the right thing.
  • infantile love: I love because I am loved.
  • mature love: I am loved because I love.

As a dad I had to swallow a little while reading this definition, but I still think that there is something here and that it really makes sense to take a more differentiated look at love. We Germans tragically only have one word for “love”. We speak of ‘Mother LOVE’, Making LOVE ’, Really LOVE’, but also say that we ‘LOVE’ our car, etc.

How the ancient Greeks differentiated love linguistically

The ancient Greeks knew several words for love, e.g.

  • philia - the friendly, interpersonal love
  • Eros - the erotic, physical love

and just a third love:

Agape is now - and with this we are getting closer to the mystery - not an earthly, but a divine, spiritual, supernatural love. In theology one also speaks of verbum arcanum, a closed, firm, holy promise - the Agape: God's love.

Supernatural love in marriage and partnership

And now we actually have a big problem, because almost every passage in the New Testament that deals with the love relationship between people speaks of agape. Also all classic marriage verses from the Bible do NOT speak of anything philia or Eros, but always from agape!

Here is a classic among the wedding verses and at the same time a perfect definition of agape:

If I could speak in the languages ​​of the world or with the tongues of angels, but had no love, my talking would be just senseless noise like a booming gong or a ringing bell. If I had the gift of prophecy and knew all the secrets and had every knowledge and if I had a faith that could move mountains but had no love, then I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body to be honored but not have love, everything would be worthless. Love is patient and kind. She's not jealous or arrogant, proud or offensive. Love is not selfish. She doesn't let herself be irritated, and if you do her evil, she won't hold it up. She never rejoices in injustice, she always rejoices in the truth. Love endures everything, never loses faith, always keeps hope and remains, no matter what happens. Love will never cease even if prophecy, speaking in unknown languages, and knowledge pass. Now we see little, and our prophetic speech reveals little either! But when the perfect appears in the end, the little will cease. When I was a child, I talked and thought and judged like a child. But when I grew up, I put the childish thing off. Now we see things still imperfectly, like in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with complete clarity. Everything I know now is incomplete; but then I will recognize everything as God already knows me. Faith, hope and love, these three remain. But the greatest is love. (NL; 1 Corinthians 13)

What is described here is one of the purest forms of love that exists - agape.

The impossible is possible

And should we humans love our partner with this love? Is that possible? Hand on heart: are we always friendly, only hope for the best, think first of the other, then of us? Aren't we irritable, always patient and kind?

Let me put it this way: as humans, we quickly reach our limits - even with the best of intentions and intentions. The secret of agape is that it is something superhuman, something that we re-create every day receive have to.

Divine spark love

I'll come back to Erich Fromm again. He says that love (agape) is the only thing with which man creative Can create something (practically from nothing), and the only one, really active activitythat man is capable of. A runner is considered to be a very active person, but in truth it is not something active to run, but something passive! You run, for example, because you want to lose weight, want to do something for your health, are afraid of illness, want to look good, etc. If you take a closer look, then the runner is a driven one who runs because something is chasing him or he is something chasing after - he is passive.

Love is not driven, it is selfless, without any condition - it is the only active thing we can decide to do, and the only creative thing that can build something new out of NOTHING in the here and now - it is the strongest force in Universe, there is a divine spark that still glows in all of us, and that we all - we have it in our hands - can turn into a mighty flame again.

Dear friends, because God loved us so much, we should love one another too. (NL; 1Joh 4.11)

Make up your mind to receive anew every day and then to do and love the superhuman - you will be surprised that it actually works and works.


[1] “The Art of Loving”; Erich Fromm 1956; [2] Latin: caritas