What does “God is Love” mean? A Short Reflection

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.

1 John 4:16

What does “God is love” mean? Ian McFarland frames this question by reminding us that Scripture does, in fact, say God is other things—spirit, light, etc. He raises another concern by noting that humans “are before they love.” Is God’s love similar? If not, what is distinct about God’s love?

Like an ancient commentator, McFarland responds by observing a small thing in the Gospel of John’s epic opening hymn about the Word who was with God. Like a ghost note that catches the hearer’s ear, that word “with” captures McFarland’s eye. “Significantly,” he observes, 

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The Life of the Creator

A Review of The Word Made Flesh by Ian McFarland (WJK, 2019): Part 2

In this meditation on the life of God and the problem of theology, McFarland begins with the challenge of knowing God: God’s transcendence implies God’s inaccessibility. “God cannot be said to exist or to be known in the way that other entities exist and are known—as some thing that can be distinguished from other things.” So, is it possible for God to be known or is God-talk “just a projection of human wishes and prejudices into the void that we face when we confront the limits of experience”?

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Chalcedonianism without reserve

A Review of The Word Made Flesh by Ian McFarland (WJK, 2019): Part 1

This book is one of the most engaging theology books I’ve read in years. And I mean engaging in a very broad sense. The book is theologically stimulating. It is clearly written. It is creative and even humorous. All the while, McFarland keeps a careful eye on his purpose, drawing the reader into a conversation with church tradition, exegesis, and scientific literature, in order to dogmatically honor, while seeking to understand, Christ as the Word made flesh. 

Ian McFarland is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Theology at Emory’s Candler School of Theology. The Word Made Flesh follows his recent volume on creation, From Nothing.

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