I am excited about our discussions on excerpts from Soren Kierkegaard’s The Works of Love found in Provocations. For this week, please read chapter 25 God’s Triumphant Love and chapter 26 Neighbor Love. In connection with these chapters, please also read John 1:1-17, John 3:16-20, Philippians 2:1-11, and Luke 10:25-37.
God’s Triumphant Love addresses the question of why God became Man. For Kierkegaard the answer lies in God’s love for us and our love for God. To bring forth his point, Kierkegaard invents the fairy tale of the King and the Maiden. (The unabridged version of the tale is HERE.) The story is about a great and mighty King who falls in love with a lowly common maiden and wishes that she reciprocate his love. The problem is that his being the king frustrates his wish. If he comes to her as the King, he will never know whether or not she “loves” him only because of his power and wealth. Conversely, even if she does love him, would she be truly happy? For he would always be the king and she would always be a commoner, and to her, he would always be the one who pulled her out of poverty. Her love would be for what he did not who he is. The love would still be conditional. For Kierkegaard, those who are unequal can never share true love. “For love is exultant when it unites equals, but it is triumphant when it makes that which was unequal equal in love.” In the story, the king, therefore, clothes himself as a beggar and approaches her cottage incognito having previously renounced the throne to win her hand.
And so it is with God. God can pull us out of sin and free us from our enslavement of which we can be eternally grateful and bow down in worship. But, in doing so, do we truly love God or do we love God only for what he did? God desires our equality with him (for we are created in his image). Therefore, like the King, God forsakes his position (Phil 2:6) and he endures all things (1 Cor. 13:7) to become as us. God becomes human not only to show his love for us but so we may fully reciprocate that love towards him.
Dinner is at 6. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant,[a] being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.Philippians 2:4-8