Self Love?

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panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
I have seen a couple of threads that have referenced self love in fairly negative terms. This got me thinking in terms of a logical syllogism (as I am wont to do) based around the great commandment: edited to add - I see and confess that I am not actually thinking in a formal logical syllogism, but something else entirely - read on for enlightenment

Luke 10:27
And he answered, " YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."

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p1 YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND

p2 [you shall also love] YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF

c1 If you strive to love God completely and correctly, you will love yourself in a godly manner, thus allowing you to love your neighbor in the same way.

c2 God's love is abundantly self-sacrificial and long-suffering, so also should our self love and love for our neighbors

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So - does the logic hold water?

How about the conclusions?

What other conclusions, if any, can logically follow?
 
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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
No, I don't think it holds water.

The love for self is not something that needs to be developed according to the Scriptures. It's quite natural for us to focus inward, to care for our bodies, to look out for ourselves, to literally obsess about ourselves.

I don't know how you derived c1 from p1 and p2. There is no logical connection between the premises and the conclusion. The loving of yourself is in reference to how we love our neighbors.

The reason for the Law is because we are naturally bent inward. Paul, later in Romans, talks about the fact that love does no harm to a neighbor. The reason we harm our neighbor is always selfish self-interest. The fact that we don't love God with all our heart, soul, and mind is because we're too focused upon ourselves. Too obsessed with ourselves.

The solution isn't to learn how to better look within but to more properly look outside of ourselves.

Even our view of what we're redeemed for is profoundly outward focused. I was just criticizing last night the "Jesus is my Boyfriend" view that pictures our relationship with Jesus as this weeping fellow outside the door of our hearts that is pleading with us that He won't be able to live in eternity without us. If we would just let Him in then not only we would be complete but then He would find the joy of His heart.

In contrast, our redemption is to be seen as God glorifying Himself in the redemption of a people that the Father brings to the Son, who are converted and perfected by the Holy Spirit, to be presented spotless to the Bridegroom, that He might, in turn, give back to the Father in an expression of a profound intra-Trinitarian Love. Love is explicitly God-focused and even the fact that God is Love is expressed in the sending of His Son and not in the fact that He teaches us to love ourselves.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
The love for self is not something that needs to be developed according to the Scriptures. It's quite natural for us to focus inward, to care for our bodies, to look out for ourselves, to literally obsess about ourselves.

Acknowledged - I am not referencing this type love - unless you believe that is the love referenced in the Scripture quoted?

"as you love yourself"


I don't know how you derived c1 from p1 and p2. There is no logical connection between the premises and the conclusion. The loving of yourself is in reference to how we love our neighbors.

loving yourself logically predicates loving your neighbor in the Scripture quoted


The reason for the Law is because we are naturally bent inward. Paul, later in Romans, talks about the fact that love does no harm to a neighbor. The reason we harm our neighbor is always selfish self-interest. The fact that we don't love God with all our heart, soul, and mind is because we're too focused upon ourselves. Too obsessed with ourselves.

The solution isn't to learn how to better look within but to more properly look outside of ourselves.

I'm not sure you actually read what I posted - I think your presuppositions have stained your discernment - please, go back and read the post again.

Even our view of what we're redeemed for is profoundly outward focused. I was just criticizing last night the "Jesus is my Boyfriend" view that pictures our relationship with Jesus as this weeping fellow outside the door of our hearts that is pleading with us that He won't be able to live in eternity without us. If we would just let Him in then not only we would be complete but then He would find the joy of His heart.

ok... how does OP point to this?

In contrast, our redemption is to be seen as God glorifying Himself in the redemption of a people that the Father brings to the Son, who are converted and perfected by the Holy Spirit, to be presented spotless to the Bridegroom, that He might, in turn, give back to the Father in an expression of a profound intra-Trinitarian Love. Love is explicitly God-focused and even the fact that God is Love is expressed in the sending of His Son and not in the fact that He teaches us to love ourselves.

which is what the OP expressed...
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
J.D.,

I answered your question. If you don't like the answer I gave then I have no further information I can provide. I don't believe that the basis for learning to love our neighbor is learning how to love ourselves in a Godly way. That thought is never repeated in the Scriptures.

As I've stated, c1 is faulty. There is no logical connection between the premises and the conclusion.
 

A5pointer

Puritan Board Sophomore
As Rich said, self love is assumed. Self love is sinfull as it is naturally exclusive to self. I just read an excellent article in by Horton in Modern Reformation where he alludes to this point in contrast to the self love gospel being carried by many evangelicals today. It is a very good article.
 

ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
Loving Yourself

We all love ourselves whether we try it or not. Even the suicidal person who kills himself because "nobody loves them" is actually doing so because he loves himself. That is he puts his feelings and desires above everyone else to the point that he will end his own life because he did not get his own way.

The ultimate reason we do anything is due to a love of self. That does not mean such is evil in every case, but it is a love of oneself nonetheless. We marry because we want to fulfill a selfish desire for love, companionship, pleasure, etc. Part of our motivation for having children is to please oneself. To pursue a particular vocation is to satisfy a personal desire either to perform some action or obtain some sort of reward/earnings. I believe all our actions are tainted with some sort of self fulfillment and gratification. To love my neighbor as myself makes this command all that more daunting and reveals how yet again I fall short of the glory of God.

I read the scripture for my benefit. I read and interact on this board for my edification. I eat food to satisfy my needs (I don't eat for others sake). When we see just how much we do love ourselves, obeying the perfect law of Christ is not clear cut and simple (not suggesting that anyone said it was).
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I struggled with this idea of self-love for a long time, and this is pretty much the conclusion I came to. We already love ourselves, and so that command to love our neighbors as ourselves, as I see it, is saying "love others in the way you already love yourself. Think about others first."

In contrast, our redemption is to be seen as God glorifying Himself in the redemption of a people that the Father brings to the Son, who are converted and perfected by the Holy Spirit, to be presented spotless to the Bridegroom, that He might, in turn, give back to the Father in an expression of a profound intra-Trinitarian Love. Love is explicitly God-focused and even the fact that God is Love is expressed in the sending of His Son and not in the fact that He teaches us to love ourselves

I agree with this statement.

There was another discussion on this thread about forgiving yourself, and I think that there is some connection here. When we look at ourselves, we can only see sin and the guilt we feel can drive us to despair or it can make us arrogant at how sinful we see ourselves (oh the gymnastics that our depraved hearts make). As was already said on the other thread, when we look at our sinful selves, we have to remember that though we are totally sinful, in Christ there is no condemnation. Our righteousness is found in Christ alone.

How does this connect to the self-love idea? I believe that once we have a Scriptural view of ourselves, we can begin to understand the sanctifying work that Christ is doing in us and be thankful for that. He has gifted us with spiritual gifts. Each of us is unique and, and God is doing a work in us to perfect us for His Son. I find great delight in knowing that God will one day complete my sanctification, and I will be ready to love and serve Him for eternity. There is a hope and an understanding that God will complete the work in us. In that sense, we can be thankful for what God is doing in us, and that brings great joy to our hearts. Is that love for self? No, but I think it fits in this discussion.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Folks - couple of questions to clarify the OP:

1. Is natural self-love godly?

2. Is natural self-love what Christ is truly referring to or is it self-love overwhelmingly influenced by loving God?

3. Should God's love be the model to reform our natural self-love?

4. Won't that reformed self-love help us better love our neighbor?
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
You guys are all using the word 'love' and I don't think anyone has defined it yet. Could someone define the word and then we will test it to see if it is a sin or not?

Love in it's simplest form is 'self-preservation'. Love without sentiment is 'election'. Love in Romans is putting another's needs before your own. Love in it's basic form is 'setting one's preference upon another'.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Folks - couple of questions to clarify the OP:

1. Is natural self-love godly?

2. Should God's love be the model to reform our natural self-love?

3. Won't that reformed self-love help us better love our neighbor?

In reference to your first question--If I understand you correctly, you are asking this: Is natural self-love part of our sinful nature or is natural love something that was part of man in his innocency and is now going to be renewed in our sanctification? I would like to throw out this same question, because I think it is valid.

What would we look like if we were completely sinless, i.e. if our sanctification were complete? My answer is that we would be like Jesus was. If that is the case, did He love Himself? Does God love Himself? I think so, but not in the sinful way that man loves Himself. In the sense that God is completely satisfied with Who He is, He has no longing to be something other than He is, I believe God loves Himself.
 

ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
Greek Lexicon on "Love" in Luke 10:27:

Agapao

Definition

1. of persons
1. to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly
2. of things
1. to be well pleased, to be contented at or with a thing

Used 109 times in the NT:

Matthew 7
Mark 4
Luke 9
John 27
Romans 6
1 Corinthians 2
2 Corinthians 3
Galatians 2
Ephesians 7
Colossians 2
1 Thessalonians 2
2 Thessalonians 2
2 Timothy 2
Hebrews 2
James 3
1 Peter 4
2 Peter 1
1 John 17
2 John 2
3 John 1
Revelation 4
 

A5pointer

Puritan Board Sophomore
As Rich said, self love is assumed. Self love is sinfull as it is naturally exclusive to self. I just read an excellent article in by Horton in Modern Reformation where he alludes to this point in contrast to the self love gospel being carried by many evangelicals today. It is a very good article.

You missed my definition. We know what love means, it is self love that needs defining.
 

ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
KJV Dictionary - love

LOVE

LOVE, v.t. luv. L. libeo, lubeo. See Lief. The sense is probably to be prompt, free, willing, from leaning, advancing, or drawing forward.

1. In a general sense to be pleased with; to regard with affection, on account of some qualities which excite pleasing sensations or desire of gratification. We love a friend, on account of some qualities which give us pleasure in his society. We love a man who has done us a favor; in which case, gratitude enters into the composition of our affection. We love our parents and our children, on account of their connection with us, and on account of many qualities which please us. We love to retire to a cool shade in summer. We love a warm room in winter. we love to hear an eloquent advocate. The christian loves his Bible. In short, we love whatever gives us pleasure and delight, whether animal or intellectual; and if our hearts are right, we love God above all things, as the sum of all excellence and all the attributes which can communicate happiness to intelligent beings. In other words, the christian loves God with the love of complacency in his attributes, the love of benevolence towards the interest of his kingdom, and the love of gratitude for favors received.

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind -

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Matt. 22.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Folks - couple of questions to clarify the OP:

1. Is natural self-love godly?

2. Should God's love be the model to reform our natural self-love?

3. Won't that reformed self-love help us better love our neighbor?

In reference to your first question--If I understand you correctly, you are asking this: Is natural self-love part of our sinful nature or is natural love something that was part of man in his innocency and is now going to be renewed in our sanctification? I would like to throw out this same question, because I think it is valid.

What would we look like if we were completely sinless, i.e. if our sanctification were complete? My answer is that we would be like Jesus was. If that is the case, did He love Himself? Does God love Himself? I think so, but not in the sinful way that man loves Himself. In the sense that God is completely satisfied with Who He is, He has no longing to be something other than He is, I believe God loves Himself.

Which is the point of the OP :) - as we strive more and more to love God as we are in the process of being sanctified, our "natural" fallen self-love will become more and more turned toward the type of self-love God has - which will then influence us to love others as a perfect expression of godly self-love.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
As Rich said, self love is assumed. Self love is sinfull as it is naturally exclusive to self. I just read an excellent article in by Horton in Modern Reformation where he alludes to this point in contrast to the self love gospel being carried by many evangelicals today. It is a very good article.

You missed my definition. We know what love means, it is self love that needs defining.

Which is the point of the OP. Self-love is not evil - otherwise the great commandment is flawed.

The refinement needs to center around:

Natural, Fallen, self-centered self-love vs God-centered, Christ-like self-love.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
I disagree. I define love as found in the Bible as 'setting one's preference on another.' The greatest expression of love is found in God's election. The aim of true love is to preserve the object of love.

When scripture tells us to love God as we love ourselves it means we must preserve our relationship with God, we are to preserve the holiness of his name just as we naturally (by design) and unconsciously seek to preserve ourselves. It is not sinful, it is a design element. All God's creatures have a sense of self-preservation. Man is also given the command to preserve others (put their needs above our own) and preserve and strengthen our relationship with the creator.

I think you are over reacting to modern psychology's effort to esteem man above all things. We do have an innate dignity that comes from the image of God stamped on us. We are to love that image within us.

As Rich said, self love is assumed. Self love is sinfull as it is naturally exclusive to self. I just read an excellent article in by Horton in Modern Reformation where he alludes to this point in contrast to the self love gospel being carried by many evangelicals today. It is a very good article.

You missed my definition. We know what love means, it is self love that needs defining.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Christ helps us understand self-centered, self-love vs Godly love:

Matthew 5:46-48 (New American Standard Bible)
46"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

47"If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

48"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
BobV said:
I think you are over reacting to modern psychology's effort to esteem man above all things. We do have an innate dignity that comes from the image of God stamped on us. We are to love that image within us.

:amen:

I'd thank your post, but I seem to have used my limit today! :D
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
I think this is relevant, also:

Matthew 26:39
And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will."
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
J.D.,

I answered your question. If you don't like the answer I gave then I have no further information I can provide. I don't believe that the basis for learning to love our neighbor is learning how to love ourselves in a Godly way. That thought is never repeated in the Scriptures.

As I've stated, c1 is faulty. There is no logical connection between the premises and the conclusion.

And as has been clearly demonstrated, your assertion is false. :)
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
J.D.,

I answered your question. If you don't like the answer I gave then I have no further information I can provide. I don't believe that the basis for learning to love our neighbor is learning how to love ourselves in a Godly way. That thought is never repeated in the Scriptures.

As I've stated, c1 is faulty. There is no logical connection between the premises and the conclusion.

And as has been clearly demonstrated, your assertion is false. :)

??? I don't think it has been clearly demonstrated at all. The following is not a proper syllogism:

p1 YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND

p2 [you shall also love] YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF

c1 If you strive to love God completely and correctly, you will love yourself in a godly manner, thus allowing you to love your neighbor in the same way.

c2 God's love is abundantly self-sacrificial and long-suffering, so also should our self love and love for our neighbors


Leaving aside the other parts of the discussion, this is not a syllogism. It contains two fallacies: equivocation and an undistributed statement. In other words, the two premises are not necessarily related. Because of that, there can be no conclusion.

P1 is a command to love God in a defined fashion.

P2 is a command to love your neighbor in a potentially different fashion: "as yourself".

The command in P1 is potentially different from the command in p2, so there is equivocation. There is no overlapping statement in p1 that p2 falls under so we have an undistributed statement. Because of this lack of connection, no syllogistic conclusion can be drawn. Rich is correct.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
Leeanne is right, there is not an argument here, we are just using a word (love) that has been drained of all meaning in some corners and infused with different meaning as per context.

I love language, I love ice cream, I love my wife, I love the Father, and I love these discussions, I love love.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
Your syllogisms remind me of a quote I heard just this morning:

Logic is the secular equivalent of 'speaking in tongues'. The main difference is that angels CAN understand tongues.
 

A5pointer

Puritan Board Sophomore
Leeanne is right, there is not an argument here, we are just using a word (love) that has been drained of all meaning in some corners and infused with different meaning as per context.

I love language, I love ice cream, I love my wife, I love the Father, and I love these discussions, I love love.

But do you love me Peter? Is that philo or agape? BTW Does anybody see that text as using different words as stylistic or to give different meaning? Off Topic
 

ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
Leaving aside the other parts of the discussion, this is not a syllogism. It contains two fallacies: equivocation and an undistributed statement. In other words, the two premises are not necessarily related. Because of that, there can be no conclusion.

P1 is a command to love God in a defined fashion.

P2 is a command to love your neighbor in a potentially different fashion: "as yourself".

The command in P1 is potentially different from the command in p2, so there is equivocation. There is no overlapping statement in p1 that p2 falls under so we have an undistributed statement. Because of this lack of connection, no syllogistic conclusion can be drawn. Rich is correct.

In other words, the two premises are not necessarily related. Because of that, there can be no conclusion.

Are you seriously stating that the 2 elements are not inter-related?

Matthew 22

40"On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

Is the verse saying we are to also love ourselves with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength? I think your premise assumes a lot. We are to love our neighbor in a different fashion than we are to love God. That is what I believe Vic means when he says they are not necessarily related.
 
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