love

Linked Glossary of Terms
(references to De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, unless indicated. See concordance for correlation with pages in the New Critique. The concordance is in pdf format.)

Agapè NC II, 153 (central religious sense of the Agapè).
love NC I, 11
NC II, 147 (central commandment of Love),149, 155, 156 (not to be called a norm), 552Twilight, 123

Dooyeweerd says that love is the central command of the law. The modal ethical law sphere is a temporal refraction of this central command:

Then the standard of the moral good can only be a modal temporal refraction of the central commandment of Love as the religious meaning-totality of the whole temporal coherence of modal law-spheres (NC II, 146-47).

Central love is love in its ‘religious fullness.’ It is different from love in its temporal modal meaning (NC II, 152). This radical love can be found only in the imago Dei (NC III, 71). God’s law is refracted by cosmic time into the rich diversity of cosmic law spheres. But love finds its religious root-unity in the central love-commandment that is directed to our heart. ( Dooyeweerd’s Introduction The Idea of a Christian Philosophy: Essays in Honour of D. H. Th. Vollenhoven, Toronto: Wedge, 1973, p. 9; also NC I, 11; II, 552).

Love is central law before it is differentiated into the various law-spheres. The meaning of the differentiated law-spheres coincides in a radical unity in the supratemporal.

Just as in the human ego [selfhood] all the aspects of our temporal experience and existence find their central reference point, so the commandment of love is the central unity of all God’s different ordinances for the temporal world.(Twilight 123)

Dooyeweerd says:

This commandment requires us to love God and our neighbour with our whole heart. It is the very nature of love in this central religious sense that it implies complete self-surrender. We cannot really love in this fulness of meaning of the word so long as we experience its requirement as a law which urges itself upon us externally, contrary to the inner inclination of our heart. This love must penetrate our inner selves, it must inflame the centre of our existence and permeate it so that it has become one with us, and reflects in our heart the Divine Love as the answer of the human I to the call of its Origin, the Divine thou.
This is the real meaning of the imago Dei. It explains why the human ego can be nothing in itself as an autonomous being. It explains why the fall into sin has radically obscured this imago Dei, so that it is only revealed in its original sense in the infinite love of Jesus Christ in His complete self-surrender to His heavenly Father and to lost mankind. Only from Him can this love flow into the human heart. (NC II, 149).

He says that this love has nothing to do with Kant’s “categorical imperative” which means nothing other than respect for the “Idea of Mankind” in the sense of the Humanist personality-idea.

Love must be experience within us, and not externally. It must penetrate our “inner selves.” Our inner self is our Center, our supratemporal heart. Veritable religion is absolute self-surrender (NC I, 58). Love is self-surrender (NC II, 149).

Although love is the central commandment, and is the very totality of meaning, Dooyeweerd also says that love is also the kernel of the modal ethical aspect (NC II, 144).

Our love for others is based on the love of the image of God expressed in others:

In its religious fulness of meaning the love of our neighbour is nothing but the love of God in His image, expressed in ourselves as well as in our fellow-men. This is why Christ said that the second commandment is equal to the first. One can also say that it is implied in it. (NC II, 155).

What does Dooyeweerd mean by saying that the second commandment is implied in the first? I think he means that in loving our neighbour, we are also loving our real and true selfhood, the image of God. See tat tvam asi.

Baader’s Idea of Love

For Baader, Christianity is the foundation of all love (Fermenta V, 311). Baader cites St. Therese: love is the general law of every manifestation of a superior in or by an inferior (Philosophische Schriften II, 396).

Baader frequently uses the phrase “amor descendit ut elevet “or “Love descends in order to raise up” (Zeit p. 30). Christ’s kenosis is a demonstration of this love. In the kenosis, the Center, the inner One, descends to the level of Organism or periphery without ceasing to be the Center or Principle. There are three levels: God is the principle of revelation, man is organ; nature is instrument (Werke 4, 81; VII, 90 ff). All three of these ideas are also found in Dooyeweerd.

Love descends from God to humans, it extends from ourselves to fellow humans [horizontally], and it descends from man to nature (Susini II, 560, citing Fermenta V). The downward aspect of love from humans to nature is expressed in our theoretical thought.

Baader devotes a great deal of attention to how love is expressed between humans. Betanzos gives an excellent summary of this horizontal aspect of love. Love is expressed by our ‘cohabitation’ with others; such cohabitation is ‘mutual subordination’ (Werke II, 227). Like Dooyeweerd, Baader emphasizes that mutual subordination is a very different basis for ethics than that given by Kant. Kant defines love as inclination to that which gives an advantage. Baader says that Kant’s reasoning about love is like a blind person speaking of colour (Susini II, 525).

The redemption or reintegration of creation is within time itself. The Mediator is in this world. Love becomes temporal with her erring children (Zeit 29). And from the moment that we enter into time, this Mediator’s presence can be seen, like the Thread of Ariadne. You just have to open your eyes (Weltalter 33).

Love is a giving of one’s self to the other:

As a person, I cannot, of course, immediately possess or enjoy another person as such, for that would be to degrade him to the level of an impersonal chattel or thing. Thus, materia is from mater, and in this sense, every self-giving to a lover is a self-offering to the lover. Without insight into this constant mutual interpenetration and withdrawal of personal self into impersonal nature (of course in a different sense than that used by the Naturphilosophen), without insight into this self-realizing and self-emptying process, one does not understand a thing about either [person or nature] (Werke IV, 194; translated by Betanzos 272)

Love is a reciprocal embrace–of me in your embrace, and you in mine (Begründung, 83 ft. 14). But what I give up in my union with others is only my incompleteness and the lack of truth in my existence alone (Vorlesungen über speculative Dogmatik, Book 5, number 17, Werke IX, 261; cited by Betanzos 273).

Just as God is able to be immanent in temporal reality, so we are to penetrate cosmic time. This penetration does not involve a mixture of identities–Baader refers to Böhme’s saying that Spirit can penetrate nature just as light penetrates fire (Fermenta IV, 14). There are different ways of penetrating the animal, plant and mineral realms (Fermenta I, 13; note m). All understanding or knowledge is a penetration [durchdringung] of a perception (Werke 12, 84).

Love is related to knowledge. Baader quotes St. Martin:

Certain people do not know anything because they do not love anything. Not to love is the greatest proof of ignorance. (St. Martin) (Philosophische Schriften II, 79).

Man wants in love to have the same essential unity with diversity of persons as God. “That they may be one as you and I (Father) are one.” (Philosophische Schriften II, 80).

Admiration comes from love; astonishment is not true knowledge; represents not love but fear. (Werke I, 54 s.19; Susini 60) this is perhabitation without inhabitation (external knowledge) astonishment is servility. Admiration is adoration (Fermenta VIII, 23 note).Where there is love, no law is given (Weltalter 251).

Our understanding is an act of creativity and this is also an act of love. In our creativity, we produce finite beings in their completed state. This producing love requires a denial of self; but there is an answer back to this love by the reaffirmation of the producing being (Zeit 34 ft. 14). Fulfillment of the existence of a created thing can only be done through the reciprocal sacrifice of Creator and the created. But Baader says that this power of creation can also be misused; this misuse of power is the original sin. The power of maintaining is also that of conceiving and the returned power [zurückstrahlende Kraft].

In creation, we transform nature and so reveal ourselves. Baader says that each self-revelation of Spirit only occurs through a transformation of nature (Werke 4, 367 Sauer 37).

Boehme’s Idea of Love

Baader was very much influenced by the mystic Jakob Boehme. Baader is in fact responsible for making Boehme known to many philosophers, such as Schelling. It is therefore of great interest to examine boehme’s view of love. Here is an excerpt from The Supersensuous Life:

He gets the very Hearts and Souls of all those that
belong to our Lord Jesus to be his Brethren, and the Members of
his own very Life. For all the Children of God are but One in
Christ, which one is Christ in All: and therefore He gets them
all to be his Fellow Members in the Body of Christ, whence they
have all the same Love of God, as the Branches of a Tree in one
and the same Root, and spring all from one and the same Source
of Life in them.

Love being
the highest Principle, is the Virtue of all Virtues; from whence
they flow forth. Love being the greatest Majesty, is the Power
of all Powers, from whence they severally operate: And it is the
Holy Magical Root, or Ghostly Power from whence all the Wonders
of God have been wrought by the Hands of His elect Servants, in
all their Generations successively. Whosoever finds it, finds
Nothing and All Things.
If it but once kindle a Fire within thee, my Son, thou
shalt then certainly feel how it consumeth all that which it
toucheth; thou shalt feel it in the burning up thyself, and
swiftly devouring all Egoity, or that which thou callest I and
Me, as standing in a separate Root, and divided from the Deity,
and Fountain of thy Being. (Jakob Boehme: The Supersensuous Life: tr. William Law http://www.ccel.org/b/boehme/way/supersensual_life.txt)

Note the references to “root,” egoity,” “principle.”

Revised Aug 21/06;Dec 23/16