As I have already written: Dictionaries, IMO, are not infallible and fixed documents written in stone. Even they recognize that languages need to be free to grow and that new ideas/concepts need new words.

"spirit" "good" "evil" "love" are all complex terms.

Generally speaking, I agree with the way these comlex terms are defined in the standard dictionaries. However, because they arecomplex we need to allow individuals to be free to offer their own interpretation.

For example, chemists will use the term to refer to any of various mordant (corrosive, biting) solutions, usually prepared from tin salts (tannic acids), in dyeing. Christian Science teachers capitalize the term and write 'Spirit' as a doublet for God. I use it to refer to anything that cannot be weighed or measuered in the usual way.

It comes from the Old English, god, with a long o. Generally speaking, I like what the dictionary tells us it means--that which has the right and excellent qualities for most people. But I realize that relative values apply. What is good for one is not alway good for another. This is one of the reasons I have difficulty believing in a personal god who is anxious to communicate with His creatures.

Another complex and relative term. I think of evil as being like chaos, it is good in the making. Pain and suffering can be redemptive. And redemption can begin when we understand the nature and function of love.

Love is another and extremely complex term. It can be a noun or a verb. It can mean anything, from a strong affection for a person of the opposite sex, a close member of the family--parent, sibling--ones true friend, ones country, a hero, a movie star, alma mater, to a doublet for God, as it is in Christian Science.

Love can include feels of warm and tender attachment, but it can also mean the ability to give good will without such conditions. This is the root meaning of the Greek term agape, the one used 140 times in the Greek New Testament.


CHAPTER 13 of First Corinthians

Christian love - the highest and best gift
The Greek here is not eros (sensual love); not philia (love for a trusted friend), it is agape--love without conditions; the kind respect and fairness one can give even to an enemy.

13:1-3 - If I speak with the eloquence of men and of angels, but have no love, I become no more than blaring brass or crashing cymbal. If I have the gift of foretelling the future and hold in my mind not only all human knowledge but the very secrets of God, and if I also have that absolute faith which can move mountains, but have no love, I amount to nothing at all. If I dispose of all that I possess, yes, even if I give my own body to be burned, but have no love, I achieve precisely nothing.

13:4 - This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience - it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.

13:5-6 - Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.

13:7-8a - Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.

All gifts except love will be superseded one day

13:8b-10 - For if there are prophecies they will be fulfilled and done with, if there are "tongues" the need for them will disappear, if there is knowledge it will be swallowed up in truth. For our knowledge is always incomplete and our prophecy is always incomplete, and when the complete comes, that is the end of the incomplete.

13:11 - When I was a little child I talked and felt and thought like a little child. Now that I am a man my childish speech and feeling and thought have no further significance for me.

13:12 - At present we are men looking at puzzling reflections in a mirror. The time will come when we shall see reality whole and face to face! At present all I know is a little fraction of the truth, but the time will come when I shall know it as fully as God now knows me!

13:13 - In this life we have three great lasting qualities - faith, hope and love. But the greatest of them is love.

Edited by Revlgking (04/12/07 02:21 AM)
G~O~D--Now & ForeverIS:Nature, Nurture & PNEUMA-ture, Thanks to Warren Farr&ME AT www.unitheist.org