Templeton Press, 2010,
Reviewed by Rev Dr Lew Born, a member of Robina Uniting Church.
DIVINE LOVE is a significant contribution to creative dialogue among world faiths.
The foreword by Seyyed Nasr, Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University, is an adequate summary of the book, its subject and its agenda as noted in his early quote, “Ours is a world in which awareness of the universality of the doctrine of Divine Love in religious worlds other than our own, is a dire necessity.”
This reviewer shares a strongly held conviction that understanding towards mutual respect and creative dialogue, is a prerequisite to mutual goodwill among world faiths and peace among nations.
The editors were wise in assuming that the concept of Divine Love could reveal a ready commonality in the various faiths.
Among the numerous learnings for this reviewer, was the depth of insights reflected by each in the variety of words for love and their implications for devotees.
These range from the Greek eros, agape (a fascinating fusion of both in the Islamic text) to the Greek charitas – English grace.
All accord that in both human and Divine expressions love is not just a sentiment, but an ontological reality, as much a reality as existence itself and therefore it is impossible to experience existence without experiencing some form of love.
In all theologies human love with concomitant responsibilities in behaviour, is a derivative of Divine Love.
Divine Love as Creator, is motivated to be both lover of creation and the beloved by creation.
An African expression of faith, “If God did not love me, God would not have made me”, reflects an understanding of creation, motivated by Divine Love common to all religions.
Each chapter is a comprehensive survey by a noted scholar of their particular faith.
Don’t expect an easy read, but for those prepared to make the effort it is its own reward.