The Conditions in “Unconditional Love”

By Timothy S Morton

Does God’s Love Have Conditions?

Unconditional Egomania

The term “unconditional love” has become one of the catchwords of recent years. It is used by nearly every segment of society to describe the kind of love they desire from others and “aspire” to give in return. The Christian world is caught up in this frenzy as well, including Fundamentalists. What is unconditional love? Is there such a concept in the Scriptures? Can man give such a love? Does God bestow such a love upon anyone? We will examine these questions in the following.

The use of “unconditional” as a description of “love, ” according to one source, cannot be found in use before the “hippy” movement of the 1960s. As often as the words are used together today one would think the concept is of ancient origin, but that is not the case. It is a product of the 60s along with LSD, “free love, ” and the “new age.” “Unconditional” simply means “without condition or reservation.” That is one is to “give love” without any physical, emotional, and especially moral judgments. “Love me for who I am” is a common request. Another way of saying this is, “It doesn’t matter what I do, say, or believe, as a human being, I deserve unconditional love.”

This unconditional love philosophy is really just and extension of the modern concept of self love. The basis of the self love craze is the mistaken notion that a person has intrinsic worth. That is, just because a person exists he is owed unconditional love by both God and man regardless of his actions, and he above all things must unconditionally love himself. This has to be one of the most diabolical schemes ever hatched out of the mind of Satan. Self-love, self-worth, and self-esteem are just forms of self-gratification. They make the person “feel good.”

This self love philosophy is openly promoted in the secular world. Here is an example of the “teaching” found at www.coping.org,

To accept and love yourself unconditionally is to:
  • Place no condition on yourself as to how to behave or what to be in order to receive self acceptance and self love.
  • Not use “if – then” clauses in establishing conditions for accepting and loving yourself.
  • Take a risk to be open and vulnerable to who you are with no preset limits or expectations.
  • Accept and love yourself for the fact that you exist rather than for what you do.
  • Give yourself the respect and latitude to be yourself rather than to be what others want or expect you to be.
  • Set the stage for yourself to feel warmth, caring, and concern for yourself which results in your growing in self-esteem and self worth.
When you are the recipient of unconditional self acceptance and self love from yourself, you feel:
  • Free to be yourself.
  • You have value and worth.
  • Wanted and desired for you as you are rather than for what you do.
  • Listened to and understood.
  • That you have yourself to offer others which in itself is worthwhile.
  • Warm, cared for, and nurtured.
  • You are OK just the way you are.
  • That there is no need to wear a mask or to act in any way just to please another.
  • Free to be yourself and to open up your feelings with no fear of rejection or non-approval.
  • That it is possible to take the risk to be vulnerable in order to have open and honest relationships with others.
  • No fear of retribution or reprisal from others if you should make a mistake or experience a failure.
  • That there are no conditions set on your relationships with yourself.

Blah, blah, blah. Needless to say, anyone who continues to adhere to these beliefs cannot be saved. You must see yourself a sinner [Rom. 5:8], lost in sin [Luke 19:10], and without hope apart from Christ to be saved [Eph. 2:12]. You must see you have a desperate need. These deceived self-reliant kooks who are in love with themselves have no hope. How is their self-love and “coping skills” going to help them at the Great White Throne judgment?

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TRANSLATING NEW ENGLAND IDIOMS AND THE HEBREW BIBLE

By Dave Reese

What does a Rhode Island idiom have to do with the Bible? Actually, a lot. The question “Would you like a cabinet?” does not refer to a wooden box with doors; it is a milkshake. Since it is made by a blender that is normally stored in a cabinet–the ice cream and milk blend is called a “cabinet.”

The language phenomenon is a metalepsis or a metonomy and it is a natural result of all language development and richness; the English language excels in the formation of the figures. In many cases, like this in the Northeastern US, a variety of idioms are developed in one region that do not exist in another region although both regions speak the same language.

Another metalepsis example is the British English “He drank his house”. It means he sold his house, plus he drank the drink he bought with the house income. We put house, money, then drinking the liquid to represent the whole process!

Look at Ecclesiastes 12:5.

“Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:” (Ecclesiastes 12:5 KJV)

Notice the phrase. “and desire shall fail:” Literally, the Hebrew text is “the caper-berry shall fail.”

The Revised Version of 1881 reads: “and the caper-berry shall fail”

The New American Standard Bible (1965) reads: “and the caperberry is ineffective.”

It is easy to see above that both the RSV and the NASV translated the Hebrew, literally. The translation conveys no meaning and is simpleton activity. Just as the Texas visitor to Rhode Island would sit and blink when asked if he would like “a cabinet”, the Bible reader wonders what in the world does “caper-berry shall fail” mean. Correct translation is not word for word in such cases because there are language idioms which carry meanings deeper than the surface phrase. The sense of the language must be translated or else there is nonsense. Accurate translation demands that, as much as possible, the target translation must convey the same understanding to its reader that it conveyed to the reader of the source language. This requires accurate knowledge of both the source language (in this case Hebrew) and target language (English) including the idioms and all figures of speech.

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