[Written on David Day 2023, 1/4/23]
First of all, I don’t know that it ever just says “heart” except in conjunction with “mind” and “soul” — and Jesus adds “strength” (as One who only has authority to add something to the greatest commandment), so perhaps really it’s just loving YHWH with ALL of your whole BEING or EXISTENCE. Which is interesting since the very word YHWH means existence — the eternally existent being.
To understand what YHWH really wanted when He commanded to love Him with all our being is to understand who YHWH is in the first place. For how can we love someone we don’t know or even know about?
Before there was the Hebrew language with its Hebrew word for existence by which God could give the Hebrews a name for Himself —YHWH— He was just the eternally existent one, and existence itself. The existence of everything that has been or could be, within the entire universe or without the entire universe.
But the greatest command “to love YHWH” was given by God to Earthlings upon the Earth with an Earthly perspective and an Earthly relationship to Him. So regardless of anything God is or has been through the entire universe in all of existence, who God is (as much as it is relevant to us) is almost exclusively as He pertains to the Earth and who He is in relation to the Earth, from an Earthly perspective. Thus to obey this command to love YHWH is to obey it as an Earthling would, as it pertains to the relationship between God and Earthlings. (And of the Earthlings, God revealed himself most explicitly to the Hebrews in a Hebrew way using Hebrew language (and surely somehow in accordance with Hebrew culture), so that they could truly know and love Him, in a way that was most natural for them.)
What is our knowledge and experience of God from an Earthling perspective? He is the Creator of the Earth. We don’t really know anything else about Him except what has been revealed to humans from His Divine Revelation, and that being specifically as He relates to the Earth and its creatures (which He created).
So YHWH is really a Hebrew name given to the supernatural Deity who created Earth. In His most basic characteristic as it pertains to Earthlings, He is simply the Creator of Earth — all of creation with all its creatures (which includes us).
So if the most basic characteristic of YHWH is that He is the Creator of all Earthly creation and creatures, then to love YHWH is to love the Creator of Earth.
What is it to love the Creator of Earth? Somehow loving a cosmic force we can’t see or experience in daily reality? We can really only love Him as much as we can know Him, which is only as much as we can experience Him in our Earthly reality.
So we love Him for what He is and was before any Divine Revelation was given — The Creator — the certain creative force of Earth and all the universe. We love God because we experience His creation, and to the degree that we love creation for all the ways it makes us feel pleasure, so we love the source of creation which is the source of our pleasure. We are creatures designed to feel pleasure from creation into which we were created and which we were created for. Our response to feeling pleasure is to love the thing which created our pleasure. So we love sunshine, good food, coffee, sex, funny animals, wonder-inspiring imagination, and profound philosophies. They gives us pleasure and so we call them good and we love them. Naturally we wonder where those things came from in the first place, and our love for those things extends to the creator of those things, who is surely as good as the good creation He chose to make which gives us pleasure.
We ourselves are part of that good creation (which we have called “good” because it gives us pleasure) so likewise we are good because we are pleasure-producing creations. Because it is our very bodies, hearts, and minds which are the actual things producing the hormones which give us pleasure (not the things in creation themselves). So we feel the love of our Creator for us because our bodies produce pleasure hormones, and He created us and our pleasure-producing functions, and so we love Him for it being the ultimate source of our pleasure. Our love bypasses creation to the Creator of creation who created our bodies which feel pleasure and who also created the creation which interacts with our experience to release the pleasure.
It’s hard to love the Creator for who He is in concept alone. It is when the concepts of His infinite power, knowledge, presence, and love are displayed for us experientially through His interactions with our Earthly reality that we come into awe, wonder, marvel, and love. It’s our awe of creation that extends to having awe for the Creator of creation. It’s the love we feel for creation that extends to having love for the Creator of that creation. We are in awe of the Creator’s infinite power, knowledge, presence, and love from what we see in our natural Earthly experience, and also this is magnified through Divine Revelation.
Whatever love we can have for the Creator from our natural experience alone, it is magnified by Divine Revelation which clearly communicates how the Creator interacts on a supernatural level with His Earthly creation— through providential actions, prophetic words, supernatural dreams and visions, and miracles.
Whatever nature of the Creator we can ascertain through natural experience and logic, it is through the written record of the Bible that we know more clearly the nature of the Creator through the recorded events and words attributed to Him.
We read about God’s creation of the world, how He interacts with His Earthling creatures, how He expressly says how much He loves us all and then proves it by His supernatural actions. Now we have glasses by which we can read nature to clearly see what were previously only assumptions. We knew God loved us from the pleasure He created us to experience, but now with Divine Revelation we have Him actually telling us He loves us and showing us in actual history.
So to love YHWH with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength is to love the Creator of Earth with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
What is the Creator’s desire, as it pertains to our Earthly world and us as His Earthlings He created? Obviously His greatest desire, as it pertains to us, is for us to be what He created us for. So to show love to our Creator, we be what He created us to be.
Therefore, to love YHWH with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength is simply to BE what He created us to be with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
God is not some kind of mythological deity sitting on some magical golden throne somewhere up there in space or another dimension. He existed long before any creatures or cultures or languages or religions or rituals. And so His desire for us loving Him isn’t us following some cosmic rule book or magic rituals or religion to please Him. Before He gave Moses the Law, and before He gave him the Hebrew name YHWH, He was what He always had been for Earth’s existence: the Creator of Earth. So the truest way to love the Creator of Earth is to be in alignment with what He created you to be, which is also to be in alignment with all His creation.
This is Shalom. ALL of creation with all its creatures interacting in harmony. Human beings being what they were each individually created to be by their Creator with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength. Loving all creation around them (which they were designed to do) with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength — which is inadvertently loving the Creator who made and loves that creation. And then also our love for creation extending to the source of creation, which is its Creator, to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
There’s no way around it. Loving YHWH with ALL your heart, mind, soul, and strength is an interdependent love fully involving the love of Creator, creature, and creation with all being (heart, mind, soul, and strength).