The Agape Love Of God Transforms The World (John Vervaeke)

How agape transforms the world by John vervaeke
Three of the most riveting and mystifying word of the entire Bible are, “God is love.”

Recently, I surveyed the subreddit /r/Christianity to get their opinion on the significance of these words within a Christian worldview. The theme of God’s love is prevalent throughout the Bible, especially the New Testament, but the words “God is love,” appear once in 1 John 4:8. A few of the responses pointed to the eternal presence of love within the trinity as evidence for love as an intrinsic part of God’s nature. Touché. Others cited the life of Christ as the highest expression of God’s love for human beings.

One user pointed me to a short YouTube clip that I found simple, yet profound, by a guy named John Vervaeke. After distinguishing eros and filia expressions of love from agape, Vervaeke talks about the power of agape to elicit the highest existential potential in a human being.

Below, I’ve transcribed the short clip and included a link to the clip. Check it out!

You love it because by loving it, you turn a non-person into a person. It’s the closest thing to a miracle

John Vervaeke


What Jesus seemed to be incarnating as a kairos to change the history of the world, and to offer you to change your own personal history, is a different kind of love. This is agape. We have to distinguish becomes three kinds of life: eros, philia, and agape.

See, eros is the love that seeks to be one with something, and that can be spiritual. It can be one with nature. Or it can be being one with a cookie by eating it. Of course, we come to think of eros erotically, being one with someone by having sex with them. . . So this is the love that is satisfied through consummation.

This [next one] is philia. . . Philia. This is the love that seeks cooperation. This is the love in which we experience reciprocity. We love the cookie because we can consume it. We love our friends because we are in reciprocity with them.

What kind of love is this? *points at agape on the board*. And this is what Jesus claimed how God loved individuals. This is the love that a parent has for a child. This is not the love of consummation. Not trying to consume the child. That’s evil. And it’s not friendship. When you bring a child home from the hospital, and I’ve done this twice. That’s not your friend. That’s not even a person. It’s basically a slug.

Here’s the astonishing thing. You love it, not because of any way you can consume it or be one with it. Eww. You don’t love it because, “Hey, great friendship.” You love it because by loving it, you turn a non-person into a person. It’s the closest thing to a miracle—that sounds hackneyed, I know—but stop and think about this. You depend on agape. Because people loved you before you were a person you have become the person you are. Love turns non-persons, animals, into moral agent persons. It’s like somehow if I could just care about my sofa enough, it would turn into a Ferari or something. It’s powerful.

Here’s what Jesus was offering. That love can be exacted and be made available for all. Here is what’s on offer. Here’s why Christianity will take the Roman Empire, culturally. With agape, Christianity can say to all the non-persons of the Roman Empire. All the women, all the children, all the non-male citizens, all the sick, all the poor, all the widowed—take all of those non-persons and say, “We will turn you into persons. Persons that belong to the Kingdom of God.”

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