Fall 2005:

Love and the Organism: A Theological Contribution to the Study of Life

José Granados

“The final destiny of all the creation is the resurrected body.”

Does love make the world go around? This popular saying reminds us of the last verse of Dante’s Divine Comedy: “L’amor che muove il sole e le altre stelle,” “The Love that moves the sun and the other stars.” Dante’s verse refers to God as Love, a Love that is the motor of all things. Does the verse apply to spiritual being only, or is it able to embrace all of reality, including the material world, as well?

This second possibility strikes our modern minds as odd. We would tend to think of it only as a metaphor, an example of poetic license, an illicit imposition of human attributes onto the inanimate realm of things. What, then, are the reasons behind this hesitation?
An initial important reason lies undoubtedly in the dualism that is a hallmark of the Western tradition since Descartes. The French philosopher brought about a clear distinction between two worlds: the personal and the cosmological. In the terms of this dualism, concepts that apply to persons (for example, reason or freedom) cannot have any relation to the material or biological realm, and vice versa.1

 

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1. Cf. Hans Urs von Balthasar, Glaubhaft ist nur Liebe (Einsiedeln, 1963), 15; for an English translation, see Love Alone Is Credible, trans. D. C. Schindler (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004), 25–26.