By Engr. Carlos V. Cornejo
Love is both subjective and objective. The person who loves is the subject and the target or focus of the love is the object. The object of love determines what kind of love the person or the subject has. If the object of love is ice cream, then the love is wanting to “taste” that ice cream. If the object of love is a beautiful sunset, then it is appreciation of beauty. But when a person loves another person, it is a personal love. It is not wanting to “taste” that person, or just appreciating a physical beauty, but loving another person in an entire package: loving the character, behavior, appearance, commonality (having the same likes), etc.
Therefore, the nature of the object being loved will determine the kind of love. If the object is a non-person, then it is just a liking because it pleases the senses, such as love for music because it pleases the sense of hearing. And the love for ice cream is another liking because it pleases the sense of taste, or love for the beauty of the sunset because it pleases the sense of seeing. The intensity of the love is determined by the subject or the person loving. You love dogs more than I do. And I love cats more than you do. We have different intensities of love because of our different likings of the object. The quality or intensity of love is subjective and the nature of that love is objective.
One application of this subjective and objective nature of love is we are supposed to love persons more than things. But unfortunately, there are people who love more their possessions like their car, money, or their reputation more than persons. Another application would be not to make our love for other persons like an object that after receiving something from them, we just get rid of them like a tissue paper. And lastly because of differences in love, God does not love everything in the same intensity. God loves humans more than animals because of the object being loved. There is more goodness in humans than in animals that’s why God loves humans more. Thus, God loves more angels than humans too because there is more perfection in angels than in humans. And God loves good men more than bad men because of the difference in the goodness of the two.
God loves angels more than men because of more goodness in angels or loving in an objective manner. But God loves men more than angels in intensity in a subjective manner because God became one of us, because our need is greater. And thus, God may also love the wicked more than the good in intensity of care, as the shepherd left the ninety-nine good sheep to search for the one that got lost and as the father of the prodigal son got worried more passionately than about his loyal son. A mother loves her child more than her dog, but she may have more intense passion and compassion for a dog suffering great pain at that moment than she has for her own child’s tiny scratch. Thus, love is hierarchical based on the object and the subject.