How to love — that’s what we’re talking about these mornings together. How do you love? The answer of course we’ve given is the time honored one, “You love your neighbor as yourself.” But as we examine that, we find that loving your neighbor as yourself is something deeper than what is the contemporary dilution of that command.
The contemporary dilution of course of today is that it means you can’t love your neighbor unless you love yourself first. So you’d better love yourself and take care of yourself. Then when you’ve done that — when you’ve given yourself sufficient esteem and self-worth — then you can love your neighbor.
The Twisting of what Love is
Of course, what we’ve all found is that after everybody has taken up the necessary time to love themselves, they have no time to love their neighbors. In fact that’s not what the command has ever meant down through the centuries. “Love your neighbor as yourself” has always meant you love your neighbor the way you used to love yourself. You love your neighbor instead of yourself.
The real meaning of loving others
It’s been often interpreted in the well-known saying that was passed on to us when we were children, “God first, others next, yourself last.” Even those of us who never believed in God knew that interpretation of the command to love your neighbor as yourself. We knew it meant you love God the first and then you love your neighbors next and then you love yourself last.
But we always sense that loving your neighbor as yourself meant loving your neighbor instead of yourself, putting your neighbor in place of yourself. The attention, the care, the interest the concern that you would show to yourself, you would instead show that to your neighbor. In fact, you give your neighbor the kind of attention that normally you felt you would want to give to yourself.
The “problem” with really loving others
If of course you do that, then you come up against a real philosophical problem that we began to deal with last week. Because, if you’re going to give your talents, your intellect, your ability, your shrewdness, your resources, your abilities to your neighbor or to your friends or to your wife or to your husband for their benefit — if you’re going to lay your considerable abilities at the feet of others so that they can use them for their own benefits and for their good and to bring about the best in their lives — and if you’re going to forget absolutely and completely yourself and forget the whole responsibility of taking care of yourself except for the obvious self-respect that a person ought to give to your body in keeping it clean and then dressing it — and your mind and training it, if you’re going to devote your considerable abilities to other people and forget yourself completely, then who on earth is going to take care of you? Or what is going to take care you?
Why real love is so rare
Really, in a way, if you just take a simple illustration, it comes home to your own mind as realistic. You need to think of this yourself if you have been wondering whether there is a God, or whether there is a Creator, or whether there is a Maker or not. Because the truth is, let’s imagine you getting up in the morning and you walk outside your front door. There you find a Lincoln Continental, or you find a 650 Honda parked at your door.
Immediately, you know what occurs to your mind. You don’t immediately say, “Hmmm. What explosion could have created this?” You don’t! You don’t immediately say, “Ah! This Lincoln must be here as a result of a Big Bang that has occurred.” You know fine well that the big bangs that occur in places like Ireland do not create Lincoln Continentals. They create destruction. In fact, big bangs do not create. They do the opposite. They destroy.
And so, your mind most naturally asks the question not, “What explosion created this?” — but your mind most naturally asks the question, “Oh, who left their Lincoln Continental outside my door?” You say to yourself, “Ah, there is design and order in this complex piece of machinery. It has been designed by someone and someone presumably owns it.”
Why real love is possible
That’s the question that we’ve started to deal with, you remember, this last week. Of course, the answer that we have begun to suggest is the answer you remember that Einstein suggested himself. Einstein was probably the foremost intellect of our generation. He made this statement, “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior Spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe forms my idea of God.”
Einstein is saying that the only explanation he can find for the order and design which he, as a scientist, is discovering daily in the beautiful design of the universe can only be explained by the existence of a mind at least as great as his who put that design into the universe.
That’s what we began to share last week. If the foremost intellect in our generation makes a statement like that then we seriously have to begin to suspect that he might be right: That there might be a God that has originated all the order that we see in the passing of the seasons and in the regular rising and setting of the sun each day.
Why belief in God makes sense in science
It was this belief underlying all his experiments and theories and hypotheses that prompted Einstein to say, you remember, “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.” In other words, he was saying, when we scientists come up with theories that assume a law of cause and effect, theories that assume that there is order and design in the universe — because all our theories are built on theory and they’re built on design and order and a sense of plan — if we scientists come up with our theories based on that, then we have to accept the assumption that the order and design there has come by the design of some intellect — and by the plan and purpose of some personal will.
That’s why he says a scientist who does not believe that is in fact walking with only one leg. That kind of science is lame because it’s assuming order and yet it’s pretending that there can be no cause for that order but that that order came from time plus chance.
Einstein is saying you can’t begin theory such as the scientist produces that is built on a sense of cause and effect and of order and design. You can’t do that unless you take the further step and believe that just as it requires order and plan from human beings, to produce an automobile or a watch, so it must have required order and plan and conscious will to reproduce the order that we’re discovering daily in our natural universe.
So Einstein says, “Science without religion is lame.” Science that does not accept that there must be both personal intellect and will, behind the universe is lame. It’s pretending. It’s playing a game. It’s assuming that there was only time plus chance for centuries. Suddenly then order and design began to come and now there’s been nothing but order and design since. He’s saying that kind of science is lame. And you have to assume that there is a God.