Different types of Love….Recent events in our world have left me pondering the age old question of love and what it means. No where in these recent horrors can I see any cultures version of love. When researching any topic I always look to history first. For example….
The Christian Bible speaks of two types of love: phileo and agape. Both are Greek terms and appear at different points throughout Scripture. The Greek language also had terms for two other types of love, eros and storge, which do not expressly appear in the Bible.
To better understand phileo love, we need to take a brief look at the other types of love. Storge is an affectionate love, the type of love one might have for family or a spouse. It is a naturally occurring, unforced type of love. Some examples of storge love can be found in the stories of Noah, Jacob, and even myth and legend of all cultures.
As its name indicates, eros is passionate or sexual love (eros is the source of the English word erotic). While eros is important within a marriage relationship and is historically said to be created by God (see Song of Solomon), it can also be abused or mistaken for storge love. The historically it is clear that sexual passions (out-of-control eros) is often most harmful. i.e. Romeo and Juliet. Or crazy, creepy stalker obsession.
Agape speaks of the most powerful, noblest and hardest to achieve type of love: sacrificial love. Agape love is more than a feeling—it is an act of the will. For example, history tells us that this is the love that God has for His peoples and that prompted the sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus, for our sins. Jesus was agape love personified. Christians, Buddhists, Native Cultures and other cultures are also to love one another with agape love.
Finally, we have phileo love. Philia refers to brotherly love and is most often exhibited in a close friendship. Best friends will display this generous and affectionate love for each other as each seeks to make the other happy. This love is historically, first described in scripture. … As in …love thy neighbor as thy self.
Since phileo love involves a feelings of warmth and affection toward another person, we do not have phileo love toward our enemies. However, enlightened masters all commands us to have agape love toward everyone. This includes those whose personalities clash with ours, those who hurt us and treat us badly, and even those who are hostile toward our Beliefs. This is a true stretch for me personally!
In time, as we follow the enlightened path of the example of agape love for our enemies, we may even begin to experience phileo love for some of them as we start to see them through the eyes of a true light-worker. I personally have miles to go before I sleep.
Many thanks to gotquestions.org for some historical content.