there is an age-old argument on love. and whether we can actually love those we do not know. and i want to throw my hat into this discussion and share my thoughts on it.
well i think we have start simply and define what we mean by love. most would define love alongside emotion or emotion and self-sacrifice. others might separate them completely and define them as stand alone experiences. and then others equate love with acts of compassion. if we use the general idea behind the overarching narrative of scripture for the sake of this conversation, than can we use ‘agape’?– in the greek when roughly transliterated, love comes to this idea of unintentional self-sacrificial giving of ourselves. a dying to our own egos and agendas.
so can we love others beyond compassionate acts? do we have to know them? my thought on this is the act of love is knowing them. the act of giving a meal to a homeless guy/gal down the street is knowing them. we tend to use the word know to mean that we our aware of someone’s past and present and have some ‘secret’ knowledge that others might not. but i would suggest that that is a definition of knowledge acquisition. what i mean to say is that i can get knowledge from someone by asking them questions. but to know someone from the depths of who they are, i think we can get to that by sharing something as simple as meal with them. or rebuilding someone’s house or life with them — alongside them. this is more than a simple act of compassion. this is knowing them.
now when the Torah uses the word know in relationship to the myth story of Adam and Eve we even get a deeper intense idea behind what it means to know someone. the word itself is intimately sexual by nature. so when it says that Adam knew Eve, it didn’t mean that they were playing a game of Scrabble. it meant they had sex. but it was intimate, not a frivolous one-night stand. and i think this is where the difference is here. knowing certain secrets about the person next to you might be easily equated to having a one-night stand. but sharing life with someone, helping them pickup the pieces, saving a bloated baby from death or disarming a countries missile to help create peace is really knowing someone. intimately.
why would we need to separate the two in distinction if the two ideas of love could easily exist together? love can be everything we said here and more. i am making the distinction that the idea of knowing someone might need to be redefined. and if it does, then knowing someone or knowing things about them isn’t the same as the act of ‘knowing’ them. if we comfortable deduce love down to trivia questions that we know about the other, than that kind of love is only knowledge. but if we exalt the idea of love to action (which is a verb in its tense) than love is knowing someone rather than knowing someone is to love them. and so the world is need of those who want to love them. who need to love them.
Adam didn’t know Eve because he had sex with her. Adam knew Eve because he died to his own ego. According to the short narrative of the story, there isn’t this idea that Adam and Eve even had a first date. That they knew each other through action. Walking in the Garden with the divine was their act of love. Walking, journeying, moving toward something, these are all acts of love. We can no longer be okay with the dividing line of whether love can be acted upon whether we know someone or not, because the way we get to know them, like Adam and Eve did, was by loving them.