But however we interpret the religious motivation, there are three objections to this type of answer. [...] Third, fear of punishment and hope of reward, and even love of God, seem not to be the right motives for morality. If you think it's wrong to kill, cheat, or steal, you should want to avoid doing such things because they are bad things to do to the victims, not just because you fear the consequences for yourself, or because you don't want to offend your Creator.

[What does it all mean, Thomas Nagel, chapter VII]

What does "love of God" mean in the context above? "Love by God" or "Love for God"? I'm so confused Many thanks

1 Answer 1


"Love" is here being used as a noun. "Love of God" acts as a compound noun, and is simply the love that a person has for God.

Because the love that we have for different people/things can vary greatly, it is common for each love to spoken of in isolation, for example, the love for one's children.

Particularly among religious people, the 'love of God' is isolated to show that it is different from other loves. It is often mentioned that, in the ancient Greek language that much of the Christian scriptures were written in, there were different words to describe some specific kinds of love - for example, romantic love, friendship, family etc, whereas in English, "love" covers love for your partner, love for your parents, love of sports, love of food and more. In Bible translation these different kinds of love are sometimes rendered as "love of God" or "love of neighbour" so that the meaning is conveyed, and this is one reason why such compound nouns exist and are idiomatic.

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