The apostle, John, a close crony of Jesus', supposedly wrote letters. 

1 John 4 says that if you don’t love your neighbour who you see you cannot love the God you do not see.  Is the fact that you see your neighbour important?  Maybe he meant, "If you don't love your neighbour you don't love God!"?  It seems that he meant that to see the neighbour is to "see" the invisible God who makes himself visible in others. This would hark back to how the first book of the Bible says God made them male and female in his image.  Man and woman reflect God and God's pronouns are HE and HIM.  God is not said to have made them male and female in his and her image.

The John text says that whoever does not love does not know God. Some say it is saying that if you love your neighbour you know God though you may think you are atheist or don’t know of God. This is saying then knowledge of God, indeed the essential knowledge of him, is implicit. This is rubbish. It is written to people who already believe in God clearly. It warns that you can think you have the spirit of God and be wrong so it counsels that you must test spiritual claims and test the spirit in case it is not from God. That means it has to be religiously informed love not just love. The message is that if you know of God explicitly and love him then if you love him you will love your neighbour. 1 John 4:2-3 is very clear that clear affirmation of Christian "truths" about Jesus and his work is needed.

To say that love of neighbour is love of God as well even if you swear there is no God is woo.  Love would mean anything.  If you respect the word you make the word mean something. 


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