Anders Theodor Samuel Nygren (1890 – 1978) was a Swedish Lutheran theologian.
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Agape and Eros (1930)
- Den kristna kärlekstanken (1930) as translated from the Swedish by P. S. Watson (1932)
- God does not love that which is already in itself worthy of love, but on the contrary, that which in itself has no worth acquires worth just by becoming the object of God's love. Agape has nothing to do with the kind of love that depends on the recognition of a valuable quality in its object. Agape does not recognize value, but creates it. Agape loves, and imparts value by loving. The man who is loved by God has no value in himself; what gives him value is precisely the fact that God loves him. Agape is a value-creating principle.
- p. 78
- God's Agape is a love that makes a mockery of all attempts at rational motivation. But if the rationalising tendency will not allow even God's love to retain spontaneity, but insists on finding a motive for it in the value of its object, then it is only to be expected that it should insist even more strongly on treating the Christian's love for his neighbour in a similar way. For Jesus, on the other hand, it is beyond question that God's love is unmotivated and spontaneous; and therefore it also also beyond question for Him that a man's love for his neighbour should be spontaneous and unmotivated. There is no occasion to look behind our neighbor's actual condition for any hidden valuable quality that will explain and justify our love for him. God's love is explanation and sanction enough.
- p. 99