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For I Have Loved You From the Start Or: In the Beginning Was the Song of Songs

—from Three Philosophies of Life by Peter Kreeft (pp. 102-103)

The first and most obvious thing Song of Songs says about love it says in its very title: that love is a song. Now this is an image or symbol, of course. Love is not literal, physical song, though it naturally expresses itself in that form. What is suggested by this image?

God is love, and music is the language of love; therefore, music is the language of God. Music is a language more profound than words. How often have you heard a great piece of music and felt that? Great music does not just make you feel good; great music suggests some profound truth or mysterious meaning that is objectively true but not translatable into words. Attempts to translate music’s meaning into words always fail. It is like trying to allegorize a symbol, trying to reduce to one literal, verbal meaning something that has many nonliteral, nonverbal meanings. Love fits this pattern: (1) it is not only subjective feeling but objective truth, (2) it is both mysterious and meaningful, and (3) its meaning is never reducible to words. The wooden trap of words can never capture the lobster of love, any more than a wooden “interpretation” of the meaning of a piece of music can capture the music itself.

I think music was the language in which God created the world. Both C.S. Lewis (in The Magician’s Nephew) and J.R.R. Tolkien (in The Silmarillion) tell this story, and it goes back to a very old tradition, probably older than Pythagoras and his “music of the spheres”. We moderns usually think of music as a later ornament added onto speech, but I suspect it is the opposite: speech is a later development from music. Song is not fancified poetry and poetry fancified prose; prose is ossified poetry and poetry ossified song. The reason I think this is because (1) “In the beginning, God”, (2) “God is love”, and (3) love is not a speech. We do not ever speak of “love speeches”, only of “love songs”.

Therefore, in the beginning was the Song of Songs. This book goes even further back than Genesis, into the eternal heart of the Trinity.

Song For You by Jenny and Tyler from the album Faint Not

Song For You lyrics:

My voice you didn’t know, didn’t know
I called you had to go, had to go
Back to your little world
Where nothing is strange

You set out on your own, on your own
You said, I’m heading home, heading home
Back to the life you know
Neatly arranged

I have done for you
Everything my love
Hear my song for you
I will not hold my tongue

It’s late, your getting cold, getting cold
You try to keep warm, but you’re alone, you’re alone
The dark streets are empty now
And the wind starts to blow

I have done for you
Everything my love
Hear My song for you
I will not hold my tongue
Open your heart, open your heart
For I have loved you from the start

I will never harm you, come my love
So come
So come

I have done for you
Everything my love
Hear My song for you
I will not hold my tongue
Open your heart, open your heart
For I have loved you
Open your heart, open your heart
For I have loved you from the start

 

 

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