Over the years, many have come up with different definitions or examples of love, which have all been tied to the Greek’s four distinctions of love: Eros, Philia, Storge and Agape. These four types of love have different meanings or interpretations, and they are all expressions of love at different levels. As the saying goes, “We all look but see differently,” meaning everyone has a different sense of perception on any matter and “love” is not left out.
What are the four types of love?
The four types of love may all be love in the sense of its meaning, but they are different expressions of love. This is due to differences in people’s opinions. While some consider eros not a real type of love, Storge and Agape are seen as expressed as the real form of love. Philia sits in between all three because some believe that, if not properly checked, it can change to eros, especially when it’s between the opposite sex. But all four types of love are all love despite what anyone thinks or says, is a show of affection, compassion or strong emotional attachment.
Eros is erotic love, passionate or sexual based love. This kind of love is characterized by carnal desire, sexual attraction and love passion between a man and a woman. Thanks to this passionate and physical love, that leads to the procreation of children. One thing to note about Eros love is that it doesn’t care much about the subject of attraction. This love closes the heart to the need for someone else.
When shared between husband and wife, erotic love can be a wonderful thing, but because of sinful nature, eros very often becomes porneia. When this happens, humans tend to go to extremes, becoming ascetics or hedonists. Ascetic is the person who completely avoids sexual love because his association with sexual immorality makes him seem evil and therefore should be avoided. The hedonist is the person who sees unfettered sexual love as perfectly natural.
Philia is a more unselfish love; the attention points to both parties involved or as many as are involved or share the same affection. This type of love is also called brotherly love or sisterly love, as the case may be. It is the type of affection shared between friends who have known each other for a long time. Philia bonds friends together irrespective of their race or nationality.
Philia is a good way to help hurting people heal. This love is without any strings, just pure and genuine love with the aim of affecting your friends’ lives. Philia also needs to be reciprocated because enjoying time with loved ones is expressed as the very definition of love. Philia love is characterized by altruism and is based on friendship that rejoices when the other is happy and well. It does not involve passionate love or bodily attraction.
This is the least talked about love, yet it is the most natural of all types of love. Storge is an affection between parents and their children. This love is the most natural because it just comes without much effort. It can be best described as “love at first sight” because when a mother sees her baby born into the world, she feels nothing but love for the child.
Storge is a feeling that parents can’t explain; despite whatever the child does, you can’t help but love the child. Unlike Eros and Philia, Storge looks beyond whether or not the child deserves to be loved. Instead, it is concerned with the natural connection with the persons.
Agape termed the God kind of love. This type of love gives without the thought of being reciprocated. It’s an unselfish type of love that doesn’t seek its own benefit. John 3:16 is seen as the foundation of the Christian Faith because that was the moment God expressed to the fullest extent His love for us by sending Jesus to come and die. Agape shows us that love isn’t just words but also action, giving is the highest expression of love, and God showed that by giving Jesus as the sacrifice for our sins.
The kind of love that characterizes God is not a mellow romantic feeling, as we often hear it described. God loves because that is His nature and the expression of His being. He loves the hateful and the unsympathetic, not because we deserve to be loved or for some excellence we have, but because His nature is to love, and He must be true to His nature.
Agape is seen as the highest form of love, followed by Storge because these two love doesn’t look at the person’s lovable nature but shows love regardless of flaws or weaknesses. Still, Agape sits above Storge because it is shown to anyone while Storge is expressed to children by their parents.
Man has a choice, and this freedom of choice is expressed in our day-to-day walk. Love as a feeling is not left out in its expression. His choices bring about the different expressions of love from Eros to Agape; all are based on the truth that mankind has free will to make decisions for himself irrespective of opinions, so anyone can choose to express any love as it suits him or her. To summarize, it is possible to fall asleep one night feeling a deep affection and attachment for somebody else. The four loves could take place simultaneously but at different objects of desire. These three types of love complement each other and come from the heart.