God’s Love Manifest in a Mother’s Love
“Can a wife forget her suckling so that she should not pity the son of her belly? Even these women can forget, yet I myself shall not forget you.”—ISAIAH 49:15.
A NEWBORN baby nestles in his mother’s arms as she nurses him. The scene is one of tenderness and love. “When I first held my baby in my arms,” says a mother named Pam, “I felt an overwhelming sense of love and responsibility for this new life.”
It seems an obvious fact, but research has confirmed that a mother’s love profoundly influences her baby’s development. A document published by the World Health Organization Programme on Mental Health states: “Studies have shown that infants who are abandoned and separated from their mothers become unhappy and depressed, sometimes to the point of panic.” This same document cites a study indicating that children who receive love and attention from an early age are likely to have a substantially higher IQ than children who are neglected.
Regarding the importance of a mother’s love, Alan Schore, a professor of psychiatry at UCLA School of Medicine in the United States, says: “The child’s first relationship, the one with the mother, acts as a template, as it permanently molds the individual’s capacities to enter into all later emotional relationships.”
Sadly, depression, illness, or other pressures may cause a mother to neglect her child or even to “forget her suckling.” (Isaiah 49:15) But such is the exception, not the rule. In fact, mothers seem to be programmed to love their children. Researchers have discovered that during birth, mothers have elevated levels of a hormone called oxytocin, which stimulates contractions and later plays a role in lactation. This same hormone, produced by both men and women, is also believed to play a role in the urge to act in a loving, altruistic manner.
What Is the Origin of Love?
Those who promote belief in evolution teach that unselfish love, such as that between a mother and her child, arose by chance and was preserved by natural selection because it benefited the species. For example, the online journal Mothering Magazine asserts: “The first portion of our brain that evolved on top of its reptilian heritage is the limbic system, the seat of emotion. It is this portion of the brain that permits mothers and their babies to bond.”
Granted, research has revealed that the limbic system plays a contributing role in our emotions. However, does it sound reasonable to you that a mother’s love for her child is the product of the accidental outgrowth of a reptilian brain?
Consider the alternative. The Bible says that humans were created in God’s image, that is, with the ability to reflect God’s qualities. (Genesis 1:27) God’s dominant quality is love. “He that does not love has not come to know God,” wrote the apostle John. Why? “Because God is love.” (1 John 4:8) Please note that this Bible verse does not say that God has love. Rather, it states that God is love. He is the Source of love.
The Bible describes love this way: “Love is long-suffering and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, does not get puffed up, does not behave indecently, does not look for its own interests, does not become provoked. It does not keep account of the injury. It does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Does it seem reasonable to believe that this most noble of qualities arose by blind chance?
How Are You Affected?
As you read the description of love in the preceding paragraph, did your heart yearn to have someone show you that type of love? It is only natural that you should feel such a longing. Why? Because “we are the progeny of God.” (Acts 17:29) We were designed to receive and to express such love. And we can be sure that God has deep love for us. (John 3:16; 1 Peter 5:6, 7) The scripture quoted at the start of this article declares that God’s love for us is even more powerful, more enduring, than that of a mother for her child!
You may wonder, though: ‘If God is wise, powerful, and loving, why does he not end suffering? Why does he allow children to die, oppression to continue, and the earth to be damaged by mismanagement and greed?’ These are good questions that deserve reasonable answers.
Despite what agnostics may say, it is possible to discover satisfying answers to those questions. Millions of people in hundreds of countries have found such answers by studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. The publishers of this journal invite you to do the same. As your knowledge of God grows through a study of both his Word and his creation, you will perceive that he is not distant and unknowable. Rather, you will likely become convinced that God is “not far off from each one of us.”—Acts 17:27.
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God’s love for us is more enduring than that of a mother for her child