I have written an e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which is free to anyone. To download that book, in several formats, go here.
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Monday, March 31, 2014

microrganisms and the Bible

Microorganisms, such as bacteria, yeasts and protozoa are very important. (So are viruses, but they aren't exactly alive, and won't be considered in this post.) Among other things that they do, they make Nitrogen available to other living things. (Nitrogen is an essential part of DNA, RNA, and proteins, so living things have to have it.) They help decompose dead things, so that the material they are made of can be used by other organisms, including humans. They cause diseases, including malaria, perhaps the disease that has killed more people than any other. They assist in various important processes, such as the production of ensilage (aka silage), the production of alcohol, and the manufacture of yogurt. They make it possible for bread to rise. Microorganisms living in our intestines also help us break down material, and some of them help us fight off certain diseases. The germs living in our intestines produce some vitamins for us.

In spite of their critical importance, microorganisms are not mentioned in the Bible at all. This is not surprising, since yeasts weren't discovered until 1680, and weren't believed to be living things until later, and bacteria weren't discovered until 1683. Protozoa were also discovered in the 1680's.

If there were six days of creation activity by God, on which day were the microorganisms created? The Bible doesn't say, of course, but the best guess for bacteria and yeasts is the third day, when the dry land, and land plants, appeared. (Genesis 1 doesn't mention plants living under water at all, and, if there were six days of creation, we don't know when they appeared, either.) As for protozoa, perhaps they were created on the fifth day, with water animals and birds.

Note -- Genesis 1 does not mention flying insects. Perhaps they were lumped in with the birds.

Were bacteria, and other microorganisms, important before the Fall? Again, we don't know. It is possible that decomposition took place before the Fall, and it is possible that bacteria helped the first humans digest their food. But maybe, before the Fall, decomposition didn't take place, and/or humans were able to digest their food without assistance. My guess is that defecation did take place before the Fall, and that decomposition bacteria would have been important then, but that's just a guess. Some scholars believe that animal death occurred before the Fall. (See here.)

I have posted on a related topic, mentioning most of the ideas above, a few years ago, here.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Does the Bible really say that? Excerpt from my book, 29

[Continuing a discussion of End Times.]

Sometimes people try to identify the Antichrist. Hitler and Stalin were put forth as candidates years ago. One or more of the Popes also have been, at various times. Here’s a recent example, copied from a mass e-mail received during the 2008 Presidential campaign. Its purpose was to imply that Barack Obama was the Antichrist:

How long is the beast allowed to have authority in Revelations?
Revelations Chapter 13 tells us it is 42 months, and you know what that is. Almost a four-year term of a Presidency.
All I can say is "Lord, Have mercy on us!"
According to The Book of Revelations the anti-Christ is:
The anti-Christ will be a man, in his 40’s, of MUSLIM descent, who will deceive the nations with persuasive language, and have a MASSIVE Christ-like appeal....the prophecy says that people will flock to him and he will promise false hope and world peace, and when he is in power, will destroy everything.

I should point out something that Revelation says:

Revelation 22:18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to them, may God add to him the plagues which are written in this book. 19 If anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, may God take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are written in this book.

Now, back to the e-mail. Here’s the passage referred to:

Revelation 13:1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads. On his horns were ten crowns, and on his heads, blasphemous names. 2 The beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 3 One of his heads looked like it had been wounded fatally. His fatal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled at the beast. 4 They worshiped the dragon, because he gave his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” 5 A mouth speaking great things and blasphemy was given to him. Authority to make war for forty-two months was given to him.
11 I saw another beast coming up out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke like a dragon. 12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence. He makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13 He performs great signs, even making fire come down out of the sky to the earth in the sight of people. 14 He deceives my own people who dwell on the earth because of the signs he was granted to do in front of the beast; saying to those who dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast who had the sword wound and lived.

Revelation 13 refers to a “beast,” and the Antichrist is not mentioned. Forty-two months is almost the term of a Presidency. But so are 39 months, and 45 months. So what? As to Revelation saying that the Antichrist will be of Muslim descent, John didn’t say that. He couldn’t have, as there were no Muslims at the time John wrote Revelation. Nothing in Revelation tells us how old anyone is, or will be. Mr. Obama did have some powers of persuasion, or he wouldn’t have been the nominee of his party, but so do a lot of other people. He probably wishes that his powers were stronger than they are. (Actually, Revelation 13 doesn’t mention powers of persuasion, just power.) Some people think that Mr. Obama is a deceiver, and a destroyer. Perhaps. He has his faults, and I have no wish to defend them, or point them out, in this space, but to claim that he, or any other prominent person, is the Antichrist is a real stretch. Whoever wrote this e-mail should have been much more afraid of having violated John’s command not to add to the Book of Revelation than he or she should have feared for the election of President Obama.

With the advantage of hindsight, we can now say that Mr. Obama served as President for more than forty-two months!

It is as foolish to claim someone is the Antichrist as it is foolish to predict a date for Christ to return.

The above is an excerpt from my recently published e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which may be obtained free of charge, or purchased from Amazon for $0.99, which is the lowest price Amazon lets an author set. Scripture quotations are from the World English Bible, which is in the public domain.

The previous post in this series is here. God willing, the next post in this series will continue a discussion of this topic, prophecy. Thanks for reading.

Friday, March 28, 2014

God's Not Dead -- report on the movie

I saw the movie, God's Not Dead, today. It stars Kevin Sorbo, as Professor Radisson, and Shane Harper as a university freshman, Josh Wheaton. Radisson begins his philosophy class by having the students all write "God is dead" on a sheet of paper, with their names, and hand it in. Wheaton says that he can't do that, and Radisson says that, as an alternative, Wheaton must prove, in three 20 minute presentations at the end of the next meetings of the class, that God is not dead.

This movie was obviously made by Christians, and the intended audience is also Christians. Sorbo, and, probably, all the other actors, are also Christians. The Newsboys and Willie and Korie Robinson, of Duck Dynasty, appear as themselves, and are portrayed as outspoken Christians.

Some (not all, I'm sure) Christians may be disturbed by some aspects of the film. A Christian character prepares a meal, and purchases and serves wine. Wheaton's defense of God's existence includes the following, which some will not appreciate: 1) It's not possible to disprove God's existence, but it's not possible to prove it, either. 2) God worked through the Big Bang in the origination of the universe (for more on that, see here) and this is consistent with "Let there be light!" in Genesis 1. 3) Evolution occurred, as God's method of establishing the diversity of living things. This last point got only a couple of sentences, and neither Radisson or Wheaton mentioned the origin of humans.

I will try not to give away much of the plot, and there is a plot. In fact, there are several plots, more or less woven together, involving several characters. I will say that three different couples broke up during the film, and one of the less believable aspects of it is how they stayed together long enough to be presented as couples in the first place, considering that each one had at least one seriously self-centered egotist as one partner. (One of these was supposedly a Christian.) I thought there was too much going on in the movie, actually.

The film is a dramatized version of Christian apologetics. In my view, it does this well, presenting most or all of the important reasons that atheists claim argue against God's existence, and some rebuttals of these reasons. One apologetic defense is to ask "Why is there something rather than nothing?" or to ask "Who started the Big Bang?"

Stephen Hawking is a prominent atheist, and was named, by Radisson, as the greatest scientific mind in the history of the world. (That claim could certainly be disputed, with, say, Newton, as another candidate!) In his book, The Grand Design, co-authored by Leonard Mlodinow, the following statement occurs, and Radisson quoted all or part of it: Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.

There are some problems with using this passage to disprove God's existence. First, as you will see if you go to the Wikipedia article on the book, you will read that by no means all scientists are in agreement with Hawking and Mlodinow, and apparently some who don't agree with them are also unbelievers. Second, why is there gravity at all? (I am sorry that I have yet to read this book -- possibly the authors answer that, but I really doubt it.) Third, as Wheaton pointed out to Radisson, ". . . philosophy is dead." (p. 5)

There was an apologetics advisor for the film. I glimpsed that in the opening credits, but do not recall the name given, and I haven't found it in the movie's web site. Whoever this was, I thought he did a good job. (It was a he. That much I can recall.) At the end of the film, as part of the credits, there was a rather long list of universities that had been sued by Christians (and possibly by some others) for denying Christians their constitutional rights. I'm not sure that any of these were directly related to the subject of the movie. I found one such case on the web site of the Alliance Defense Fund. A student was required to argue in favor of adoption by same-sex couples, and asked for a different assignment, but, instead, was subjected to an examination ". . . for hours about her Christian faith," by a faculty committee. Eventually, apparently after action by the Alliance Defense Fund, she was exonerated, the professor was fired, and she was offered compensation by the university. The credits also said that, at the University I graduated from, the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship was banned as a student organization, and that ruling was overturned, after intervention by the ADF. I checked, and found that that claim seems also to be true.

Is being told that there is no God, by a professor, persecution? I don't think so. Being required to act as if you agreed with it, when you don't, would seem to be, however. I don't think being asked to defend one's beliefs is persecution either, in and of itself. It is often part of a higher education, on all sorts of issues.

At least one university philosophy professor has written in defense of Radisson. One claim he makes is that it is Christian universities who deny freedom of thought, by expecting students and faculty to agree to statements of belief, and then expelling them, or firing them, if they don't live up to such an agreement. To some extent, this is true. However, I was on the faculty of a Christian university for over four decades, and never heard of a student being asked to leave for unbelief. (Some were asked to leave for various kinds of bad behavior.) Some students did not believe, of course. At least a couple of faculty were let go precipitously, also for behavior inconsistent with the university's statement of belief. The professor cited claims that state universities are tolerant of all beliefs, and allow freedom of thought. Cases like the ones mentioned above indicate that freedom of thought isn't always tolerated on secular campuses, in spite of what the professor believes. He makes other claims. Some of them seem to be at least partly valid.

I'm glad that I went to see God's Not Dead. It wasn't the greatest movie ever made, but it was thought-provoking.

Thanks for reading! 

* * * * *
Note added, May 21, 2014. I have now read, and discussed, the book by Hawking that was so central to the conflict in the movie. My discussion is here

June 17, 2014. The Speculative Faith blog has published a review of the film, which points out some of the same flaws as the post above. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sunspots 463

Things I have recently spotted that may be of interest to someone else:

Christianity: An article on Speculative Faith, by me, based on a post, some years ago, in this blog, on how Christianity shows up in a novel by Juliet Marillier, a self-acknowledged Druid.

Computing: Are your passwords safe enough? Check them with the Microsoft Password Checker.
Humor: Audra McDonald sings the "best answers" to some Yahoo! questions for Tonight's Jimmy Fallon, in a 3 minute 42 second YouTube video.
Science: Wired reports that insects have become resistant to defenses built into corn crops, mostly because seed companies and farmers ignored the recommendations of independent scientists, and even denied the scientists access to the particular type of corn. Corporate greed strikes again.
Wired also reports on tardigrades, microscopic animals also called water bears. They have amazing resistance to most everything, including temperatures near absolute zero, and above boiling. There are photos.
National Public Radio reports on the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez disaster. Scientists have discovered that the oil spill caused more damage, over a longer time, than they had originally supposed.

Image source (public domain)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Does the Bible really say that? Excerpt from my book, 28

[Continuing a discussion of end-times prophecy.]

The Antichrist

Another idea of dispensationalists is that of an antichrist – an evil world ruler. Again, this belief rests on skimpy foundations. The word, Antichrist, does not occur at all in the book of Revelation. Here are the passages, where it does occur, with some context:

1 John 2:18 Little children, these are the end times, and as you heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen. By this we know that it is the final hour. 19 They went out from us, but they didn’t belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have continued with us. But they left, that they might be revealed that none of them belong to us. 20 You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. 21 I have not written to you because you don’t know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the Antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. 23 Whoever denies the Son, the same doesn’t have the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.

1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit who doesn’t confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God, and this is the spirit of the Antichrist, of whom you have heard that it comes. Now it is in the world already.

2 John 1:7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who don’t confess that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the Antichrist.

John (who also wrote Revelation, of course!) doesn’t seem to be prophesying that a powerful world leader, an Antichrist, will come, near the time of Christ’s return. He seems to be referring to an attitude. That attitude is to deny the Lordship of Christ. Apparently this type of attitude could be found in people, and also in spirits. John was talking about such an attitude in his own time. If there is going to be an Antichrist, in the sense that dispensationalists believe, that is, a powerful anti-Christian world ruler, presumably he (or she?) will deny the Lordship of Christ. Based on what John said, it is important to make sure that we don’t deny Christ’s deity by our own lives. It is also important to be careful that our view of God is not influenced by those who deny Christ’s deity. Worrying about a possible powerful future world leader is of lesser importance, and John doesn’t seem to have been talking about that at all, in the passages quoted above.

The above is an excerpt from my recently published e-book, Does the Bible Really Say That?, which may be obtained free of charge, or purchased from Amazon for $0.99, which is the lowest price Amazon lets an author set. Scripture quotations are from the World English Bible, which is in the public domain.

The previous post in this series is here. God willing, the next post in this series will continue a discussion of this topic, prophecy. Thanks for reading.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Biblical references to God's love

Here are some of the Biblical references to God's love, using the World English Bible, which is public domain:

Genesis 24:27 He said, “Blessed be Yahweh, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken his loving kindness and his truth toward my master. As for me, Yahweh has led me in the way to the house of my master’s relatives.”

Exodus 34:6 Yahweh passed by before him, and proclaimed, “Yahweh! Yahweh, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth, 34:7 keeping loving kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and disobedience and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the children’s children, on the third and on the fourth generation.”

Deuteronomy 7:7 Yahweh didn’t set his love on you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all peoples: 7:8 but because Yahweh loves you, and because he would keep the oath which he swore to your fathers, has Yahweh brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 7:9 Know therefore that Yahweh your God, he is God, the faithful God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness with them who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations, (verse 9 is quoted in Nehemiah 1:5, Daniel 9:4)

7:12 It shall happen, because you listen to these ordinances, and keep and do them, that Yahweh your God will keep with you the covenant and the loving kindness which he swore to your fathers:
7:13 and he will love you, and bless you, and multiply you; he will also bless the fruit of your body and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your livestock and the young of your flock, in the land which he swore to your fathers to give you.
1 Kings 8:23 and he said, “Yahweh, the God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above, or on earth beneath; who keep covenant and loving kindness with your servants, who walk before you with all their heart; (Also in 2 Chronicles 6:14)

2 Chronicles 1:8 Solomon said to God, “You have shown great loving kindness to David my father, and have made me king in his place.
6:42 “Yahweh God, don’t turn away the face of your anointed. Remember your loving kindnesses to David your servant.”

Ezra 7:27 Blessed be Yahweh, the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to beautify the house of Yahweh which is in Jerusalem; 7:28 and has extended loving kindness to me before the king, and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty princes. I was strengthened according to the hand of Yahweh my God on me, and I gathered together out of Israel chief men to go up with me.
9:9 For we are bondservants; yet our God has not forsaken us in our bondage, but has extended loving kindness to us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 9:17 and refused to obey, neither were they mindful of your wonders that you did among them, but hardened their neck, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage. But you are a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and didn’t forsake them.
9:32 Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness, don’t let all the travail seem little before you, that has come on us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria to this day.
13:22 I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the Sabbath day. Remember to me, my God, this also, and spare me according to the greatness of your loving kindness.

Psalm 36:5 Your loving kindness, Yahweh, is in the heavens.
    Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
36:7 How precious is your loving kindness, God!
    The children of men take refuge under the shadow of your wings.
36:10 Oh continue your loving kindness to those who know you,
    your righteousness to the upright in heart.

42:8 Yahweh will command his loving kindness in the daytime.
    In the night his song shall be with me:
    a prayer to the God of my life.
48:9 We have thought about your loving kindness, God,
    in the midst of your temple.
Psalm 51:1 Have mercy on me, God, according to your loving kindness.
    According to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.
52:8 But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in God’s house.
    I trust in God’s loving kindness forever and ever.
57:3 He will send from heaven, and save me,
    he rebukes the one who is pursuing me.
God will send out his loving kindness and his truth.
61:7 He shall be enthroned in God’s presence forever.
    Appoint your loving kindness and truth, that they may preserve him.
    He has heard the voice of my prayer.
66:20 Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer,
    nor his loving kindness from me.
69:13 But as for me, my prayer is to you, Yahweh, in an acceptable time.
    God, in the abundance of your loving kindness, answer me in the truth of your salvation.
86:15 But you, Lord, are a merciful and gracious God,
    slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth.
98:3 He has remembered his loving kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel.
    All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
109:21 But deal with me, Yahweh the Lord, for your name’s sake,
    because your loving kindness is good, deliver me;
109:26 Help me, Yahweh, my God.
    Save me according to your loving kindness;
136:1 Give thanks to Yahweh, for he is good;
    for his loving kindness endures forever. (Second line repeated in all 26 verses of this Psalm.)

Jeremiah 32:17 Ah Lord Yahweh! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm; there is nothing too hard for you, 32:18 who show loving kindness to thousands, and recompense the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them; the great, the mighty God, Yahweh of Armies is his name;

Joel 2:13 Tear your heart, and not your garments,
    and turn to Yahweh, your God;
    for he is gracious and merciful,
    slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness,
    and relents from sending calamity.

Jonah 4:2 He prayed to Yahweh, and said, “Please, Yahweh, wasn’t this what I said when I was still in my own country? Therefore I hurried to flee to Tarshish, for I knew that you are a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness, and you relent of doing harm.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another.
14:21 One who has my commandments, and keeps them, that person is one who loves me. One who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him, and will reveal myself to him.”
14:22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, what has happened that you are about to reveal yourself to us, and not to the world?”
14:23 Jesus answered him, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word. My Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our home with him.
15:9 Even as the Father has loved me, I also have loved you. Remain in my love. 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and remain in his love. 15:11 I have spoken these things to you, that my joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be made full.
15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another, even as I have loved you. 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

Romans 5:5 and hope doesn’t disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. 5:6 For while we were yet weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 5:7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man. Yet perhaps for a righteous person someone would even dare to die. 5:8 But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Could oppression, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 8:36 Even as it is written, “For your sake we are killed all day long. We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”* 8:37 No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 8:39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. [*Quoting Psalm 44:22]

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ constrains us; because we judge thus, that one died for all, therefore all died. 5:15 He died for all, that those who live should no longer live to themselves, but to him who for their sakes died and rose again.
13:11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Be perfected, be comforted, be of the same mind, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you. 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13:13 All the saints greet you. 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

Ephesians 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, 2:5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 2:6 and raised us up with him, and made us to sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 2:7 that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus;
3:17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 3:18 may be strengthened to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 3:19 and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patience of Christ.

1 Timothy 1:14 The grace of our Lord abounded exceedingly with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 1:13 Hold the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

1 John 3:1 Behold, how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! For this cause the world doesn’t know us, because it didn’t know him.
3:16 By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.
4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. 4:8 He who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, for God is love. 4:9 By this God’s love was revealed in us, that God has sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
4:16 We know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and he who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. 4:17 In this love has been made perfect among us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is, even so are we in this world. 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has punishment. He who fears is not made perfect in love. 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. His commandments are not grievous.

Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I reprove and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent.

This makes 86 verses where God’s love is explicitly mentioned, plus 25 more for the repeats in Psalm 136, and three other statements in Deuteronomy and 1 Kings, which are repeated later, making a grand total of at least 114. Searching, using a different version (I used the English Standard Version to search) might have turned up more. No doubt, other verses could have also been interpreted as being about God’s love.

Thanks for reading!