The love of God is manifested from the start -- through His creation, fall of man, deliverance from judgement and to people. It has been shown from the events that transpired in the Bible's first book, the book of Genesis, and is still shown to the people of this generation.
The Oxford English Dictionary says that the religious definition of love is "the benevolence and affection of God towards an individual or towards creation." But how does the Bible define love? Answers in Genesis digs into its divine meaning and how God showed his love to his people through the book of Genesis.
First, God displayed His love through creation. God created the heavens and the earth first. Then he created Adam and Eve. God showed His love for man by preparing a perfect place to be their home. God also valued His creation by bestowing man the responsibility to care for it. In the same way, one can show benevolence and affection to someone by providing a home and occupation.
Secondly, God showed His love through provision after man's fall. When Adam and Eve sinned, it was only then that they discovered that they were naked. Because of sin, God declared his punishment to the serpent, Eve and Adam. But even after sinning, God Himself provided clothing to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. God still showed his care to them even after their rebellion.
Thirdly, God displayed His love through deliverance from judgment. After sin became so great that God had to decide to flood the earth and destroy all creations, God extended his affection and benevolence to Noah whom he was pleased with. He decided to save him and his family from the flood, along with the pairs of animals, and put them in the ark. While all others in the earth died from the flood, God showed mercy and love to Noah, his family and animals. God showed His love through saving them from His judgment to destroy everything on earth.
Finally, God showed His love to various people in Genesis. In the book, the word that was used to communicate God's love to his people is the Hebrew word "checed" which is defined as goodness or kindness by Strong's Concordance. Depending on the Bible's translation, the word's English translation is usually "love" or "lovingkindness" sometimes.
The following are the verses in Genesis when God showed His love with "checed" to people.
In verses Genesis 24:12, 14 and 27, Abraham's servant spoke about God's "steadfast love" for his master. In Genesis 32:9-10, Jacob has also declared God's "steadfast love" for him. The "steadfast love" of God for Joseph can also be read in Genesis 39:21. The word "love" in these verses are all written as "checed" in Hebrew translation. This reveals the special affection of God towards these people who played a part in God's story of redemption.
As God had loved these people in Genesis, God continues to show such love for the people today. Like Adam and Eve who were provided a home by the Lord, He has also given people a place to live in this world. In addition, God has given mankind a responsibility to manage His creation. This way, God has shown His benevolence and affection towards the descendants of Adam and Eve.
As God had to slaughter an animal just to provide garments of skin to Adam and Eve after they have committed sin, God has also provided a sacrifice for the sins of mankind through Jesus Christ's death on the cross. Like how God saved Noah, his family and the animals from the flood, God has also made a way to save mankind through Jesus. And like stepping into the ark of salvation from God's judgement of that sinful generation, trusting in Jesus also gives mankind redemption from his sins.
Since the Bible says that those who believe in Jesus are descendants of Abraham, whom God has bestowed with His "checed" affection, and are thus recipients of this precious love of God as we.
As Paul said in Galatians 3:6-9, Christians are blessed. Since Christ's followers are trusting the same God whom Abraham had trusted, they can also enjoy this benevolence and affection Abraham had been given - and more, especially now that One infinitely greater than Abraham has come, died on the cross, and rose from the grave: the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ. Believers experience the fullness of the Father's love in and through Christ the Lord.