This question is answered in three short words penned by the apostle John: “God is love.” (1 John 4:8) Jehovah’s love is shown by his kindness to us. Everything good that we have comes ultimately from him. “Every good gift and every perfect present is from above.” (James 1:17) This is true of the physical world that we enjoy, and more especially of the spiritual blessings given so abundantly to appreciative Christians.
Jesus Christ drew our attention to a further remarkable manifestation of Jehovah’s love, saying: “He [Jehovah] makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45) And Jehovah’s love for mankind as a whole goes beyond providing material blessings, for Jesus explained: “God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) What more expansive love could there be?
By showing such love for mankind, Jehovah is expressing a love that is firmly rooted in principle. In the Greek language, that love is called a·ga′pe. Jehovah shows this love toward Christians too. However, his love toward them takes on an additional flavor. When a person responds to God’s love, Jehovah expresses phi·li′a, a Greek word meaning “friendship” or “affection.” Jesus assures us: “The Father himself has affection for you, because you have had affection for me.”—John 16:27.