My friend and I were talking about the four types of love the Greeks distinguished, and my friend said God's love is purely Agape. But doesn't God wants to be friend with each of us? And doesn't God love us as a "Father"? I think God has Phileo love and Storge love for us as well as Agape, and I also think that in heaven, our love towards the others will be Phileo, Storge and Agape mixed together. So my questions are:

  • Do Catholics believe that God has Phileo and Storge love for us, as well as Agape?
  • Will our love for others in heaven be Phileo and Storge, as well as Agape (three mixed together)?
  • Storge is family love, and as you indicated, God portrays Himself as a Father to us. Check that off your list. Phileo is friendship love, and the Bible tells us that Abraham believed God, and those who do likewise are "the friend of God" (James 2:23). Check that off your list too!
    – Steve
    Dec 13, 2015 at 14:54

2 Answers 2


St. Thomas defines charity--supernatural love--as a love of friendship. In Deus Caritas Est Pope Benedict XVI was careful to note that all three loves, including eros, are included in the Christian's relationship to God. He begins the first part of the encyclical:



A problem of language

  1. God's love for us is fundamental for our lives, and it raises important questions about who God is and who we are. In considering this, we immediately find ourselves hampered by a problem of language. Today, the term “love” has become one of the most frequently used and misused of words, a word to which we attach quite different meanings. Even though this Encyclical will deal primarily with the understanding and practice of love in sacred Scripture and in the Church's Tradition, we cannot simply prescind from the meaning of the word in the different cultures and in present-day usage...

Part I extends from paragraphs 2-18, and all of it applies to your question. Here is an excerpt particularly relevant:

  1. That love between man and woman which is neither planned nor willed, but somehow imposes itself upon human beings, was called eros by the ancient Greeks. Let us note straight away that the Greek Old Testament uses the word eros only twice, while the New Testament does not use it at all: of the three Greek words for love, eros, philia (the love of friendship) and agape, New Testament writers prefer the last, which occurs rather infrequently in Greek usage. As for the term philia, the love of friendship, it is used with added depth of meaning in Saint John's Gospel in order to express the relationship between Jesus and his disciples...

(Note that storge is affection, and some theologians like C.S. Lewis classify it as a love whereas others such as Ratzinger do not)


John 16:27 says,

For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.

αὐτὸς γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ φιλεῖ ὑμᾶς, ὅτι ὑμεῖς ἐμὲ πεφιλήκατε καὶ πεπιστεύκατε ὅτι ἐγὼ παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐξῆλθον.

The Father feels affection (phileo) for us, because we feel affection for Christ, his son.

The word στοργος (storgos) is used once in the Greek Bible, including the Septuagint and other Greek Old Testaments, in Romans 12:10 in a contraction meaning "devoted," translated as "kindly affectioned" in the KJV:

Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another

τῇ φιλαδελφίᾳ εἰς ἀλλήλους φιλόστοργοι, τῇ τιμῇ ἀλλήλους προηγούμενοι,

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