God is love. We might say this is a universal affirmative statement. “A” on the square of opposition. And as any basic student of logic knows, A statements cannot be conversed. God is love, but love is not God.
C. S. Lewis wrote that whenever we make love into a god it becomes a demon. This is true. Our entire culture of love is demonic in this respect, sacrificing at the altar of “true love.” Reacting against a mythical Puritanism, as well as the ghost of Victorian England and her ideological grandchild, the 1950’s, we now live in the most worldly, fleshly, society ever imagined.
I am not speaking of the deviants we so often read about and see on the news (and if it is FOX News, we see quite a bit of it, often in excessive detail), the easy prey of moral reproach. Rather, I mean that which is supposed normal. I mean passionate love.
Our world has been divinized once more, but this time the Christians are as much to blame as any. Contrary to popular belief, Galileo did not lower mankind when he decentralized our planet. Instead he elevated us into the heavens. He says as much himself:
As for the earth, we seek rather to ennoble and perfect it when we strive to make it like the celestial bodies, and, as it were, place it in heaven, from which your philosophers have banished it.
Everything is divine now. All worldly pleasures are endorsed. Anyone can grow up to do- or perhaps be- whatever they want. Age can be defied. Treasures can be won. Women can become men, and men can become women. Children can be had or not, all on a scheduled basis.
And it is at just this time that preachers show up to warn us against the evils of Gnosticism, asceticism, and escapism. Health and wealth, your best life now, is on the more juvenile slide of the continuum, while “incarnational” and “liberation” theology appears on the more intellectual end. Even pietism shows back up to join in the fun whenever contrarian personalities decide that overly-optimistic sermons “no longer meet their needs.” They get a kick out of being beaten down. It makes them “feel” better. Perhaps it simply makes them feel.
And so here we are. Love. It dominates us. It tyrannizes us. We must have it. Denis De Rougemont has written of this tyranny. Continue reading