Why Eros Is Different

Some of you reading this in the morning might want to check on the blog before this as well. I am going to be busy busy busy tonight. Thus, I’m going on and doing the blog early in the morning as opposed to the usual late in the evening. I need my sleep just like anyone else does after all.

In his book, the Four Loves, C.S. Lewis ponders why it seems that eros love can be so much stronger than even our love for God in its feeling of passion. As one who has had the experience of being in love, I find this an interesting question. This is also said with the realization as a recent speaker at our church said, that a guy can in a lesser sense fall in love at the grocery store. (And I hope that you know exactly what I mean by that.)

When one falls in love, there is a strong passion where one thinks about the beloved and is overwhelmed with desire and joy thinking about them. The thought of this one person just hangs in our mind and we want to do nothing else really. All is secondary it seems and we have a whole new dimension of life opened up.

Why is our faith in God not like that?

Now to some people, this may not apply. Some of you may have an overwhelming passion. I suspect though that there are many more who are like myself and this is for them. There are many of us who do devote our lives to the ministry and believe in loving God with all our hearts, souls, minds, and strength. We believe that he is the way, the truth, and the life, but we do not live with much strong feeling for him.

Lewis does give us an important reminder though in that what really matters is not the intensity of the feelings but rather, who do we serve at the end of the day? The fact that many in love do not have sexual intercourse until they say “I do” is evidence that their greater loyalty is to God despite whatever their feelings might be at the time.

But why is it different?

I have a theory I’d like to suggest. Thomas Aquinas tells us that whenever we think of something, we form some image in our mind. If we are thinking of a number for instance, we image the writing of the number in our heads. (I make a distinction as seeing “2” is not the same as the number two itself.) We could say we see the word “God” when we think of God or visualize a bright light or something of that sort.

So what happens in Eros? We get an image of a person and I believe that is what distinguishes this from the others. It is the type of person it is. I can image my friend, but I do not feel sexual desire at that point. I can image my mother, but I do not feel desire. I can even image some female friends that I know to be off limits in one way or another and not have desire.

With Eros though, you are imaging a person you desire. In this case, I then think it’s simply sexual desire expressing itself which is naturally there with strong feelings. Why? Because this is a bodily desire. When you desire to see your friend, you do not desire their body. When you desire to see your parents, you do not desire their bodies. It is different with eros though as it is a desire of the person body and soul.

This is a good thing of course. If my interpretation of what is found in the Handbook of Biblical Social Values is correct, it means that to love a spouse is simply to be sexually attracted to her. Yes men. If I am correct, it is a command of God that you be attracted to your wives. (Makes it harder to cheat on her if you are especially attracted to her and don’t want to risk losing that attraction.)

As far as I can tell, this is what make Eros different from all the others and why the feelings are so different. I could be wrong, but I can’t think of a better explanation at the time. It would explain why the passions are so different. Again though, we must be sure that with the great passion of eros that we use it properly. For this, I do find C.S. Lewis’s “The Four Loves” to be a great guide. (It’s also the only book of his you can get on audio with him doing the reading.)

So whatever personality you are, go and serve, and let the feelings tend for themselves.

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