I’ve spent most of my time doing with a friend hanging out be it at the pool at the Y or debating Mormons or playing some Super Smash Bros. Brawl. One thing we always talk about is romance in some way, especially since we go to the pool when we’re together, and I had shared a thought I shared with another friend of mine this morning in email on why we don’t feel our faith.
C.S. Lewis when writing of the agape love once said that we may wonder why our feelings aren’t as strong for God as they are for the beloved, meaning the object of eros. As I ponder this kind of question though, it becomes less and less of a mystery. Agape and phileo and storge love are all fundamentally different from Eros love in one major way.
Eros has a strong quality of love of the body.
Now don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that when you have eros love, you only love the body. I believe in loving the whole person including the soul. However, there is a love and desire for the body there. It is then the love that is physical. Other loves can be expressed in physical ways such as hugs and handshakes, but eros love is the love most expressed through the body where even the ultimate expression seen in sexuality is expressed in the most physical relationship of all.
In fact, according to Pilch and Malina, scholars who study the social world of the Bible, the command to love one’s wife shown often in the Bible could be translated as “Be sexually attracted to her.” Of course, it wouldn’t mean to treat her as simply a sexual object, but it would mean that when you approach your wife, you are to be attracted to her.
This explains then why we don’t feel our faith the same way. The bodily faith brings about changes in the body that we can immediately experience be they physical or chemical. Of course it’s going to be stronger! It doesn’t mean the love is less. It’s a different kind of love that is expressed in a different way. To say one is stronger than the other based on that is misleading.
Now it could be one has idolized the beloved, but one will generally know that. It won’t be found by measuring your feelings but as Lewis says, and rightly so, measuring your loyalty. Many of us don’t feel a strong love for God and chances are, we have let a beloved interfere with our relationship at times as we’re all fallen human beings.
However, a lack of feelings does not mean a lack of love. In talking to the Mormons today, I found myself having to give my testimony and talking about where I’m at and what I’m doing and what I’ve overcome and how it’s all for the cause of Christ. That did produce strong passion when it was talked about. That passion was always there though. When asked why I believed in the resurrection and the Bible, I was even more excited in getting to show that evidence.
If you asked me generally though if I have a strong love for God, I would say no. That is because I still too often base it on my feelings. I know my friends though would come and say that I do have it. Do I feel it the same way I have a feeling for the lovely lady? No. But I do have that love and it’s best to realize that it is there regardless of my feelings.