Like Tevye pestering his wife in “Fiddler of the Roof” Jesus pesters us as well: “Do you love me?” He persistently needles us into action by confronting us with the most important question, for our answer to “Do you love me?” matters more than anything else.
“Of course, God loves me; that’s his job.” But apart from the incarnation, why would we assume this to be true? Let’s pretend Jesus was never born. Now, ask yourself, how can you be assured of God’s love? What reasons can you give that suggest you matter to God at all? What evidence exists to make the case for a loving God who is humbly interested in your welfare?
In the Song of Songs – just as in the opening chapters of the Bible – we encounter a man and a woman in a garden, naked and unashamed. Just as in Eden, God pronounces a blessing on the delightful and fulfilling love of eros. Our human experience of eros is a faint glimpse of God’s passion for us. Only eros can communicate the intensity of divine love.
Eros is passionate love. The deep feelings that accompany eros are often exclusively associated with sexuality, but eros is not limited to it. Though eros is motivated by self-interest, one should not conclude that eros is always selfish. Eros, when rightly ordered with the other loves, is a deeply spiritual expression of love.
Agape love is a spontaneous and generous love that is self-giving to the point of being self-sacrificial. Agape goes beyond the law and must not be equated with “justice.” Agape’s boundlessness and spontaneity refuse to be held to minimal standards, and therefore cannot be contained in any expression of law, no matter how righteous.