letters to surfers

Question : Do you and your wife think erotic language is appropriate when speaking about God?

By Robert Brow   (www.brow.on.ca)

Yes, of course, God is erotic. Eros means delighting love, as opposed to Agape which I define as the costly love that cares about the freedom of the other (our children, our partner, those we have active compassion for). The agape love of God is defined in 1 John 4:7-19.

The eros (from which we get the word erotic) love of God follows from the fact that God invented sex and sexual feelings, and we are made in his image. Being fully man, Jesus must have had sexual feelings (Hebrews 2:17, 4:15), but he never misused them. As you point out, the Song of Songs, is not ashamed of sexual feelings. But the Christian church was brainwashed by the monks (the desert Fathers and in parts of the monastic movement) in a Buddhist direction (nirvana is attained by systematically eradicating all our desires, especially eros).

In the New Testament there is an abhorrence of porneia (often translated fornication), which means sleeping around eros but without tenderness and commitment. But even Paul could write "The husband should give his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does" (1 Corinthians 7:3-4). Which certainly means a mutual caring about each other's erotic feelings.

Our joint book Adultery: An Exploration of Love and Marriage discusses how this works out in marriage. The appendix on "Sexual Fantasy" tackles this controversial topic.

Mollie wants to add : "Marriage at its best is a rich foretaste of the intimacy, tenderness and delight which will explode a million-fold as we meet the King of Heaven face to face and share with all "the saints" the love of heaven. That is why Jesus said "In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage" (Matthew 22:30) An exclusive relationship there would be too restricting, and perhaps some of our celibate friends have a deeper experience of Christ as their lover than those who are blessed with an earthly beloved" (e.g. Janie Gustafson, Celibate Passion, Harper & Row, 1978).

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