Our Love Must First Be Killed

JT points at this article from First Things which quotes Luke Timothy Johnson on his position on homosexuality and Scripture.  Here is Johnson:

“I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good. We appeal explicitly to the weight of our own experience and the experience thousands of others have witnessed to, which tells us that to claim our own sexual orientation is in fact to accept the way in which God has created us.”   

Here, and in the comments, there is an evident avoidance of calling “wrong” or “sinful” any part of a human love of another. It reminds me of chapter 11 of Lewis’ The Great Divorce which addresses the inherently sinful nature of all human love, even a love of a mother for a son. After the mother ghost is heard, MacDonald tells Lewis:

“Someone must say in general what’s been unsaid among you this many a year: that love, as mortals understand the word, isn’t enough. Every natural love will rise again and live forever in this country: but none will rise again until it has been buried.” 

And after the man’s attendant lizard, his lust, is killed and subsequently transformed into a beautiful stallion, Lewis asks if “everything that is in us can go on to the Mountains?”, MacDonald explains:

“Nothing, not even the best and noblest, can go on as it now is. Nothing, not even what is lowest and most bestial, will not be raised again if it submits to death. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. Flesh and blood cannot come to the Mountains. Not because they are too rank, but because they are too weak. What is a Lizard compared with a stallion? Lust is a poor, weak, whimpering whispering thing compared with that richness and energy of desire which will arise when lust has been killed.” 

Finally, Lewis says that the woman’s love was different than the man’s lust, for it was merely excess of love. MacDonald objects:

“Excess of love, did ye say? There was no excess, there was defect. She loved her son too little, not too much. If she had loved him more there’d be no difficulty. I do not know how her affair will end. But it may well be that at this moment she’s demanding to have him down with her in Hell. That kind is sometimes perfectly ready to plunge the soul they say they love in endless misery if only they can still in some fashion possess it. No, no. Ye must draw another lesson. Ye must ask, if the risen body even of appetite is as grand a horse as ye saw, what would the risen body of maternal love or friendship be?” 

Basically, Lewis is asserting that there is in all human love, something of sin and therefore something that is ungodly (as he did with intellect with the Episcopal ghost). In all love, then, even my love for my wife and kids and parents, there is something sinful and sinister, something that transgresses God’s law and goodness and therefore something that had to be forgiven and punished on the cross. No love is “purely good” and thus outside the piercing light of God’s holiness. Heb. 4:12-13 says that the Word is double-edged, and God wields it while at the same time seeing everything in the heart of every creature—we are “naked and exposed” before him. If our righteous deeds, like loving another human as much as we can, are but filthy rags before our holy God, then we must all repent of our sinful loves, know that Christ took them on himself, and then submit them to the law for transformation (3rd Use! Right after Law then Gospel!).


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