Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation’s final law
Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek’d against his creed
Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam A. H. H. (Canto 56), 1850
We do not find comfort in nor do we long for struggle. Our humane spirit finds no joy in imposing death on others or in the killing of life simply for the pleasure of asserting our superiority. While nature is red in tooth and claw, death and violence affect us negatively. If struggle is the fuel of the evolutionary engine, and evolution is our mother and creator, we should find some form of comfort in the struggle. Indeed, according to evolutionary theory, we are the result and pinnacle of millions of years of struggle and death carving out and forming life. Yet, as the alleged favored children of this process, we do not favor, appreciate, or find comfort in the supposed forces of evolutionary advancement.
The front-runner in a marathon, or in any race, finds a comfort and synchronicity when participating in the event. In contrast, those at the other end of the event, the stragglers and “losers” in the event are rarely in a comfort zone; they rarely feel on top of the circumstances of the event. The stragglers and strugglers rarely appreciate and find comfort in their circumstance. In the evolutionary theory of origins, we are the front-runner in the struggle of life. We are the most adept and sophisticated life form. As the evolutionary front-runner, we should find some form of comfort in the “rules” of evolution. We should feel a certain comfort in death and struggle, or at the very least, we should accept and appreciate blood and struggle as the necessary element of creation and strength. Instead, we generally revolt against such attributes. Death and struggle do not comfort us; they do not feel natural. Scripture teaches us quite to the contrary, that death is an “enemy.” (1 Cor. 15:26) We build museums and monuments to motivate ourselves to resist such brutalities as Nazism and Communism. The brutal Spartan ethos is the rare exception, not the rule.
The God of the Bible is love. God is love. Did love create us, or are we the byproduct of struggle and death? Of course, scripture speaks clearly on this. So too does our nature. Our hearts and souls long and fight for love. Unless we’ve been tragically broken, we find no solace in death or in pain or brutality. Instead of being at peace with the alleged engines of evolution, our hearts and souls revolt and protest against death and struggle. We find our strongest motivations and comfort in love, which is close to an antecedent of the supposed creative forces of evolution. Perhaps the single greatest force in an individual’s life, outside forces of nature, is the power of love.
Nothing has a greater impact on the formation of a person than love applied or misapplied during childhood. Love motivates people to give up their lives, both figuratively and literally, for others. Love of country, of an idea, and of another are the single greatest motivating factor of human existence. Love and its derivatives of empathy and compassion are generally admired by all people over all times. There are occasions throughout history where civilizations have eschewed these virtues, but we remember these civilizations for their barbarity.
The human sensitivity and proclivity toward love, while perfectly consistent with the God revealed throughout the Bible, is wholly inconsistent with the evolutionary narrative. It is love, not death, that drives and motivates us. It was love, not the struggle for life, that made us.
Indeed, as scripture teaches, love is a stronger force than death. In the body of Christ, love literally overcame the grave. Even in our common existence, we see evidence of love being a more compelling force than death. There is hardly a decent parent that would not immediately forfeit his or her life for their children. Every day, our service members give up their lives for each other and for their country. Firemen and police officers routinely put themselves in harm’s way so that others may be safe, many regularly forfeiting their lives for others. This is mankind made in the image of God, an image of mankind that all decent humans hold dear to their hearts and celebrate. Such a selfless, sacrificing person and ethos, this imago dei, is antithetical to the theoretical man of evolution.
Years ago, I read of a study on divorce that revealed that the death of a spouse took less of a toll on the surviving spouse, in terms of stress and emotional trauma, than does divorce on the faithful spouse. An unwanted divorce causes more trauma to the faithful spouse than death causes on the surviving spouse. Death involves separation for this life. Divorce however involves the betrayal of love and of the promise to be loved. It often involves at least one of the spouses denying love. Death does not involve love entirely lost, it involves the loss of the object of our love. It is more difficult to lose love than the object of the love. Much of the trauma in the loss of a loved one is the lost opportunity to further share love and in no longer receiving love from them. While the loss of the object of love can cause great trauma, if love was not betrayed or spurned, the grieving person can continue loving the departed and fondly cherish the memories of sharing that love together. Not so in the case of an unwanted divorce.
I do not mean to understate the pain of death. The sane amongst us find no comfort in the dead and dying. Comfort is not found in death even with the faith that death and struggle fueled the supposed evolutionary engines. To the contrary, death stings. But it does not sting equally. We weep bitterly over the loss of a loved one. However, we hardly bat an eye when we read of thousands dying in some faraway place or read of some stranger that died in a nearby accident. The deaths that affect us are the deaths of those we love. Without love, death has little impact. There may be horror at the circumstances and suffering, but there is comparatively little suffering in comparison to the loss of those we cared for.
Our Lord experienced and demonstrated pain at the loss of love. I find Jesus’ weeping at Lazarus’ tomb fascinating. Jesus knew he was going to raise Lazarus. Jesus knew he held the keys to life and death. Jesus knows eternity. Yet he wept. His friend died and others close to Jesus and Lazarus suffered. During the extreme duress and suffering of the passion, scripture records Jesus crying out once. It wasn’t when the Pharisees beat him and pulled out his beard. It wasn’t when he was scourged or fell under the weight of his cross. It wasn’t even when the nails were driven through his ankles and wrists. He cried out when the sins of the world were laid upon him and the Father turned his back. The most intimate and purest loving relationship and fellowship was severed – the Father turned his back. That was the agony that caused Christ to cry out.
Love is the purest form of living. Love provides foundation and motivation to live. Love never fails and never ends. Love is eternal. We know love is not supposed to be temporary, corrupted, interrupted or conditional. Our soul was made to love and be loved. It was made for fellowship with the eternal God, who is perfect love. The soul aches in this fallen world under the curse, where love is betrayed and death interrupts, too often and without warning. Love made us for a better day, and not blind, violent forces of nature. Love created us. Love also offers to save and perfect us if we will let Him.