The Importance of Eros (Romantic Love)

Romantic love is important for all to experience, so all can understand His passion for us.

“God is very clear in his Word that eros love is reserved for marriage. Sex outside of marriage is forbidden. God created humans male and female and instituted marriage in the Garden of Eden. Within marriage, sex is used for emotional and spiritual bonding and reproduction.” Jack Zavada

With the above quote, I will have to respectfully disagree. Never in God’s Word does it say or even exemplify that Eros is for marriage only, only to be between a male and female. But we assume this because marriage includes the act of sex. But wait, I thought we were talking about love? You see, we have made a terrible mistake of understanding Eros as purely sexual desire. While we know it is true that Eros can lead to sexual intimacy, the two still have a distinction between them.

For most Christians, the meaning of Eros is like that of Jack Zavada understanding, who explains on a website called Learning Religions, “Eros (pronounced AIR-ose) love is the physical, sensual intimacy between a husband and wife. It expresses sexual, romantic attraction. Eros is also the name of the mythological Greek god of love, sexual desire, physical attraction, and physical love”. Although what Zavada explains is true, it is not the full meaning of Eros.

I want to share with you two excerpts from the website Patheos. An article entitled Eros Beyond Sex by Michael Bradley explains Eros beautifully:

“What kind of love is eros? In About Love, Pieper states that ‘eros is all demanding and needing love,’ and Lewis agrees, classifying eros as a characteristic ‘need love.’ Eros, then, is apparently something very distinct from philia (friendship), storge (natural affection) or agape-caritas (self-sacrificial love), and at first look it seems obvious that eros is 'lower' than these types of love. Eros is primarily a desire, and desires are appetitive, and appetites indicate the natural inclination to fulfill ourselves. But for what is eros a desire?

At this point, Pieper suggests, one must step back and consider the broader context in which we must always situate questions of the nature of love. Love, of whatever form, is ultimately fulfillment or perfection. Without love, man is not truly himself. Man needs to love and be loved in order to be whole, in order to perfect his nature as a creature. We were created for love, by Love Himself, as St. John attests in his letters.

Given this conceptual framework, eros can be understood as the powerful longing, kindled by the beauty of the beloved, for the achievement of completion or wholeness in the beloved; it elicits in us a deep desire for union or communion with another in which we seek completion. Eros, therefore, openly acknowledges the need for completion in the other. This should not surprise us: if we were made for love, we are incomplete as individuals. The communion of love can only occur between persons; indeed, this reality is expressed fully in one of the central mysteries of Christian faith, the inner life of the Holy Trinity, which can fairly be called a loving communion of persons.”

Jumping down to another section of the article:

“Eros is not purely self-referential or self-seeking, however: it does not seek to instrumentalize the other for the self’s sake. In erotic love, Pieper observes, we say to the beloved, ‘It’s good that you exist—good not just for you, nor just for me, but for us.’ In eros, we find ourselves enchanted by another to the extent that, without much effort, we truly love another as we love ourselves. For many of us, the first time we woke up in the morning and regularly thought about someone other than ourselves was when we were first in love, or in eros. We all have seen how spontaneously and effortlessly we can appreciate and affirm the beloved when we are ‘in love’ with him or her.

At this point, it should be apparent that sexual attraction is quite distinct from eros, just as eros can exist between persons in the absence of sexual attraction. Think of the great mystic saints, like Theresa of Ávila, who express their prayer experiences as rapturous, ecstatic, erotic. Eros and sexual attraction are certainly distinct. Yet there is a reason that they are often considered together.”

If you would like to read the article in full you can do so here.

After reading these excerpts, I want to help us to understand why Eros is needed to be experienced by all. To help us understand that it’s not only given to those in the sacred union of marriage in the traditional sense.

Eros is needed to be experienced by all to help an individual to know the passion and the desire that God has towards us. So, that we can understand Christ love for His bride (the Church). The Bible uses this understanding, as Christ being the Bridegroom because Christ wishes to become ‘one’ with us as only a husband and wife can do, as only the male and the female spiritually can do. God wants us all to experience Love in its fullness, meaning Agape, Philia, Storge, and Eros. Humanity is the one that separated Love to give our minds an understanding of the different expressions of Love, which is fine and helpful. But to go in the Bible and declare that only two people of the opposite-sex can experience Eros together is false teaching, especially when the Bible shows differently but we choose to ignore it because Eros involves sex. And since we’ve been taught sex between individuals of the same gender is forbidden (I will get to that in the next couple of weeks), we have made the individuals of the same gender in the Bible that share Eros together only to be seen as platonic friends. And so, because of this our minds can’t comprehend how two individuals of the same sex can fall in love. I encourage you to read When Two Hearts Become One to learn how two people of the same sex can be in Eros with one another.

Experiencing Eros, and Love in general, is a beautiful experience that God doesn’t keep or give to just one group of people. God wants us all to know and experience the passion and the Love that He has for us as His Church, as His bride. He wants us to know how precious we are to Him. He wants us to know that He loves us like a husband loves his wife, looking at her with passion and deep affection. Christ Loves us as He Loves Himself, which is why He instructs us to do the same. He wouldn't tell us to do something that He does not do Himself.

God wants us to understand the intensity of Love that Christ has for us, which is why it must be experienced. Experiencing this type of Love with God will take our relationship with Him to another level, to a stronger intensity to where we begin to soak in His presence and truly feel whole. That feeling of wholeness and completion we cannot acquire it through another person and it cannot be obtained by this world. But it is only through and by Christ that our wholeness, our perfection can be truly accomplished. Everything else that we try to use to complete us will always fall short and it will never be enough. But God’s passionate, strong, bold, and intense love will always fill us and overflow because He is our Bridegroom.


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