The Times: Does Love Make You Sick?

By Timothy R Butler | Posted at 12:01 AM

One of my news hound friends who sends me whatever is going on in the news sent a quirky little piece from the Times of London appropriate for this weekend. The article is disappointingly cynical about love, but some of the quotes were good for amusement. I do have to deconstruct the conclusion and provide my own take on the matter, however. :)

Romantic love can be so confusing that sometimes you simply want to give up on the whole thing and concentrate on the nature of dark matter, or macroeconomics, or something else less tiring.

Any article that realizes that macroeconomics and love are roughly as comprehensible has something right. However, while macroeconomics has done vastly more harm than good (I'm looking at you, Lord Keynes), love is — despite the pain — ultimately a good thing as part of the creational intent for human beings. The pain may be a result of the Fall, but the Fall has not managed to totally corrupt God's handiwork.

Plato said that love is a mental disease. Modern researchers agree enthusiastically, categorising love as a form of madness and echoing what psychologists have been telling tearful patients for years. (There are certain shrinks who refuse to treat people in the early throes of love because they are too insane to do a thing with.) Currently, scientists are having a genteel academic squabble over whether love most closely resembles the manic phase of bipolar disorder or the characteristics seen in obsessive compulsive disorder.

Insane, indeed. For my money, I think OCD fits better than manic phases. Either way, if that was all one thought about love it might be reason to argue against it. Sadly, the author seems to find the whole idea of love troublesome enough to start arguing that at least certain key parts of it are mere cultural baggage,

The idea that every human heart, since the invention of the wheel, was yearning for its other half is a myth.

Well, maybe the author was right; that yearning doesn't go back to the wheel. It goes back further, to the Garden, to Adam. For all the splendor and goodness of God's creation, not everything was good. “The LORD God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him'” (Gen. 2.18 NIV). One of the three creational mandates for humanity from God is marriage and really the yearning of the heart is the yearning for Eden, the yearning to achieve the creational intent God has for us.

Some have questioned that intent's validity post-fall, especially in the present era. Yes, Adam and Eve enjoyed for awhile something more perfect than can exist in the fallen world, but that doesn't invalidate the creational design here any more than the difficulty of labor eliminates the properness of working or separation from God argues against worship. While the article raises some interesting points, outside of a creational understanding of the world, it ends up missing the point.

But, come on, the macroeconomics reference was amusing, wasn't it?


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