Dispel the Loveless Nightmare

Darwinian theorists say that our obsessive selfishness is programmed into our genes. No disagreement there. We know that. The Bible describes the effects of the fall as pervading everything. This would include the genetic level.

But they hypothesize that the reasons for this selfishness is survival and procreation. Our genes want to save themselves.

Well, frankly, this doesn’t do our selfishness justice. There is a deeper depravity at work. We don’t want to merely survive; we want to subjugate. We don’t merely want to procreate; we want to possess. Down to our very genes, we want to rule our world and be worshiped by others. Our genes aren’t merely selfish. They have a God delusion.

But there’s another dimension to all of this that makes this theory a horror. If Darwinian theorists are right, then all forms of love and virtue are genetic illusions. They don’t exist outside the human psyche. Which means they don’t really exist. Love is fundamentally a utilitarian mirage adapted by our genes through natural selection to be among the most effective means (yet) of our survival.

When love becomes no more than an illusion, life becomes a nightmare. People begin to see love as the photo negative of First Corinthians Thirteen:

Love is selfish. Love is kind when it’s useful, and cruel when it’s useful. Love uses envy as a motivator and flattery as a lubricator; it uses humility as a manipulator, and arrogance as a dominator. Love resents obstacles to self-advancement and rejoices with self-exaltation. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things that advance the self. For at bottom we love ourselves and self-love never ends.

No! Everything in us should scream no! This is the love of hell. It is the domain of darkness (Colossians 1:13). Even in our selfish depravity, humans know this is horribly wrong.

This is a satanic nightmare and Jesus came to wake people out of it. Love exists for “God is love” (1 John 4:8)! And he means for us, his church, his kingdom of love on earth, to say by our very existence, “Not true!” to the lie of lovelessness.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (John 3:16), and “greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). When love like this is demonstrated, God’s existence is demonstrated.

This means that no matter what you do today, your highest call, your most important work, is to love. This comes from Jesus himself: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (John 13:34).

You may not be able to go toe-to-toe with a Darwinian theorist over scientific evidence or a materialist philosopher over sophisticated arguments. But by the grace of God you can love. It is the most compelling apologetic for God’s existence and Christ’s sacrifice on earth: “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

So, with all our hearts “let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7). Let us “love one another with brotherly affection [and] outdo one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10).

And “may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all” (1 Thessalonians 3:12) so that some caught in the devil’s nightmare will wake to the overwhelmingly joyful reality of love.


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Jon Bloom (@Bloom_Jon) is the author of Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith and serves as the President of Desiring God, which he and John Piper launched together in 1994. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Pam, their five children, and one naughty dog.