Love itself can become a counterfeit god. In fact, it can become “apocalyptic romance” — that is, love can be used to attempt to gain transcendence, meaning, and ultimate joy.
Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC, in Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters treats love as one of our counterfeit gods.
And Keller’s touches on the hook-up where the claim is that sex can be divorced from love. “Don’t bet on it,” he observes.
He anchors this chp in the Jacob and Rachel story from Genesis. Jacob idolized Rachel; got Leah; worked even longer to get Rachel. The whole story is about the idols of love.
Here Keller does something that evoked my appreciation: instead of moralizing the story (he does some psychologizing no doubt) he sketches the meaning of this story in light of the regula fidei, the story that comes to climax in Jesus Christ. There’s cosmic disappointment here: if you sink your soul’s teeth into love, into another person, you will experience profound disappointment at some point. When you wake up in the morning of such orientation, you find Leah and not the Rachel of your dreams. The stereotype desires of both males and females do not find their intended aim in any human person.
Leah points the way: she looks to God to release her from misery and she gives birth to a son named Judah who points the way toward Messiah. The solution to apocalyptic romance is to find true love in Christ. Like Leah, he too became the man nobody wanted.