Let me tell you a secret that you probably know already but are not willing to admit. Unconditional love, the kind that pours meaning and significance into your life, is hard to find in another human being because we are all too self-interested and too self-motivated. Our hearts are bent toward protecting and promoting ourselves. It is not hard to see! We live in a culture that constantly measures every relationship by what we get out of it. We stay married only as long as it is benefiting us. We commit to a relationship only until something better comes along. The success of our relationships is measured by our need for love is being met, instead of seeking to meet the need for true love in others.
The Bible speaks clearly to this fact. It calls our bent toward self-interest sin, and it was neither the way humanity nor the world was created originally. Adam and Eve were the first to experience love and it was much deeper than what we call love today. Adam and Eve’s relationship was perfectly woven together with one another, with God, and with the enjoyment of creation around them. There was no self-interest. Instead, their whole lives were shaped by caring for each other, caring for the world around them, and thanking God for the experience. Neither Adam nor Eve ever felt a moment of fear, rejection, or failure.
“You will never find or experience the true love you are looking for in this world alone.”
If you are familiar with the Bible’s story of the first sin, you will remember it involved a simple proposition. Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat from one tree in the Garden of Eden. As Eve passed by, a serpent whispered a temptation. “Eve, if you eat of this fruit you will be like God.” It is strange that the serpent did not tempt Eve with how delicious the fruit looked. The real temptation had nothing to do with appearance. Instead, the Serpent did something more subversive. He offered Eve a thought about herself. Eve asked herself a question she had never wondered before, “What’s in it for me?”
This moment of self-discovery came with massive consequences. Eve ate the fruit and passed it on to her husband who ate it as well. This act of disobeying God led Adam and Eve to the startling realization they had been naked this whole time. It is as if they had been so enjoying one another, and the world around them so much, that they never thought to look down at themselves. For the first time, they felt vulnerable and ashamed. They made clothes to cover and protect themselves.
God discussed their disobedience with them because He knew that all of their relationships were falling apart as a result of their self-interest. Eve blamed the serpent for tempting her. Adam blamed Eve for giving him the fruit and then even went so far as to blame God for giving him Eve in the first place! Neither one wanted to take the blame but was concerned only for their self-interest. It is starting to look more like the world with which we are familiar!
The consequences of disobeying God were the loss of relationships. Adam and Eve would never be allowed back into the perfect garden world. They lost everything. We know their new world of self-interest and self-protection because we carry with us the same sin-bent reality. We long for real love because we were created to love and be loved unconditionally. This is probably the most important point in this entire article. You will never find or experience the true love you are looking for in this world alone. Each of us and the world around us is too soaked in sin. The great news is that there is One who is the very definition of Love and you can be in relationship with Him!