Eros In ‘The Song Of Songs’

The markedly Daemonic religion of the Jews had an Eros side. The figure that Ezekiel saw on God’s throne, often called in Jewish Tradition ‘The Creator’, is interpreted by many Jews as the same figure celebrated in the exalted love poem of Eros, ‘The Song of Songs.’ The Bride, who is the human soul, describes her Lover, who is the God of Eros, in these mystical–erotic terms=

My beloved is fresh and ruddy,
to be known among ten thousand.
His head is golden, purest gold,
his locks are palm fronds
and black as the raven.
His eyes are doves
at a pool of water,
bathed in milk,
at rest on a pool;
his cheeks are beds of spices,
banks sweetly scented.
His lips are lilies,
distilling pure myrrh,
His hands are golden, rounded,
Set with jewels of Tarshish.
His belly a block of ivory
Covered with sapphires.
His legs are alabaster columns.

The Eros imagery here, and throughout ‘The Song of Songs’, is subtle and far reaching. Eros reveals God as the Lover of his creation, seeking mystical, sacred, ontological, Union with his Beloved. Symbolically, God is ‘He’ and all of creation is ‘she.’ Thus God is divinity and creation is the ‘soul’ receiving divinity into her house, her bed chamber, her altar, her entire nature. All the imagery in this short passage speaks of and reveals the Eros—soul axis as fundamentally incarnational.

The liturgy says to God, in song, “with your right hand you have planted a vineyard.” Only Eros plants a garden in creation and in humanity, and brings it to fruition.

Western Christianity, especially Protestantism, has forgotten and ignored the Eros side of God in the Old Testament. In that process, they have also turned the Daemonic God of the Old Testament into Satan the Accuser= a sadistic and cruel, bullying ‘patriarch’, who rules humans like an earthly tyrant brooking no questionings of, no deviations from, his iron fist that lays down the immutable rules and regulations; this hateful ‘god’ also regards humans as wholly fallen into sin, and thus worthless and ugly, but will allow his ‘son’ to take the punishment meant for humans, entailing humans must accept this ‘let-off’ bought for them by the one blasted and crushed in their place, or face eternal hell. As a Greek theologian recently said, Western Atonement actually means God is the threat whom we must be saved from! This remark hits the nail on the head, and it is true because the ‘god’ of this branch of the Western Tradition is indeed Satan the judge and jury, Satan who uses morality to condemn humans forever. This is how Satan is portrayed in The Book of Job. If Satan tempts human weakness, it is only so he can then convict the human crime as irredeemable. Out of this Satanism at the heart of Western Christianity came rationalism, puritanism, and what an old friend once called the ‘moralic acid’ of harsh judgementalism. The God of Eros washes way, in a great wall of rushing water, all these false Western ‘isms.’

Eros= ‘the God of light and wine’; the Daemonic= ‘the God of dark and fire.’