For centuries philosophers have debated “the problem of evil,” but an equally valid but rarely discussed question is “the problem of pleasure.” Where did that originate? Why is sex fun? Why do we find beauty, food, music, and humor enjoyable? How do we account for these delights?
English writer G. K. Chesterton felt Christianity gives the only plausible explanation. He saw pleasure as scattered remnants washed ashore from a shipwreck. We are the survivors of the sinking of a golden ship that went down before the beginning of the world. Here and there, relics of a glorious past are to be found— tokens of a time when pleasure flourished in lavish abundance. They are leftovers from Paradise.
These vestiges of beauty, joy, and sheer goodness on our scarred planet resonate deeply with our hearts. They are reminders that we were meant to live in a better world that once was. They are traces of the “enormous bliss” (as John Milton put it) of a garden named Eden.
– Jurgen Schulz
Evil’s greatest triumph may be its success in portraying religion as an enemy of pleasure when, in fact, religion accounts for its source: every good and enjoyable thing is the invention of a Creator who lavished gifts on the world.
– Philip Yancey
In a break with the mystical heritage of the church, Bonhoeffer maintained that Christianity involves not the negation of earthly desires but their celebration and sanctification. Sin is not the natural but the unnatural, not the human but the inhuman. Whereas in his earlier writings he portrayed the things on earth as temptations and snares leading us to forgetfulness of God, he now regarded them as welcome gifts from God, since they serve human preservation and happiness. He even claimed that God can be found in earthly bliss as well as in the church… sin is not only an affront to God but a putting down of humanity. Sin is in the last analysis inhumanity, and salvation is the realization of true humanity…
– Donald G. Bloesch
Pleasure is designed to raise our sense of God’s goodness, deepen our gratitude to him, and strengthen our hope of richer pleasures to come.
– J. I. Packer
Any patch of sunlight in a wood will show you something about the sun which you could never get from reading books on astronomy. These pure and spontaneous pleasures are ‘patches of Godlight’ in the woods of our experience.
– C. S. Lewis
If one oversteps the bounds of moderation, the greatest pleasures cease to please.
When something good becomes a god, the pleasure it brings dies in the process.
– Kyle Idleman
The young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God.
– Bruce Marshall