We propose that the underlying cause of chronic anxiety and depression is the fear that creation is loveless, whereas the fact that creation is the outcome of unconditional love will heal.
If you accept, even subliminally, the Biblical account of Adam and Eve, you buy into the dreadful condemnation that you were born into sin. If the Theory of Evolution is what you are more comfortable with, you accept chance and the survival of the fittest as your modus operandi. Both of these explanations of creation provide plenty of reason to fear because love is nowhere to be found them. In the first case, it nurtures a state of guilt, and a remote hope for redemption - in the second, it spawns a mode of operation based on probability - no unconditional love anywhere to be found. Plenty of reason to fear and to be anxious and depressed!
The words of St John, perhaps the most inspired writer of the Bible, give us reason for hope:
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.”
Let’s look at this more carefully…
1. “There is no fear in love.” Fear and love cannot co-exist, any more than light and darkness can co-exist.
2. “…but perfect love casteth out fear.” This is a clarification of what kind of love is being referred to… unconditional love, with whom there is no variableness nor shadow of turning. Elsewhere in the Bible it states definitively that “God is love.” This is certainly not sensual or personal love!
3. “because fear has torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” - - anyone suffering from anxiety and depression can attest that it is torment and is loveless!
4. “We love him because he first loved us.” If we ignore the second part of this “because he first loved us” we are missing the boat. Though we may get a certain sense of self-satisfaction when we profess our love for God, it will not alleviate chronic anxiety and depression.
“Because he first loved us” is the assertion that creation is the product of perfect Love. It flat-out contradicts, both the Bible depiction in Genesis 2 & 3 where God that curses the man of His own creation, and the Theory of Evolution which leaves us with probabilities and no moral element at all!
In Genesis 1 it states that God made man in His image and likeness, and gave him dominion, declaring, when it was done, the whole thing was very good. This is what is meant by “Because he first loved us.” - the unmerited favor of our Creator! ”We love him because he first loved us” is an acknowledgement of who, what, and why we are. - very different from assuming we are somehow entitled because we love Him!
Inevitably, the question surfaces, what about the bad stuff? — The Adam and Eve story was an attempt to explain it. But can we not agree that a perfect God who is love could not be responsible for or even cognizant of the bad!! The mathematics comparison is helpful here - the laws of math are not responsible for the mistakes made in solving mathematical problems. Imagine if the study of math required the study of all possible mistakes as well - a bottomless pit. Similarly, if we pursue the study of the bad stuff (aka evil) we will descend into the bottomless pit where anxiety and depression are normal and justified.
But when we rise above this morass, are we not talking about the realm of Spirit in Genesis 1? Yes, of course. Is that not rather otherworldly? Well, is God not Spirit? Does that make Him otherworldly?
To illustrate, let’s take a look at the 91st Psalm which talks about a place, but not a geographic location, it talks about feathers and wings, of pestilence and arrows, of lions and adders, etc., none of it can be found, except in thought, as images of thought.
This Psalm shows us the way out of anxiety and depression, no more wondering whether we can make it or not, no guilt trips here - but a place of total protection, of strength, of perfect love which drives out fear.
…where anxiety and depression are otherworldly, and have no place with us here and now.