What is the effect on love? Does conduct have a positive effect on love or a neutral effect or a negative effect?
The sourness of godlessness vaccinates us against the illusion conjured up by the serpent that a life lived as gods in godlessness is better than a life lived with God in paradise. It is harsh but effective medicine. God mitigates its harshness by making our lives in godlessness brief. The brevity of life is proof of a merciful God.
We do not take God at His word. His word is not good enough for us. In addition to His word, we demand proof. Our skepticism is not a bad thing but a good thing. Moreover, our skepticism is copacetic with God. In fact, our skepticism is a precious gift from our God.
Our demand for more than the word of God is a defense mechanism that developed in the children of Adam and Eve after the fall of their parents.
The world into which God created Adam and Eve had no predators. Without predators, Adam and Eve had no chance when the serpent suddenly appeared. They were sitting ducks. Without predators, there was no need for Adam and Eve to develop a defense mechanism against them. Without a defense mechanism, Adam and Eve uncritically accepted the propaganda of the serpent that godlessness was a better place in which to live than in paradise. In godlessness, Adam and Eve would be their own gods and, thus, they would not need God any longer. Adam and Eve fell for the malarkey. Innocence, gullibility - call it what you will - coupled with a predator intent on taking them down brought about the fall of man.
God let it happen because the long term benefits to the children of Adam and Eve outweighed the short term costs to Adam and Eve. The fall of man is an example of the harsh but effective medicine that God prescribes for us. The effectiveness outweighs the harshness in the opinion of God. Moreover, who are we to question the opinion of God?
The children of Adam and Eve would be better prepared for the predator. With better preparation, they would be less likely to fall for the malarkey from the serpent. The fall of Adam and Eve was the trigger that woke up our God given gift of rationality - our defense mechanism against the propaganda of the serpent. However, once turned on, rationality is hard to shut off. We apply it to everything including the word of God. God is happy to work with rational creatures. God only has problems with irrational creatures. Like Adam and Eve who ran way from their home with God in paradise, irrational creatures are impetuous to their own detriment. They shoot themselves in the foot.
Thus, the awakening of our God given gift of rationality is a good thing not a bad thing even though it makes us not accept at face value the word of God. God would rather us exercise our God given gift of rationality than not exercise it and be vulnerable to the propaganda of the serpent even though we apply it to the word of God as well. God is fully capable of giving us proof. The serpent is not.
Therefore, when the most Holy Trinity tenderly put the love note into our hands at Bethlehem more than two thousand years ago, they knew that we would not accept their message of love at face value. They had awakened within us a defense mechanism. Thus, it was obvious to the most Holy Trinity that they would have to also give us a guarantee that the love note was genuine to get their message across. Thus, they gave us the guarantee of Calvary. They let us torture and kill the love note. Yet, the love note continued to love us nonetheless. If the love note were counterfeit, it would have faded as we tortured Him and died when we killed Him. But, it did not. Both He and His love for us survived. His survival was proof of His omnipotence. The survival of His love for us was proof of so much more. The survival of His love for us was proof that the nature of God is indestructible love for us. Wow! What a guarantee.
No passion; no proof.
The serpent never let us torture and kill Him. The serpent never sent us a love note. The serpent never gave us a guarantee of genuineness. All the serpent ever gave us was propaganda.
Words are cheap. A guarantee is expensive.
The publication of the omnipotence and the nature of God that took place at Calvary came at a cost. It was not free. Yet, the Son of God paid the cost of publication out of His own pocket. He did not ask the children of Adam and Eve to defray any of the cost even though publication was solely for our benefit. He did not pass the hat. Furthermore, the currency used to pay the cost of publication was the coin of suffering. He paid the cost not from His limitless divine resources but from His limited human resources. He paid it all for us. He kept not a penny for Himself. He has never paid more for anything else. That is how we know that we are dear to Him - quite dear to Him.