Judeo-Christian Themes in the Smashing Pumpkins' Oceania, Part 6: Unfailing Love

Unconditional Love

Welcome to the sixth week of my series exploring Judeo-Christian themes in the songs from the album Oceania by Smashing Pumpkins. After six weeks of digging in, we're still discovering some fascinating connections between Billy Corgan's lyrics and concepts in the Bible.

This week's song, "One Diamond, One Heart" stands in direct contract musically from the track before it, "My Love Is Winter." Instead of the driving rock of the latter track - and all the other previous cuts on the album, really - in "One Diamond, One Heart" Corgan backs himself with synthesizers, and the song carries more of a pop feel than the others.

Also, in contrast to the heartbreak and despair of earlier tracks, "One Diamond, One Heart" takes a different tone - Corgan sings of a rare love, one that does not fail:

I'm not here to hold your hand

I'm just here to understand

If you're feeling low I can help

I'm always on your side

Forever near your light

I'm always on your side

However you must fight

Within your darkest night

I'm always on your side

[...]

They won't rush you from me

'Cause here I'll always be

I'm always on your side

Forever near your light

The concept of unfailing love often seems like a pipe dream or fairy tale. We might associate this idea with that of a parent's love, or even a couple who have been married for a long time. But the truth of the matter is that the God of the Bible is the only One whose love absolutely does not fail.

"Unfailing love" is one of my favorite phrases in the Bible. In the NIV translation, the phrase appears 39 times, usually in the book of Psalms:

May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. (Psalm 33:22)

Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him. (Psalm 32:10)

But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. (Psalm 13:5)

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. (Psalm 51:1)

...the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. (Psalm 147:11)

God promises His people that His love will not fail them.

The Lord appeared to us in the past,saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." (Jeremiah 31:1)

The Lord did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. But it was because the Lord loved you and kept the oath he swore to your ancestors that he brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the land of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt.Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. (Deuteronomy 7:7-9)

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lordyour God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

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Jesus Himself spoke at length about God's love:

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:9-17)

And of course, the New Testament writers understood the idea of God's unfailing love for His people - and the fact that true love mirrors His love:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18)

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

A current popular worship song contains the lyrics, "Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me." Those who know, love, and follow the God of the Bible get to experience His true unfailing love firsthand. Corgan expresses this idea from the point of view of the one doling out unfailing love as the narrator of "One Diamond, One Heart," and in a lot of ways it looks like he gets it right.