15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
At first, to not love the world may seem a strict command. There are people in the world, aren’t there? And good things God has made? In a sense it is a relative command, that our love for God the Father should be of such a quality that any attention we pay the world is hate by comparison.
There is another way to read this, though, and John gives us a clue. He summarizes “all that is in the world,” in verse 16 as, “the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes and pride of life.” This has a significant similarity to the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.
‘When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate (Genesis 3:6).
Good for food, gratifying the flesh; delight to the eyes, desires of the eyes, and; to be desired to make one wise, the pride of life. The fruit was a simple piece of fruit. Had God offered it to Adam and Eve, it would have been delicious nourishment. When He commanded them not to eat it and they did anyway, it became the ruination of the race. Anything with the potential to thus alienate us from God and bring us to death is not worthy of our love.