Comment: Sexuality: Divine and Human (Part 4)

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Sexuality: Divine and Human (Part 4)

After creating Adam and placing him in the Garden of Eden, God determined that he should have a wife:

And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. - Genesis 2:18-25 KJV

Please note that none of the animals were suitable to be a wife for Adam, and that the solution was for God to make a woman from part of Adam’s body. As God would later command Israel not to “mate different kinds of animals” (Leviticus 19:19 NIV), it appears that the problem was that Adam was not the same kind of being as the animals -– in other words, that he had a different nature, and this difference in nature made it inappropriate for Adam to express eros toward one of the animals. This raises an obvious question: If God and man are different kinds of beings, if the uncreated Divine essence is fundamentally dissimilar to creaturely humanity, then how could God the Son appropriately feel eros for us? I think that the answer is found in the creation account:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.Genesis 1:26-27 KJV

I theorize that humanity being made in the image of the homoousian creates a “point of contact” between the two such that it is at least minimally appropriate for God’s eternal Son to set his romantic affections upon us. Please note that, even after the sin and judgment in the Garden, the image of God remains in mankind, as God affirmed after the Flood:

And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth. And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat. And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein. - Genesis 9:1-7 KJV

At this point, a different objection might be raised: Considering that God made a woman for Adam, and considering that homosexual activity is strongly condemned by God’s law (see Leviticus 18:22), How can it be that God’s Son would have desire not only for female members of our race, but for male members as well? At this point, I recall that historic Christian doctrine affirms that Christ has two natures:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1:1-2, 14 NASB

The preincarnate, eternal Son of God is of one essence with the Father, and I argue that this common essence contains the fullness of sexuality, both male and female; this remains true regardless of the sexual identity of the human nature taken on in the incarnation. The Son, therefore, can legitimately express eros for both male and female humanity. (For the same reason, the entire Church –- male and female –- can, in her role as the bride of Christ, legitimately respond with eros for Christ.)

In taking on a human nature, Christ expanded the grounds for “suitability” with his redeemed bride. We then come to the final aspect of eros compatibility:

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know [ginóskó -- see Part 2] the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. - Ephesians 3:14-19 NKJV

And, again:

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. - 2 Peter 1:2-4 KJV

As I touch on elsewhere, I believe that Holy Communion is the special marital act whereby Christ expresses eros toward us. As Christ lovingly fills us with his fullness, he does more than merely purify our corrupted humanity (important though that is); he actually shares his own Divine nature with us! By his sacrificial, passionate, romantic love, he transforms us so that we are more able to receive that love, and to reflect it back to him. Furthermore, Christians become more like one another as the Divine homoousian is poured into us, and this gives us a greater unity; this may, at least in part, be what is meant in 1 Corinthians 10:17:

Since there is one bread, we who are many are one body; for we all partake of the one bread. - 1 Corinthians 10:17 NASB

On one level, the Gospel is a story of the interplay between agape' (sacrificial love) and eros (sexual love). The Divine, eternal Son of God felt eros for his future, human bride, leading him to come into our world and take on a human nature. He then, in the supreme act of agape', died to redeem his bride from sin, judgment, and death. He now loves us both sacrificially and romantically, and sanctifies us so that we sacrificially care for all, while returning the romantic affection to him. As he graciously shares his nature with us (a process that, I believe, will continue throughout eternity), our marriage will become ever stronger, ever richer, ever more glorious.

A Constitutional, Christian conservative who voted for Ron and stands with Rand