This is part three of four entries starting on July 14, 2006
I sometimes wonder whether all pleasures are not substitutes for joy.
There are two kinds of people: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, “All right, then, have it your way.”
The real problem is not why some pious, humble, believing people suffer, but why some do not.
~Quotes from C.S Lewis, taken from Eternal Perspectives
The venerable Lewis puts the point on my pencil today. He argues (at great length in other writings) that our life in this world is a pale reflection of the life that awaits us. Moreover, he calls us to recognize that we will most likely have to face a good deal of sacrifice in this life if we intend to be followers of Jesus.
And that is precisely my point relative to sexuality between the worlds. We have to be willing to submit our sexual attitudes to God, rather than assume they are ours alone to express. Lewis also said,
Much of the modern resistance to chastity comes from men’s belief that they ”own” their bodies- those vast and perilous estates, pulsating with the energy that made the worlds, in which they find themselves without their consent and from which they are ejected at the pleasure of Another!
So, the question becomes, does God think itâ€™s any big deal that we express our sexuality heterosexually and monogamously, or isnâ€™t that just a vestige of the old Puritan ethic?
Jody and I have written a soon-to-be-published book about submission titled, After the War, Weâ€™re Having a Party. I discuss that question in chapter ten. The next few paragraphs are an excerpt that addresses the issue.
The interdependent union between husband and wife is the clearest image of God that we have. A clue to the intimacy of that relationship is in Genesis 1:27-28: â€œAnd God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them; and God said to them, â€˜Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earthâ€¦â€™ â€ (emphasis mine).
There is something in the triune nature of God that is revealed in the â€œtwo-becomes-oneâ€ imagery of the bride and bridegroom.
I believe the great significance of this union is the reason that the covenant of marriage suffers constant attack, and the sanctity of sexual union is relentlessly abased in our culture. Why wouldnâ€™t they be a target when sexuality and covenant are two illustrations of the essential nature of God, and of his relationship with his creation?
It is often said, as though the statement were beyond discussion, that humans are â€œsexual beings.â€ I would argue that fundamentally we are spiritual beings. Certainly, we have a sexual component, and that is pretty important, but at the core of things, we were made to function spiritually. [Thatâ€™s the skill we are to be learning in our transitional community here.]
At creation God might well have skipped sex and made us something quite different. It was, after all, up to him. Assuming God is not arbitrary about design, there must have been a reason for giving creation a sexual component. Could it be that His created ones were going to need something that would help them understand God, who is an utterly unique being? The instant humans learned to use the pronoun, â€œHimâ€ when referring to their Creator, they would know something about God. By assigning a gender to the creator, there is a point of comparison from which we can deduce Godâ€™s nature. Adam and Eve (and all human beings) were able to know about God because â€œHeâ€ gave them a point of reference. For example, we know God is like a Father and that good fathers protect, care for, and discipline the children they love. God chose to make Himself a Father so we can draw similar conclusions about Him. We know God is like a husband, and that husbands are to be bound by covenant to their bride, and that covenant should be unbreakable. We know that fruitfulnessâ€”reproductionâ€”requires woman and man, husband and wifeâ€”a reflection of Godâ€™s multifaceted nature.
Marriage binds people together in unbreakable union because Godâ€™s nature is seamless and multifaceted; his covenants are unbreakable. Indeed, because the covenant of marriage is a living (call it prophetic) image of God, it ought to be held in the highest, most reverent regard. This is why promiscuity or homosexuality is wrong, because God casts himself in the role of the husband of His creation, which is His counterpart, in an eternal covenant. To trivialize or subvert the representation of covenant intimacy between male and female is to defile the image of God that is woven into fabric of creation by the very strands of our DNA.