SECULAR INTRUSION INTO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

In a recent posting I noted the influence of Greek thought and customs on the early Christian Church, particularly in its perception of sexuality as being intrinsically evil. This perception has been a constant factor from the beginning of the Church Age all they way to the present and, in fact, was supported by the false pseudo-scientific notions of the past few centuries, including evolution and uniformitarianism, which remain deeply entrenched in secular thought to this day.

The problems caused by this intrusion are but one facet of a much bigger issue that began with Adam’s fall.

Genesis 2:18,21-25:

“And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help fit 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.”

The Bible doesn’t say explicitly that Adam and Eve had intercourse before their fall. The sequence of events as chronicled in Genesis may be interpreted, in fact, to suggest that they did not. Nevertheless, we don’t know that, nor do we know how long they were together before they fell. What we do know is that they were fully equipped for intercourse and that Adam, at least, through his statement of cleaving unto his wife, was fully aware of what that equipment was for.

And, being aware of that use, he was not ashamed of it. The innocence that Adam and Eve enjoyed before their fall was not their freedom from sexuality. To the contrary, it was their freedom from shame.

Then came the fall, as noted in Genesis 3:6 and 7:

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”

We find that the shame of sexuality came immediately after the fall and was a result of it. The fall, as many theologians perceive, caused the spiritual death of mankind. Before the fall, I would suggest, the Holy Spirit indwelt man as is the case with Christians. Partaking of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, I would suggest further, caused the substitution of the spirit of man for the Spirit of God, giving man a mind of a thoroughly secular nature, one that, while acknowledging the existence of God, was unable to commune with Him with the intimacy that both he and God once enjoyed.

God’s solution to that immense loss was the sacrifice of Jesus, as foretold in his command to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. As a result of that loving act, mankind was given the gift of life, as promised in John 3:16:

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The essence of that gift is the indwelling Holy Spirit, promised to all believers in John 14:15-18:

“If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeith him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.

What this gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit means to Christians is nothing less than a regaining of that which was lost in the fall of Adam: a cancellation of their spiritual death through a rebirth in the Spirit, as promised in John 3:1-8:

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews; the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God; for no man can do these miracles doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?

“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it willeth, and thou hearest the sound of it, but canst not tell from where it cometh, and where it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

Through this rebirth we have been given the opportunity to regain our communication and intimacy with God. Provided that we are obedient to God in our practice of it, we also can regain our innocence in sexuality and thus be free to enjoy without shame this intrinsically beautiful gift from God. Moreover, this freedom from shame should permit us to restore in innocence the attribute of gender to our understanding of the Godhead itself. If only we ask.

The ever-present problem with our spiritual rebirth is that, being so laden down with secular customs and understandings, we fail to perceive the wonderful freedom that has been opened to us through that rebirth. In John 16, Jesus speaks of His death, resurrection and second advent. In verses 23 and 24, He appears to be speaking specifically of the joy that is available to us after His resurrection:

“And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.”

To be sure, in John Chapter 16, Jesus also speaks of the tribulation that the world will impose upon Christians. Indeed, several of our previous postings have presented details of just such events in the expectation that we soon may be participants in such unhappy events. But the point is that tribulations come from the secular world, not God. In the midst of general persecution, even suffering, we can still, if we only ask, partake of the joys that our spiritual rebirth entitles us to, and which the secular world wishes to deny us.

It seems starkly apparent that even many Church Fathers, devout as they must have been, were so burdened by secular thought that they failed to fully receive the promised freedom of spiritual rebirth. Born again, they yet failed to accept the innocence that was their due. Instead, they wallowed in their sexual shame as if they were still fallen, and in that shame they castrated their God in their misunderstanding of the meaning of purity.

Examples abound of failures to receive God’s blessings in that and other areas of man’s interaction with God. The Catholic priesthood didn’t quite live up to the demand for celibacy. That certainly didn’t end well. Many Protestant Churches claim, principally on the basis of the unjustified interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13, based on an isolation of a Scriptural passage, that the gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased, either upon the death of the last apostle or on the canonization of Scripture. They are opposed by a less rigid community who happily enjoy the gifts that supposedly don’t exist, although there are those among them who tend to overdo things. The Jewish community was heavily influenced by its traditions and rituals, in addition to simple self-centered pride and arrogance, to reject the Jesus who came in the flesh for its behalf. We all know how that worked out, although we must admit that, according to Paul, God had a hand in their blindness for the sake of the gentiles.

Is it possible that God also had a hand in our rejection by Christianity of all gender associations with Him? If He did, is it possible that He may have done so in order that we would be unable, upon finally meeting Jesus face-to-face, to crow about our superiority to the Jews for our superior vision when, in fact, we had been so blind in another important matter of faith?

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by estherdwumaa on March 15, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Thank you for your article, it is very interesting, especially concerning losing the spirit, which is a very poignant concern. I have been pondering a lot about gender and Christianity and especially the perceived gender of God and I realize you have touched upon it briefly. Can I ask what you think about gender, God, the Bible and Christianity and please, I would love it if you read my articles about God, Christainity and gender at estherdwumaa.wordpress.com and dwumaaesther.wordpress.com

    Reply

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