Saturday, September 6, 2008

C.S. Lewis on Sex in Heaven

From Miracles:

'The letter and spirit of scripture, and of all Christianity, forbid us to suppose that life in the New Creation will be a sexual life; and this reduces our imagination to the withering alternatives either of bodies which are hardly recognisable as human bodies at all or else of a perpetual fast. As regards the fast, I think our present outlook might be like that of a small boy who, on being told that the sexual act was the highest bodily pleasure, should immediately ask whether you ate chocolates at the same time. On receiving the answer "No," he might regard absence of chocolates as the chief characteristic of sexuality. In vain would you tell him that the reason why lovers in their carnal raptures don't bother about chocolates is that they have something better to think of. The boy knows chocolate: he does not know the positive thing which excludes it. We are in the same position. We know the sexual life; we do not know, except in glimpses, the other thing which, in Heaven, will leave no room for it. Hence where fullness awaits us we anticipate fasting. In denying that sexual life, as we now understand it, makes any part of the final beatitude, it is not of course necessary to suppose that the distinction of sexes will disappear. What is no longer needed for biological purposes may be expected to survive for splendour. Sexuality is the instrument both of virginity and of conjugal virtue; neither men nor women will be asked to throw away the weapon they have used victoriously. It is the beaten and the fugitives who throw away their swords. The conquerors sheathe theirs and retain them."

3 comments:

Eric Breaux said...

God creating Eve for Adam to cure loneliness, so marriage won't exist in the the renewed creation because of how many people there are now, is inconsistent. If simply being more aware of God's presence and love makes marriage unnecessary, than God would have had no reason to create gender and sex to fulfil a different kind of intimate desire to begin with, because God and Adam had exactly that kind of relationship we'll have with him in the renewed creation, before Eve was made. God still made the marriage union and different genders and the ability to reproduce from sexual attraction. Death being the reason for reproduction contradicts us having that ability during conditions when death wasn't a factor. At the beginning God said for us to be fruitful and multiply, giving no indication it was to ever stop. Sexual desire for someone your married to isn't even sin, so there's another reason it doesn't need to be destroyed. Food isn't necessary for an immortal life either, but the only creation of God that isn't renewed is the intimate marriage relationship with couples, which produces much greater joy and pleasure than food? That makes no sense. Just because some people manage to not care if they can continue having a sinless sexually intimate relationship with someone for eternity, doesn't make it fair to teach that those who do care should just get over it somehow.
Jesus was only referring to the act of marrying and being given in levirate marriage anyway, not the actual state of being married. Being married to Jesus is meant metaphorically, and is supposed to be how believers relate to him now, so being married to him contradicts the prudish interpretation of people neither marrying or being given in marriage at the resurrection. We couldn't be married to Jesus then either. The description is given of God as a husband to his people in parts of the old testament. That wasn't meant to sever marriages of male and female couples anymore than being described as married to Jesus is. We see that the creation account of Genesis and old testament descriptions of God being married to his people contradict the prudish interpretation of what Jesus taught about the future fate of marriage. Bible scholars N. T. Wright and Ben Witherington have studied the context of what Jesus said about marriage to the sadducees. https://youhavehearditsaid.wordpress.com/.../no.../... https://precepts.wordpress.com/.../marriage-in-the.../

Suzanne DeWitt Hall said...

Hi Eric,

I'm not sure why, but I didn't get a notification about your comment, and so just stumbled upon it now.

I love that you've given this degree of thought to God's design for sex, because given it's importance in scripture, I think there is significance for us. (Hence this blog's existence.)

Thanks for the links; I'll go have a look!

Anonymous said...

Good points, Eric. I tend to agree. The prudish notion of man-woman relations in the afterlife borders on gnosticism (flesh being evil stuff).