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Aug 29 2012

The everlasting same-sex union of Christ and the church

Just to follow up on my previous post, let’s look at another passage I touched on briefly yesterday.

On that day some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Jesus and questioned Him, asking, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘ If a man dies having no children, his brother as next of kin shall marry his wife, and raise up children for his brother.’Now there were seven brothers with us; and the first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother; so also the second, and the third, down to the seventh. Last of all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.”

But Jesus answered and said to them, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

So the Sadducees are trying to trap Jesus with a question about heterosexual unions after the resurrection, and Jesus’ answer is that heterosexual unions do not exist after the resurrection, because the nature of the resurrected people will have changed to make them like the angels. And Biblical angels, interestingly enough, are all male.

The above is Matthew’s account. Luke’s version is even more explicit:

Jesus said to them, “The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage,but those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; for they cannot even die any more, because they are like angels, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

Notice, no mention of sons and daughters of God. There is no heterosexual union in heaven because they are all sons. Mark’s account is terse, but makes the same point: there are no heterosexual unions in heaven, because man’s nature at that point is changed to be the same as that of the angels, who are all the same sex (at least as presented in the Scriptures). After all, it wouldn’t make much sense for Jesus to say, “No, there are no heterosexual unions among the resurrected, because they’re all heterosexual like the male and female angels.” The conclusion wouldn’t follow from the premise.

So the angels are uniformly male, just like the same-sex all-male Trinity that created them. Ultimately all of us who are to be resurrected are to be resurrected to be like the angels in form and nature, and specifically as same-sex beings, not as opposite sexes capable of forming enduring heterosexual unions.

What we have here is a male sexuality that is eternal and uncreated, since it is part of the eternal nature of the uncreated God. The only possible eternal and uncreated union, before the creation of the world, is a same-sex union—heterosexual unions can’t exist until the opposite sex exists, and the first one of those won’t have been created yet.

But not only is same-sex union the only possible union at the beginning of time, it’s the only possible union at the end of time as well. Heterosexual unions are not forever; they are merely created to reflect, in some imperfect way, the union that will one day exist when Christ and His Bride are all male, like the angels.

Maybe this isn’t what the writers of the Bible originally intended. But who knows? Maybe God, in His infinite wisdom, merely took advantage of their rampant, patriarchal misogyny to inspire them to reveal a deeper homosexual truth that they, in their carnal heterosexual lusts, could not openly countenance. Sure, they attributed a lot of homophobic disgust and hostility to Him, but we all know that they had an imperfect grasp of the deeper spiritual truths they they knew they didn’t know. And the pervasively same-sex nature of eternal unions, both human and divine, is pretty unmistakable once you notice that it’s there. Maybe this really is what God has been trying to tell us all along.

12 comments

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  1. 1
    DonDueed

    Many believers (my late parents among them) fret a good deal about passing into the “life to come” and ensuring that their families do as well, so they can all be together again.

    But what does it mean to be together with your family if you and they are so fundamentally changed? How can you imagine that you’ll be with Mom again if she is now a male (or sexless) angelic being?

    Or, perhaps more pertinent to this passage, how can you look forward to being reunited with your spouse if no marital unions exist in the afterlife?

    It seems that this is another example of Christians failing to understand the implications of their own scriptures, or simply being ignorant of what those scriptures actually say. No excuse in my Dad’s case, though — he was a third-generation Lutheran minister.

  2. 2
    Yellow Thursday

    If there’s no sexual acts in Heaven, I don’t want to go.

    But it seems pretty clear that women don’t get to go to Heaven, since they’re not really people, according to the Bible.

    1. 2.1
      Corvus illustris

      If there’s no sexual acts in Heaven, I don’t want to go

      And what is worse, “Im Himmel gibt es kein Bier …”.

  3. 3
    lpetrich

    This reminds me of the last saying in the Gospel of Thomas, where women have to get sex changes before they can be allowed into Heaven.

    Simon Peter said to Him, “Let Mary leave us, for women are
    not worthy of Life.”

    Jesus said, “I myself shall lead her in order to make her
    male, so that she too may become a living spirit resembling you
    males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the
    Kingdom of Heaven.”

  4. 4
    David

    Sometimes the tortured logic of overly literal readers on the freethought side is just as misleading as the tortured logic of overly literal readers on the fundamentalist side. Not to deny the second class status of women during the period, but there is no reason to think that ancient writers would have used inclusive language if they intended to cover both genders.

    1. 4.1
      Deacon Duncan

      It’s not just the failure to use inclusive language though. Jesus is appealing to the nature of the angels to justify teaching that heterosexual unions will not exist after the resurrection.

      1. Corvus illustris

        JC and Aquinas are going to have to duke it out on this: the latter’s theory of angels has them be “pure spirits” and hence intrinsically asexual. Moreover, an old theology prof of mine asserted (based on some Pauline dictum about there being neither male nor female somewhere or at some future time) that since generation no longer took place after the resurrection, we would be resurrected without genitalia (but–but–we were supposed to get back perfect bodies!). Logic is difficult when you’re working counterfactually …

    2. 4.2
      Corvus illustris

      Trying to use inclusive language in Latin and Greek is awkward and unidiomatic, and what is worse leads to angry red marks on homework papers submitted for correction.

    3. 4.3
      lpetrich

      This is not grammatical gender, but using a word for “male”: http://gospel-thomas.net/log114.htm

      If it’s metaphorical and not about a literal sex change, then what is it a metaphor for? Acting like a tomboy or a butch sort of woman?

      This is the problem of Matthew 19:12, where Jesus Christ recommends that you consider neutering yourself for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. He states elsewhere that you ought to cut off body parts that make you sin, which would suggest a literal interpretation. Or is that all metaphorical?

      What are the ground rules here?

  5. 5
    Jack

    Obviously, the reason that homosexual unions are prohibited for humans is that they are too holy.

  6. 6
    bahrfeldt

    In Genesis, IIRC, Cain (and Seth?), due to the lack of women, married the daughters of the Gods and begat. Jews and Christians assume these “Gods” are angels. Either way, seems to indicate conjugal activity in heaven.

  7. 7
    I'm_not

    I’m confused by gravestones that say “together again” or somesuch beneath the names of a married couple. Chritian marriage vows are made “till death us do part”, death dissolves the marriage, surely?

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