16.4.05

In Response to Anthony and Aaron

First off, as you can see Aaron, you did not comment as other :)

Anthony I am surprised that someone who believes in the total constructedness of sexual identity seems to fail to apply the same concept, at least in some degree, to your idea of love. I guess my problem with the whole thrusting of the concept of desire into love is that it, in my mind, seems to rely heavily on very modern day concepts of love, and even relationships. I believe there is good reason that 1 Cor. 13 has been given to us, among other biblical texts, as guides to love. As is oft noted by those who defend homosexuality within the debate in the church, ideas were not the same then as they are now.

Its great that you can say the feelings you have for your boyfriends are often the same as those you have for God, this despite the fact that you insist on rejecting the very idea of a relationship with God. It is also natural, in my opinion, and especially so if, at least in the abstract, one accepts the idea of a 'relationship' with God. However, while I don't think this is bad, and I do believe that one of the things revealed in the incarnation of Christ is that God is here to meet us in the very historical situatedness of our lives, I have trouble when we start moving from that horizon of our existence towards aspects of God himself. I am aware that sexual desire, and love in an erotic sense, is evident in the bible, most notably in the Song of Songs, which is why I don't think I can outright say that the idea of a relationship between desire and love is wrong (I would definitely be on gaurd against replacing a modern concept of love with some kind of platonic one) but I also think that we need to seek more consistency in what we take to be God meeting us where we are and what we take to be the character/nature of God himself.

This of course leads into the whole confusing manner of what it means when we say 'God is Love'. For example, does that mean wherever we see the word 'Love' in a biblical truth assertion context (a la 1 cor. 13) we can replace the word 'God' for love? What about the idea, which I agree with that love is not a feeling, meaning that to too closely inflate love and desire is a mistake? unless we are going to say desire is not a feeling....?

I hope this isn't too confusing... just trying to think this out gets hard sometimes, so I thought I would put some of my thoughts out there.

Back to Aaron. That is some kind of thorny question :) What do you mean speaking in Christological terms? you mean the implications for his messiaship, his character, his revelation of God? All of the above and more?

I think the answer depends on a lot of other assumptions and/or doctrines one holds. It could mean nothing, or everything. It would also call into question, at least to some extent, the completeness of the biblical texts (in the sense that they communicate everything we need to know, not that they are complete as John directly contradicts). Or maybe it wouldn't, maybe its not something we need to know (a hard thing to imagine consider several of the current raging debates). To be perfectly honest, I have never considered it much, despite the multiple attempts, at a popular level, to promote such an idea.

What do you, and others (most especially anthony, i'm sure :) think it would mean? (which is my polite way of saying that I don't want to put any more thought into this right now, or that I don't have any more thought right now. Either way, someone else can start this one off, for now.)

4 comments:

Aaron said...

Andrew,

Jesus' life as a man is definitely a thorny topic. If we are to believe the author of Hebrews, we konw that we have a High Priest who sympathizes with us on every level. Traditional teaching is that Jesus 'knows everything we deal with.' One of the most important contributions of the historical-critical method since Bultmann is this idea of the Historical Jesus. Under this umbrella is where the humanity of Jesus falls. Why? Because the Gospels certainly don't seem interested in Jesus' humanity. Afterall, Matthew and Luke spend little time on Jesus' childhood, Mark spends no time and John is just different altogether. Then, we are introduced to Paul's high Christology, probably because that's all Paul knew, the Risen Lord.
All this to say, we are left to speculate much on Jesus' humanity. Archeologically and anthropologically, we can piece certain parts of his life that seem "probable." For instance: he probably drank upwards of 1 litre of wine a day, just to ward off the parasites that would have been present in the water. This is similar to the development of spicy food in the Far East and elsewhere. Also, Jesus was not white! He probably wasn't very tall, and he had to have had dark skin and, most likely, a beard. This may all seem like mundane details, but they certainly are not. It leads us to another point. A grown man who was unmarried was either a leper or some other kind of social outcast. It would have been very peculiar for Jesus to not have been married. Why does the Bible leave that information out? Who knows? The authors obviously did not consider it important information. We only know Peter was married because of the reference to his mother-in-law. Paul's family is never mentioned.
You asked what I meant by "Christologically speaking." Basically a good question to ask ourselves is: What would it mean if it were proven that Jesus was married and had children? The DaVinci Code certainly imbues conspiracy, as if a married Jesus collapses everything we know as Christians. Why? In my opinion, it wouldn't matter in the slightest bit. Some however, see Jesus' sinlessness at stake. Others, like yourself, question the completeness of the Bible. I, for one, humbly suggest that the Bible doesn't talk about a lot of stuff that is important and b) Much of Jesus' life is left out; are we to assume that he was never 25 years old?
Respectfully,

Aaron

Andrew said...

Firstly, I didn't actually say anything about what I think. I said it would call into question completeness, or maybe it wouldn't.

I don't think it would necessarily collapse anything we know as Christians, an option I included in saying that maybe it means nothing. If we assume he was married, I see no problem at all. As you point out, this was a detail of Peter's life which we very nearly knew nothing about.

Secondly, when I spoke of the completeness of the bible, I was reffering more in a christological sense, and I should have clarified that. We don't get a complete historical picture of Jesus, especially not in the historical sense we would like to have it today. Without getting into debates of historical consciousness and criticism, lets just say its not the same stuff.

It could mean nothing or everything once again. From my position Jesus having a sex life would be no problem.

PakG1 said...

No, but it would lead to many interesting questions about the children, if any children were conceived and born. Would his sinlessness affect the sinner status children in any way? Possibly not, since the wife would still be of Adam. But I can't imagine that it would have no effect at all.

But this would really seem to be one of those "academic debates for the sake of debate." Not much to gain from it, only an activity to pass the time if you're bored out of your mind and have absolutely nothing else to do? Or is there something significant to learn here that I'm missing?

Andrew said...

I am going to have to agree with you PakG1, that this is a fruitless debate. One of the main reasons I have never put much thought into it, and continue not to.

We will never know if Jesus was married, or if he had children or not, and if he did wether or not they survived. You can say what is likely or unlikely, but we will never know.

Appealing to teaching that jesus knows everything we deal with, specifically the verses in Hebrews I suppose, is equally pointless. The teaching/verse is not meant to say Jesus went through every situation we will, one might as well complain that Jesus never had to deal with a Windows crash killing a hard nights work, it is meant to convey his humanity, his understanding, and the fact that though he was sinless he was tempted. Considering the incredible variety in human life, one would be hard pressed to interpret that teaching to mean anything about specific experiences.

I also disagree with some of the things you say, Aaron, about the gospels interest in Jesus humanity and the history stuff surrounding it, but unless further debate is desired, I'll just leave it at that. This is already getting long enough for its own post, which it will become if needed :)