Divine Marriage   Leave a comment

In classical Christian teaching, the divinely sanctioned union of male and female is an image of the relationship of Christ to His church and God to His creation.  This is why sexual immorality was sharply rebuked by the early church. It wasn’t because Paul and the gang were a bunch of prudes or because Jesus was against having fun, but because adultery and fornication changes the relationship of marriage and speaks to theological issues like idoltary and heresy.

Jesus never accidentally said anything and His followers who penned the New Testament wrote at His behest. The early church, including many of those who had known Christ personally, recognized those writings as Scripture. Those were the letters and gospels they chose to copy and distribute throughout the Christian churches at the time. And, those teachings changed the world.

No longer were slaves and women second-class citizens. They were now brothers and sisters in Christ, and in Christ there was no slave or free, rich or poor. Christianity, pre-Nicea, transformed the Greek-speaking world and, more gradually, its neighbors because it called upon its adherents to live a different lifestyle … not to change the culture, but to change themselves. When sufficient numbers of Europeans became Christians, the culture changed because of their influence.

But that positive influence is being eroded in our modern era.

The loss of Christianity’s influence on Western culture is a complicated story involving the rise of humanism (Renaissance), the advent of the Enlightenment, the coming of modernity, and the advance of post-modernism.

The idea that humanity is the highest form of intelligence in the universe arose from the Renaissance, which was an era when very smart people in southern Europe came to the conclusion that they were very smart. At approximately the same time, in northern Europe, wise people began to turn to God in large numbers.  The southern Europeans objected to the displacement of their cultural control mechanism, the Roman Catholic Church. We call what happened the Reformation.  In many ways, the Reformation’s foundation of individual relationship with God resulted in the Englightenment. God is a reasonable deity who communicated with us through reasonable means. Man can think for himself, come to know God and figure out the best way to worship Him without force from a monolithic Church. Unfortunately, left unchecked, these healthy cultural changes devolved over time into modernity.

Philosopher Charles Taylor wrote in A Secular Age, “The entire ethical stance of moderns supposes and follows on from the death of God, and of course, of the meaningful cosmos.” Moderns believe that individual desires are the locus of authority and self-definition. They celebrate autonomous reason.

The loss of the sense that Christianity had anything to do with civilization was gradual. There were many steps along the way, from the concept of dialectical thinking, the pronouncement that God is dead, the Scopes trial, and many others. In the 20th century, casting off restrictive Christian ideals about sexuality became increasingly identified as “healthy”. By the 1960s, the conviction that sexual expression was healthy and good and that sexual desire was intrinsic to one’s personal identity culminated in a new sexual revolution that was really a return to old paganism. Modern Americans claim their freedom through sexual expression and assertion. We no longer see ourselves as enslaved by lust, but rather constrained by morality.

Pay no attention to the widespread sexual exploitation that is rampant in our society. We’re healthy, dammit!

Modernity’s counter-revolution of post modernism denies transcendant truths, meaning that this revolution, unlike prior ones, cannot be institutionalized because it denies the possibility of communal knowledge being truths that influence the individual. If truth and morality are relative to the individual, there is no way to establish a stable social order and eventually, this relativity began to destabilize the existing one.

Post-Christian culture in America is anti-culture. The logic of modernity and the idealization of individual freedom will continue tearing away at what is left of the old order because we as a society are convinced that true happiness can only be reached once all limits are removed.

Gay marriage is indicative of the removal of one of those limits. It signifies the final triumph of the Sexual Revolution. It dethrones Christianity by denying the core concept of Christian anthropology – that of Jesus as the Husband and the church as the Bride of Christ.

So what’s the problem? Atheists and agnostics don’t see the point!

Christianity’s belief in a reasonable God Who plays by a clear sense of rules is where we derive our modern concept of natural rights and other fundamental goods of modernity. Without Christianity, it is questionable if we can maintain those concepts.

Posted September 18, 2014 by aurorawatcherak in Christianity

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