11 September 2013

God and Sex

I’ve had some jumbled thoughts swirling around in my brain for some time now, mostly related to some of the deeper theology underlying sex and relationships.  It seems that there is lots of confusion on the matter, most of it rooted in bad theology (or philosophy, for my irreligious readers).  I don’t feel confident that my answers are correct, but I do feel confident that others’ answers are wrong. What I write now is mostly an iconoclast thought experiment that I hope delivers some sort of catharsis as I write.  In many ways, it feels like what I’m about to write is akin to Your God Is Too Small.  It’s easy to identify and describe false gods; it’s nearly impossible to describe the correct One.  To paraphrase Jens Lekman, I know who God isn’t.

Part One:  The Natural Order

“It’s amazing that women can easily rebel against God, biology, society, their husbands, but they’ll drop on their knees for a cad. It’s no wonder PUAs are so full of themselves.” –Frank

It appears that Frank has never read I Corinthians 11, though I suspect that the same can be said of many other nominal Christians as well.  In the aforementioned chapter, Paul says that, “the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.”  From this I gather that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.  But maybe I’m just simple.

In another passage, Paul would say “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.  For Adam was formed first, then Eve.”  Going back to the beginning, we find that God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”  Then we find that “the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.  Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.”

By now, it should be clear that Frank has a rather unbiblical understanding of the role of women.  Woman was not intended to worship God or serve God.  God is not the head of Woman.  In fact, Jesus is not the head of Woman.  Man is the head of Woman, and Woman is designed and created to worship and serve Man.  God did not create Woman to be a helper for Himself, but rather a helper for Man.  Thus, it is only fitting that women will drop on their knees for a cad instead of God since that is far more in keeping with their intended function.  Thus, their desire to serve Man, even in the form of cads, is not truly a rebellion against God, though it may be unwise or short-sighted, or even disadvantageous to society.  But I will have more to say on that later.

Really, the notion that Woman (or women) answers to God is simply unbiblical.  There is a natural order to this world, and a natural hierarchy within it.  The Natural Hierarchy, as given by God through the apostle Paul is as follows:  God rules over Christ, who rules over Man who rules over Woman.  Anyone who says otherwise is a liar (or an ignoramus, or a coward) and serves Satan, perhaps unknowingly.  And I will have more to say on this later.

Part Two:  Raising Cane

“For over a year now, I’ve been asking: ‘Considering that the Christian man is called to marriage alone for sexual release, and that the world is full of sluts (there aren’t nearly enough virgins to go around), how is Game anything but a round-about method of telling Christian men to Man-Up and Marry These Sluts?’” [Ital. original, ed.]

Here’s a better question:  Why do so many “Christian” leaders and writers get so hung up on adhering to God’s original ideal?1

This is, believe it or not, a very serious question.  Hebrews 11 provides a list of paragons of faith, and it is quite illuminating to see how many of them deviated from God’s Ideal for Marriage™.  Abraham had a child with a woman who was most certainly not his wife.  Jacob had two wives, and bore children by two more women to whom he was not married.  Rahab was a professional fornicator.  David was a murderous, polygamous fornicator (who happened to be a man after God’s own heart).  And all of these sexually impure people are paragons of faith to be imitated by followers of Christ.

Now, I hope that people don’t conclude from this that I’m advocating rampant sexual license.  However, saying that sexual purity is The Most Important Thing™ is clearly a pile of nonsense.  If God can look at a man who cheated on his multiple wives, then covered up his adultery with murder and still say that said cheater was still a man after his own heart (upon repentance, of course), then clearly there are some things in life that are more important than sexual purity.

“But,” some hypothetical Straw Man might rejoin, “what about all the New Testament laws against fornication?”  What about them?  Are we to believe that any deviation from God’s ideal somehow makes it impossible for God to work within us?  Are we to believe that God’s love cannot turn a slutty woman into a loving wife?  Or is God’s power so weak and trifling that it cannot reform the heart of Woman?

But then, this is really a trick question, is it not?  For it is not God who transforms Woman, but Man.  And the man who can transform a slut into a wife is a the type of man that God can transform from a sinner into a saint.

See the beauty of the hierarchy is that enables us to see, however dimly and briefly, a glimpse of eternal beauty. As Woman is to Man, so Man is to God, which is why God’s most graphically heart-breaking lesson in the Old Testament consists of God telling one of his servants to marry a prostitute.  (I’ve written on this before, but the lesson does not appear to have stuck.)

In the eyes of God, all men are, in a sense, spiritual sluts.  All men have chased after lesser gods (like sports, careers, money, status, fame, etc.)  When Man finally become interested in God, he generally does so only after he realizes just how vain and worthless his other masters are.  Very few men have served God and God alone; most have sought after other gods (and isn’t true that even after men come to God, they still often long for their former masters?  Is that not the essence of temptation?).  It is fitting, then, that Woman is a reflection of Man.  As Roissy once said, men and women always deserve each other.  Or, more broadly, men get the women they deserve, and vice versa.  This is Bible.

So, given that Man generally experiments with other gods long before he becomes interested in Jehovah, why should it be the case that Woman behaves any differently towards Man?  (Especially since the earthly is a reflection of the spiritual.)  Or, to state it another way, if you’re going to play around before you get serious (about God), why shouldn’t women play around before they get serious (about you)?

Here’s what’s beautiful:  God doesn’t stop wanting Man once Man becomes infatuated with something else.  God still desires a relationship with Man, even after Man has been broken by hedonism, abused by the capriciousness of status-seeking, or traded his glory for scars.  He still wants Man, even with all his pain, his scars, his brokenness, his hurt, his imperfections.  But not only does he want us, he wants to heal us, and be the perfect master for us, giving us purpose in life.  He doesn’t promise that our lives will be easy, or that the healing process will be painless, but he will make us far happier than any of our other masters could.  Unlike our prior masters, God is Love.

So, if God so loves Man that he will pursue Man even when Man is but a dirty beggar living in the gutter, does it not behoove Man to do the same to Woman?  To put it in starker relief, do you really want to stand before God and complain that your wife wasn’t pure for you when you weren’t pure for God?

Part Three:  The Social Gospel, or The Appeal to Society Fallacy

Eventually rubber has to meet road.  Cars are absolutely worthless sitting in a factory.  Unapplied theology is the same.  Most men will still bristle at the call to man up and marry sluts, and for good reason, too.  Even though most men are, in my opinion, absolute fools in spiritual matters, they still retain enough of their intuition to understand just how repellant the notion of marrying sluts truly is.  It’s truly strange, though, how most men seem utterly incapable of drawing the obvious conclusion from the most common Biblical metaphor:  God isn’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of being in a relationship with Men who have been broken by capricious masters but still long to be with the masters who ruined them.

“But,” many men will undoubtedly sputter, “I’ve been perfectly faithful to God.  I’ve attended church and everything! I’m a productive member of society, I pay my taxes, I provide for my family, I live by the rules, etc.”  As if this is faithfulness to God.

On Vox Day’s Alpha Game blog, the byline reads, “Breaking the chains, winning the games, and saving Western Civilization” (Emphasis added, ed.).  From what I’ve read of the manosphere, this does seem to be the general theme.  There is this sort of notion that everyone should learn Game, everyone should learn how to rule his wife, and so on, in order to save Western Civilization.  The general impression that I get is that guys should learn Game in order to save their marriages, and thus ultimately society.  Being a good husband because God demands that of you is more of an afterthought.

It has been noted by somewhat shallow theologians, like my father, that if everyone were to live by New Testament principles, we would have a fairly prosperous and stable society.  This observation is true, but misses the point.  If everyone were to live by New Testament principles, everyone would be children of God, and the resultant prosperous/stable society would be incidental.  I would theorize, based on what I’ve read and heard, that many nominal Christians view Christianity as a means to the end of highly functional, perhaps even utopic, society.  Even atheists, at least those of the honest, non-aspie type, will argue as such.  Thus, Christianity, and the attendant organized religion that inevitably surrounds it, is not viewed fundamentally as a means of having a relationship with God, but as a way of having something else.  Thus, most Christians don’t really love God, but rather his blessings.  Or, more accurately, what they perceive as his blessings.

(I note, with some degree of amusement, that the patriarchs of faith listed in Hebrews 11 (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) were all nomadic herdsmen.  While other exemplars of faith were part of a more civilized society, or even built it (David, e.g.), it is intriguing to note that the father of the faithful lived in what would today be considered relative poverty.  Yes, Abraham had lots of flocks, but few Americans living in the 21st century consider animal farming to be a mark of success and high-status.  Given Abraham’s nomadic lifestyle, I would be willing to be that few Christians living in America today would want to live just like Abraham did, since Abraham’s lifestyle would be generally considered uncivilized.  In spite of his lack of civilization, Abraham was more than able to live a life of faith because ultimately he was looking for a city whose builder and maker was God.)

Christians don’t look to the reward; they look to the here and now.  Perhaps that’s why Christ asked, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth? So, if Christian men are focused on solving the problems that belong to God (say, the ordering of Nations and Governments), can it really be said that Man has faith in God?  (And if the answer is yes, then why isn’t Man content to trust God to set in place the proper authorities?)  To go back to an established metaphor, if Man is going to try to do God’s job, thus upending the natural order, why should Man be surprised when Woman tries to Man’s job?

Ultimately, feminism is a reflection of Man’s pride, which is seen in Frank’s earlier comment.  If a Man assumes that he needs to order the nations, then he places himself above God.  But God has to exist somewhere in the hierarchy, and Frank, and others like him, ultimately conclude that God is still above Woman and that, consequently, Woman should answer to and worship God.  So, if you screw up one part of the natural hierarchy, it shouldn’t be surprising if you end up compounding your mistake by screwing up another part of the hierarchy.

What is ultimately revealed is that Man isn’t really all that faithful to God.  Most men, it would appear, are far more interested in doing God’s job than living in submission to him.  (And isn’t it interesting how that mirrors most men’s complaints about women:  most women are unsubmissive and try to do men’s jobs so as to have no need for men.)  Men don’t really worship God, they worship human society.  Fittingly, their women have followed suit.

Part Four:  Those Who Burn

“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.  But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” –Rev. 21:7-8

If the earthly is a metaphor for the spiritual, and it is, then it should make sense that only those who submit to God in this life are fit to live with him in the life to come.  To this end, living in submission to God means knowing your place.  If you’re a Man, you live in submission to Christ.  If you’re a Woman, you live in submission to Man.3  Consequently, it should also make sense that those who do not live in submission to the natural order, or work to upend the natural order, will be condemned to everlasting punishment.

To this end, those listed as deserving punishment in Revelation 21 can be broadly viewed as those who subvert the natural order.  What’s intriguing to me is that cowards are the first people listed as subverting the natural order.

I think that the pervasive triumph of evil in these modern times is due to cowardice.  There have always been men who have trumpeted pernicious false doctrines, and there have always been men who have lived by false doctrines.  However, it is not always the case that a majority of men have paid lip service and otherwise sought to justify false doctrines and evil practices.  Thus, when God condemns the cowardly, he is condemning those who refuse to stand up for what is right, or those who pay lip service to evil for whatever reason (to keep their job, social standing, etc.).  Edmund Burke was right when he said that, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”  This corresponds with the principle espoused by James:  “to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

From what I can gather, it is generally only a minority of people that engage in a lot of the evil listed in Revelation 21.  There do not appear to be a lot of people that are diligently working to upend the natural order by engaging in what God calls abominable acts.  However, there do appear to be a lot of people who are passively engaging in upending the natural order by sitting passively by and paying lip service to the pretty lies of the modern age:  equality, feminism, social justice and its attendant activism, and so on. To pay lip service to these lies and pattern your life to profit from them makes you at least a liar, assuming you know the truth, and a coward to boot since you would rather live comfortably than live honestly.  And that is why liars cowards will have their part with the abominable people.  If one can get along with liars and the disorderly in this life, it is only fitting to assume that one can continue to get along with them in the life to come.

Part Five:  Catharsis

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:  Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.  For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” –Solomon

While it might appear that this post is about the manosphere, or Cane Caldo, or Frank, or anyone else, the truth is that it is really about me.  I once believed in equality, I once believed that Woman answers directly to Christ, and so on.  Not only did I once believe what I now repudiate, I taught it publicly and propagated the nonsense I now decry.  I thought completing the checklist was a surefire sign of faithfulness, and I did my best to complete the checklist.  Even now, on my blog, I still get caught up in writing about hypothetical fixes for society’s ills.  Deep down, I desire to play God, and in so doing work to upend the natural order. I hope that God will be merciful to me.

But an even greater truth is that this post isn’t really about me or anyone else, per se, but humanity.  And this post is really just Genesis 3, but with different names and in a different setting.  This post is about human pride, the scourge of humanity’s existence.  Since the beginning, and even to the present, Humanity is still seduced by the prettiest lie of all:  that we can be like God, knowing good from evil.  We can’t, but that doesn’t stop us from believing the lie.  And so we embrace feminism and chase dreams of building a utopic society.4  We are proud.

God doesn’t call me, or anyone else, to fix society.  He doesn’t all me to rule the world.  He doesn’t call me to judge the world or be the arbiter of ultimate truth.  God calls me—and he calls you—to love Him, and love my neighbor as myself.  Life is about relationships.  We have a relationship with God, and a relationship with our fellow man.  We are to love both God and Humanity alike, though the expression of our love will vary, naturally.  We aren’t called to know truth, or defend truth, or chase after abstractions, though such pastimes are fun and occasionally harmless.  We are called to love.  “Be ye therefore imitators of God as dear children.” “God is love.”

The foundation of the law is love.  We are commanded by God to love him and one another.  That is our role, and we must content ourselves with it.  We need to know our place and act accordingly.  God will take care of the rest.

1.  For those whose memories may need refreshed, Jesus taught in Matthew 19 that the ideal for marriage was one man and one woman for life and Paul taught in I Corinthians 7 that marriage is the proper exclusive realm for sexual release.  Thus, sex prior to marriage, or with multiple partners while married, is very much a sin since it would be a deviation from the ideal.

2. Other interesting notes:  Noah got drunk and had his nakedness uncovered by his son, hardly an example of sexual prurience.  Joseph’s citation of faithfulness makes no reference to withstanding the temptations of Potiphar’s wife.  Samson was simply an idiot when it came to women (cf. Judges 14 and 16), and certainly violated God’s law against intermarriage (cf. Deuteronomy 7:1-5).

3. Perhaps in another post I will deal with the theology of this particular aspect of the hierarchy, and with submission to earthly authority in general.  For now, I will simply say that C.S. Lewis gets quite close to the general issue in his book The Last Battle.  In chapter 15, Lewis recounts the tale of a Calormene who had entered into new Narnia.  The Calormene was a servant of Tash (a false or harsh god, depending on how you interpret Lewis).  When the Calormene met Aslan, Alsan welcomed the Calormene to new Narnia and said that all the service the Calormene had rendered to Tash would be counted as service rendered to him.  It’s really a quite beautiful scene, and well-worth reading.  Anyhow, I imagine that God’s judgment will be similar, in that service rendered in good faith to another master (Woman to Man, e.g., or child to father, servant to master, citizen to ruler, laity to clergy, etc.) will be accounted as service rendered to God.

4. Utopic does not necessarily mean perfect, but rather simply represents an ideal state.  All who would design a society must implicitly have an ideal form of it in mind, else plans would be impossible.  Thus, even the libertarian realist who simply desires respect for property rights must ultimately believe that some sort of panacea will hypothetically be attained once his ideal is achieved.