Selected Sunday Scriptures- #22

Another short post today. I will be traveling next week, so I probably won’t post again until next Saturday. In the meantime, feel free to continue discussing matters in the comments.

The first passage is a short bit from the First Letter of Timothy:

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving; for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

I find this passage interesting because it hints that even early on in the history of the Church there were those who pushed an ascetic lifestyle. The part about forbidding marriage specifically interests me, because as I’ve been reading up on the Saints I’ve come across those who have opposed various heresies over the years. And a fairly constant one that pops up all the time holds that human sexuality is inherently sinful. Of course, going along with this particular heresy is that marriage should therefore be forbidden. It is sad to see that certain lies just don’t seem to die, no matter how many times they are trampled upon. Note especially the language of “everything created by God is good” in this- human sexuality, as something created by God, cannot be inherently evil.

This is backed up by the language of Genesis:

To the woman he said,

“I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children,
yet your desire shall be for your husband,
    and he shall rule over you.”

(Gen 3:16)

Note that God says he will multiply the woman’s pain in childbearing. You can only multiply something that already exists; anything times zero is still zero. Thus, the woman was already going to experience some measure of pain in childbearing, and most importantly, she was already capable of bearing children. Since human sexuality is the medium by which children are begotten in the first place, and therefore required for children to be borne, human sexuality existed before the Fall. Genesis 1:28 also supports this. This means that sexuality cannot be inherently sinful. And yet there have been those throughout the centuries who have taught as much. An important reminder that we must always be on our guard, for there will always be false prophets among us.

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5 Comments

Filed under Selected Sunday Scriptures

5 responses to “Selected Sunday Scriptures- #22

  1. theshadowedknight

    Interesting. Free Northerner was just writing about this, here. Promoting abstinence and splitting apart young couples seems a lot like forbidding marriage, in result if not intent. He also makes a very good point about the false notion of adolescence forcing a delay of adulthood and marriage, leading to sin. These types are denying marriage and encouraging fornication in its place.

    The Shadowed Knight

  2. mdavid

    DG, …who have opposed various heresies over the years. And a fairly constant one that pops up all the time…

    All heresies are like that; they never fully die. A neat book that gave me a “feel” for this is Dissent from the Creed: Heresies Past and Present. The author walks through the big heresies, one by one, from the Council of Jerusalem in biblical times to today…and man do they just keep coming one after another! One can start to see how related each one is to something already tried in the past; the color or flavor may have changed to fit the sensibilities of the day, but there is no “new” heresy under the sun. They’ve all been tried. And of course, one can see how each heretical group believes – no, knows they are right. Then in the next century, their numbers implode, they divide, and everyone protesting about A move along to B and everyone forgets A. But the Church keeps plodding along…

    Another thing I discovered from that book: I’m a real sucker for heresies. They sure sound good until one looks a little closer at them. I guess I’m an easy mark. That book made me a lot more conservative and quick to look for a majority opinion (from all ages, past to present) before jumping…

  3. @ TSK

    Yes, there is something akin to a forbidding of marriage at play, isn’t there? They (Churchians) have essentially pigeonholed marriage into something that should only happen when certain criteria are met. And those criteria are difficult enough to achieve that it becomes impractical for many for a long time. Sin is the logical result of all of this.

    @ mdavid

    I will need to take a look at that book. And I think we are all suckers for heresies- they are often couched in language designed expressly to appeal to us.

  4. A

    Good post, but I think you’re wrong on the multiplying of pain part. The traditional view has always been that pain of childbirth is a consequence of the Fall.

  5. @ A

    It might be a matter of translation and culture/context that would explain that different take. Completely understandable, of course. As I delve deeper into scripture, it becomes more and more apparent how important it is to understand the culture and the context of it all.

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