Monday, January 2, 2012

The End of Sex

No, this is not an announcement of the retirement of this blog.  An announcement of the end to my posting of intimate things.  Of the end of my alleged ‘filthiness and silly talk’ (Eph. 5:4)-as Dave et al tend to call it.   Since there is blessing in meditating on intimacy.  And in particular, meditating on God’s promises of intimacy in the world to come. 

Yet, it has been a while since I posted on intimate things.  For numerous reasons.  Partly, because my previous post is ‘a hard act to follow’.   Partly, because of postings on other blogs.  And partly, for more research.

Now the title of this present post is a bit of a misnomer.  Primarily, because I don’t believe that there will be an end to sex.  Don’t believe there will be an end to this intensely intimate expression [again, an expression which points you to The Intimacy of the Trinity] of love.  Don’t believe that there will be an end to a physical giving of oneself to Christ… for true followers of Christ. 

Yet, what form this physical giving will be for Believers… remains to be seen.

Now, for this post we will examine Matthew 22 (though Mark 12 is considered a ‘fuller account’).  And in particular, the question of the Sadducees and the response of Jesus to their question.  Those who believed that “there is no resurrection” asking Jesus about sex “in the resurrection”.

Now don’t go quibbling on this one so quickly, folks.  Sure, it only says “marriage in the resurrection” (v.28).  But let’s be mature about these  euphemisms, OK?  Even prudish Catholics know that marriage entails sex.  And that marriage without attendant sex is invalid and immoral.

And these Sadducees were well aware of that requirement as well… since these Sadducees wrote the Laws of Marriage for the state of Israel.  And derived these laws exclusively [yet, refused to include Pharisaical traditions] from the Bible.  They were the majority members of the Sanhedrin.  The Controllers of the official political structures of Judaism.  They wrote the laws and they invoked the laws.   The Sadducees ensured that the biblical obligations of Succession and Sex (Exodus 21:10, 11) were met.  And were met with mixed endorsement from the Pharisees.

And to that end, they asked Jesus of his opinion on the succession of wives “in the resurrection”.  Despite their not believing “in the resurrection” of the body or even the resurrection of the spirit.

A question designed to affirm their ‘biblical Law of Succession’ [the first wife- in case you are wondering].  And designed to affirm their authority… with the helpful endorsement of Jesus.

So… the Sadducees- granting the Pharisees  the hypothetical that the passion of man [his wriggling ‘worm’] never dies [the Pharisees believed in a physical resurrection]- ask, ‘Which husband will be permitted to express his physical passion inside his former wife “in the resurrection”… the first or a successive husband’?

And Jesus essentially chides them for being dull and deceptive, ‘Neither husband’.   For “in the resurrection” they will not be re-married by the power of their Law of Succession… but rather remain married to the son of the king (Matt. 22:2).  And that His elect will be married to Him ‘like the angels in heaven are’ already married to Him.  Here Jesus emphasizes the already ‘being married’ part.  The fullness of marriage to Him.  And to Him alone.

And Jesus is NOT affirming a marriage exactly like that with His angels, either.  But is only affirming a marriage similar to that with His angels. 

You see, the word “like” here [a word of considerable dispute in the 4th century, even] NEVER means “exactly like”. Indeed, doesn’t EVER mean “just like the other” for you Sesame Street fans :). It is only to draw analogy… however loose the analogy may be.  And however loose the grammatical aspect may be [see Constantine or Porter] . 

And obviously, we will not be “exactly like” angels.  For angels are spirits without physical bodies.
So while it is incumbent on us to believe that we will worship as “angels in heaven” do... we will obviously not worship exactly like angels do.  For we will worship our resurrected Lord with our resurrected bodies as well.  

A most intimate form of bodily worship.

A worship incorporating seeing and hearing- as well as smelling, tasting and touching (Isaiah 66:12).   Worship in a fuller way than the angels can possibly worship.  And worship in a fuller way than we have ever worshipped.

Now, that’s truly ‘enjoying Him forever’!  The ‘chief end’ of man, as the Westminster Confession declares.  

And the chief End of Sex, as Jesus declares to these skeptical Sadducees.