Sex in Heaven? Second Set of Four Principles

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Third Principle: Sex Is Spiritual

That does not mean "vaguely pious, ethereal, and idealistic". "Spiritual" means "a matter of the spirit", or soul, or psyche, not just the body. Sex is between the ears before it’s between the legs. We have sexual souls.

For some strange reason people are shocked at the notion of sexual souls. They not only disagree; the idea seems utterly crude, superstitious, repugnant, and incredible to them. Why? We can answer this question only by first answering the opposite one: why is the idea reasonable, enlightened, and even necessary?

The idea is the only alternative to either materialism or dualism. If you are a materialist, there is simply no soul for sex to be a quality of If you are a dualist, if you split body and soul completely, if you see a person as a ghost in a machine, then one half of the person can be totally different from the other: the body can be sexual without the soul being sexual. The machine is sexed, the ghost is not. (This is almost the exact opposite of the truth: ghosts, having once been persons, have sexual identity from their personalities, their souls. Machines do not.)

No empirical psychologist can be a dualist; the evidence for psychosomatic unity is overwhelming. No pervasive feature of either body or soul is insulated from the other; every sound in the soul echoes in the body, and every sound in the body echoes in the soul. Let the rejection of dualism be Premise One of our argument.

Premise Two is the even more obvious fact that biological sexuality is innate, natural, and in fact pervasive to every cell in the body. It is not socially conditioned, or conventional, or environmental; it is hereditary.

The inevitable conclusion from these two premises is that sexuality is innate, natural, and pervasive to the whole person, soul as well as body. The only way to avoid the conclusion is to deny one of the two premises that logically necessitate it-to deny psychosomatic unity or to deny innate somatic sexuality.

In the light of this simple and overwhelming argument, why is the conclusion not only unfamiliar but shocking to so many people in our society? I can think of only two reasons. The first is a mere misunderstanding, the second a serious and substantial mistake.

The first reason would be a reaction against what is wrongly seen as monosexual soul-stereotyping. A wholly male soul, whatever maleness means, or a wholly female soul, sounds unreal and oversimplified. But that is not what sexual souls implies. Rather, in every soul there is—to use Jungian terms—anima and animus, femaleness and maleness; just as in the body, one predominates but the other is also present. If the dominant sex of soul is not the same as that of the body, we have a sexual misfit, a candidate for a sex change operation of body or of soul, earthly or Heavenly. Perhaps Heaven supplies such changes just as it supplies all other needed forms of healing. In any case, the resurrection body perfectly expresses its soul, and since souls are innately sexual, that body will perfectly express its soul’s true sexual identity.

A second reason why the notion of sexual souls sounds strange to many people may be that they really hold a pantheistic rather than a theistic view of spirit as undifferentiated, or even infinite. They think of spirit as simply overwhelming, or leaving behind, all the distinctions known to the body and the senses. But this is not the Christian notion of spirit, nor of infinity. Infinity itself is not undifferentiated in God. To call God infinite is not to say He is everything in general and nothing in particular: that is confusing God with The Blob! God’s infinity means that each of His positive and definite attributes, such as love, wisdom, power, justice, and fidelity, is unlimited.

Spirit is no less differentiated, articulated, structured, or formed than matter. The fact that our own spirit can suffer and rejoice far more, more delicately and exquisitely, and in a far greater variety of ways, than can the body-this fact should be evidence of spirit’s complexity. So should the fact that psychology is nowhere near an exact science, as anatomy

Differences in general, and sexual differences in particular, increase rather than decrease as you move up the cosmic hierarchy. (Yes, there is a cosmic hierarchy, unless you can honestly believe that oysters have as much right to eat you as you have to eat them.) Angels are as superior to us in differentiation as we are to animals. God is infinitely differentiated, for He is the Author of all differences, all forms.

Each act of creation in Genesis is an act of differentiation—light from darkness, land from sea, animals from plants, and so on. Creating is forming, and forming is differentiating. Materialism believes differences in form are ultimately illusory appearance; the only root reality is matter. Pantheism also believes differences in form are ultimately illusory; the only root reality is one universal Spirit. But theism believes form is real because God created it. And whatever positive reality is in the creation must have its model in the Creator. We shall ultimately have to predicate sexuality of God Himself, as we shall see next.

Fourth Principle: Sex Is Cosmic

Have you ever wondered why almost all languages except English attribute sexuality to things? Trees, rocks, ships, stars, horns, kettles, circles, accidents, trips, ideas, feelings-these, and not just men and women, are masculine or feminine. Did you always assume unthinkingly that this was of course a mere projection and personification, a reading of our sexuality into nature rather than reading nature’s own sexuality out of it (or rather, out of her)? Did it ever occur to you that it just might be the other way round, that human sexuality is derived from cosmic sexuality rather than vice versa, that we are a local application of a universal principle? If not, please seriously consider the idea now, for it is one of the oldest and most widely held ideas in our history, and one of the happiest.

It is a happy idea because it puts humanity into a more human universe. We fit; we are not freaks. What we are, everything else also is, though in different ways and different degrees. We are, to use the medieval image, a microcosm, a little cosmos; the universe is the macrocosm, the same pattern written large. We are more like little fish inside bigger fish than like sardines in a can. It is the machine-universe that is our projection, not the human universe.

We do not have time here to apply this idea, so pregnant with consequences, to other aspects of our being, to talk about the cosmic extension of consciousness and volition, but many philosophers have argued for this conclusion, and a deeper eye than reason’s seems to insist on it. But we can apply it to sexuality here. It means that sexuality goes all the way up and all the way down the cosmic ladder.

At the "down" end there is "love among the particles": gravitational and electromagnetic attraction. That little electron just "knows" the difference between the proton, which she "loves", and another electron, which is her rival. If she did not know the difference, she would not behave so knowingly, orbiting around her proton and repelling other electrons, never vice versa.

But, you say, I thought that was because of the balanced resultant of the two merely physical forces of angular momentum, which tends to zoom her straight out of orbit, and bipolar electromagnetic attraction, which tends to zap her down into her proton: too much zoom for a zap and too much zap for a zoom. Quite right. But what right do you have to call physical forces "mere"? And how do you account for the second of those two forces? Why is there attraction between positive and negative charges? It is exactly as mysterious as love. In fact, it is love. The scientist can tell you how it works, but only the lover knows why.

Sex at the Top

Sex "goes all the way up" as well as "all the way down.  Spirit is no less sexual than matter; on the contrary, all qualities and all contrasts are richer, sharper, more real as we rise closer and closer to the archetype of realness, God. The God of the Bible is not a monistic pudding in which differences are reduced to lumps, or a light that out-dazzles all finite lights and colors. God is a sexual being, the most sexual of all beings.

This sounds shocking to people only if they see sex only as physical and not spiritual, or if they are Unitarians rather than Trinitarians. The love relationship between the Father and the Son within the Trinity, the relationship from which the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds, is a sexual relationship. It is like the human sexual relationship from which a child proceeds in time; or rather, that relationship is like the divine one. Sexuality is "the image of God" according to Scripture (see Genesis 1:27), and for B to be an image of A, A must in some way have all the qualities imaged by B. God therefor& is a sexual being. There is therefore sex in Heaven because in Heaven we are close to the source of all sex. As we climb Jacob’s ladder the angels look less like neutered, greeting-card cherubs and more like Mars and Venus.

Another reason we are more, not less, sexual in Heaven is that all earthly perversions of true sexuality are overcome, especially the master perversion, selfishness. To make self God, to desire selfish pleasure as the summum bonum, is not only to miss God but to miss pleasure and self as well, and to miss the glory and joy of sex. Jesus did not merely say, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God", but also added that "all these things shall be added" when we put first things first. Each story fits better when the foundation is put first.

C. S. Lewis calls this the principle of "first and second things". In any area of life, putting second things first loses not only the first things but also the second things, and putting first things first gains not only the first things but the second. things as well. So to treat sexual pleasure as God is to miss not only God but sexual pleasure too.

The highest pleasure always comes in self-forgetfulness. Self always spoils its own pleasure. Pleasure is like light; if you grab at it, you miss it; if you try to bottle it, you get only darkness; if you let it pass, you catch the glory. The self has a built-in, God-imaging design of self-fulfillment by self-forgetfulness, pleasure through unselfishness, ecstasy by ekstasis, "standing-outside-the-self". This is not the self-conscious self-sacrifice of the do-gooder but the spontaneous, unconscious generosity of the lover.

This principle, that the greatest pleasure is self-giving, is graphically illustrated by sexual intercourse and by the very structure of the sexual organs, which must give themselves to each other in order to be fulfilled. In Heaven, when egotistic perversions are totally eliminated, all pleasure is increased, including sexual pleasure. Whether this includes physical sexual pleasure or not, remains to be seen.

Reprinted with permission of the author.

From:

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven
by Ignatius Press.

This text is also available as an expanded audio lecture under:
Sex in Heaven

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