Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sexuality, man, and the Trinity

I found this beautiful meditation on human sexuality by Peter Leithart, and though I'm not married (shoot, I'm not even dating anyone!) I thought it was full of such beautiful yet succinct insight that it's worth passing on.

Exhortation, Third Sunday Of Lent

When God created the land animals, He created them male and female. The earth brought forth sexed living creatures, both male and female arising from the ground. God did not create the human sexes in the same way. He formed Adam from the dust of the ground, but in a separate act He formed Eve from Adam. None of the animals from the ground was a suitable helper to Adam. He needed a helper who came from himself.

This difference highlights the basic differences between animal and human sexuality.

Animals are created male and female, simultaneously. "They do not require each other for the fulfillment of their lives’ calling, and only for the purposes of breeding, and for the time necessary for perpetuating the species, do they seek and find each other" (Hirsch).

Human sexuality is a different matter entirely. Man is first created male, and then divided into male and female. Nowhere are animals described as becoming "one flesh," but man is divided into male and female in order to be reunited. Sexuality for human beings is about unity in diversity, about imaging the God who can say both "I" and "we."

Modern views of sex usually assume that human sexuality is the same as animal sexuality. If animals mate in order to survive as a species, then human beings must do the same. If animal sexual desire is no more than a biological instinct, human sexuality is the same. If animals can get along without lifelong partnerships, so can we.

All these are lies, and they are fundamental lies. Once Adam is divided, he can no longer fulfill his calling by himself, but only with his wife. Once Adam is divided, his life as a whole is bound up with his union with his bride. For human beings, sexual difference is not just about sex. It's about man's life and calling as a whole. In every phase of his life, Adam cleaves to his bride so that they become "one flesh."


HALFMOM said...

You're right, that is quite touching and encouraging. Thanks for sharing it.

HALFMOM said...

in a way, the entry I just posted is about this same thing - about the loss of function, ability to fulfill calling, when the single "entity" is torn apart.