Sunday, July 8, 2007

Patristics, Sex, And Mary -- From A Friend in Texas

Part of an email from a friend in Texas:

Here are a few of the more detailed quotes about marriage, sex, and procreation. As you can see, Tertullian and Augustine were truly warped in their understanding of this (Tertullian's is more directed toward females in general).

Tertullian on women:

And do you not know that you are (each) an Eve? The sentence of God on this sex of yours lives in this age:4 the guilt must of necessity live too. You are the devil's gateway: you are the unsealer5 of that (forbidden) tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded6 him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. You destroyed so easily God's image, man. On account of your desert-that is, death-even the Son of God had to die. And do you think about adorning yourself over and above your tunics of skins?7

"Tertullian was so repulsed by sex he publicly renounced his own sexual relationship with his wife and taught that sexual intercourse drives out the Holy Spirit. Women, he declared, are "the devil's door: through them Satan creeps into men's hearts and minds and works his wiles for their spiritual destruction." Tertullian, De exhortatione castitatis 11.1, in CCL 2:1030-31,

An article on Origen and marriage:

"Origen lived an austere life characterized by extreme self-discipline and ascetic practices, including his own self-castration in accordance with a literal reading of Matthew 19:12."

Clement of Rome:

For he who covets for himself these things so great and excellent, withdraws and severs himself on this account from all the world, that he may go and live a life divine and heavenly, like the holy angels, in work pure and holy, and "in the holiness28 of the Spirit of God,"29 and that he may serve God Almighty through Jesus Christ for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. On this account he severs himself from all the appetites of the body. And not only does he excuse himself from this command, "Be fruitful, and multiply," but he longs for the "hope promised" and prepared "and laid up in heaven"30 by God, who has declared with His mouth, and He does not lie, that it is "better than sons and daughters,"31 and that He will give to virgins a notable place in the house of God, which is something "better than sons and daughters," and better than the place of those who have passed a wedded life in sanctity, and whose "bed has not been defiled."32 For God will give to virgins the kingdom of heaven, as to the holy angels, by reason of this great and noble profession.


The union, then, of male and female for the purpose of procreation is the natural good of marriage. But he makes a bad use of this good who uses it bestially, so that his intention is on the gratification of lust, intend of the desire of offspring.

Now, wherein could be found a more fitting demonstration of the just depravation of human nature by reason of its disobedience, than in the disobedience of those parts whence nature herself derives subsistence by succession? For it is by an especial propriety that those parts of the body are designated as natural. This, then, was the reason why the first human pair, on experiencing in the flesh that motion which was indecent because disobedient, and on feeling the shame of their nakedness, covered these offending members with fig-leaves; in order that, at the very least, by the will of the ashamed offenders, a veil might be thrown over that which was put into motion without the will of those who wished it: and since shame arose from what indecently pleased, decency might be attained by concealment.

Whosoever possesses his vessel (that is, his wife) with this intention of heart, certainly does not possess her in the "disease of desire," as the Gentiles which know not God, but in sanctification and honour, as believers who hope in God. A man turns to use the evil of concupiscence, and is not overcome by it, when he bridles and restrains its rage, as it works in inordinate and indecorous motions; and never relaxes his hold upon it except when intent on offspring, and then controls and applies it to the carnal generation of children to be spiritually regenerated, not to the subjection of the spirit to the flesh in a sordid servitude.

But in the married, as these things are desirable and praiseworthy, so the others are to be tolerated, that no lapse occur into damnable sins; that is, into fornications and adulteries. To escape this evil, even such embraces of husband and wife as have not procreation for their object, but serve an overbearing concupiscence, are permitted, so far as to be within range of forgiveness, though not prescribed by way of commandment: and the married pair are enjoined not to defraud one the other, lest Satan should tempt them by reason of their incontinence.

It is, however, one thing for married persons to have intercourse only for the wish to beget children, which is not sinful: it is another thing for them to desire carnal pleasure in cohabitation, but with the spouse only, which involves venial sin.

Wherefore the devil holds infants guilty who are born, not of the good by which marriage is good, but of the evil of concupiscence, which, indeed, marriage uses aright, but at which even marriage has occasion to feel shame.

...whenever it comes to the actual process of generation, the very embrace which is lawful and honourable cannot be effected without the ardour of lust, so as to be able to accomplish that which appertains to the use of reason and not of lust. Now, this ardour, whether following or preceding the will, does somehow, by a power of its own, move the members which cannot be moved simply by the will, and in this manner it shows itself not to be the servant of a will which commands it, but rather to be the punishment of a will which disobeys it. It shows, moreover, that it must be excited, not by a free choice, but by a certain seductive stimulus, and that on this very account it produces shame.

Now, in light of that small sampling of the views on sex in those days (and much further down the road as well), how could Mary possibly be considered anything but EV and conceived as in the IC? Hence, the need for the unnatural/goddess/woman invented in the place of the real Mary. Contrary to the intention of keeping Jesus fully man and fully God, this makes Him a mere counterfeit. The "need" to keep Him from touching sin (as in the womb of a completely normal Mary), actually disqualifies Him and His testimony as given in scripture of how He came to save the sick, ate with the sinners, touching them ALL along the way. Ironic, eh?

Excellent work, Terry. Amen!

(Disclaimer note: While the information sourced from one or two of the links is good and accurate, the Mafia (nor Terry) does not endorse those sites.)


Rhett said...

That's some interesting stuff.


Gojira said...

Yes, indeed. The more one looks into how and why Mariology developed, one can't escape the conclusion that they had to use her as some sort of savior to Christ. The Patristics never held (in any primary way, at least) to a God centered worldview as expressed in the scriptures. Their Christian worldview was shaped by, and crowned by, Platonic thought.

Scribe said...

Yet more proof that antiquity does not always render a sound theology.

Rhett said...

Amen Scribe!