”On the question of the meaning and experience of sex, Lampert decries the tendency that appeared early in Christian writings to see sex as a kind of split in the creation, as an inevitable consequence of man’s mixed nature
of flesh and spirit. This Neo-platonist and Gnostic view infiltrated the thought of some of the greatest Church Fathers and colluded with ‘hatred of sex and of women, to cast out love from the world, portraying it as enticing lust, alluring falsehood, sweet poison or simply as ‘paganism’.14 This infiltration has had disastrous consequences, because it: …killed the great religious dream of the holiness of sex and of love, and of life as the feast of love. Sex was driven into the prison of bourgeois family existence and domesticity, where it was ‘tolerated’; or else it was or is dragging on an irreligious life in night-clubs and similar institutions—a fatal counterpoise of marriage and the family conceived as mere matrimonial transactions. Sexual love found itself outside religion, unsanctified, abandoned to the whims of fate or…of the devil.15 In the face of this Lampert claims that the creation of woman is the very acknowledgement of the reality of sex as the fulfillment of creation; that sex is a transcendent reality, and that sexual life has a transcendent significance, while ‘the union of the sexes in love is a witness to the fullness of being and life eternal.’ It is a true tragedy that the holiness of sexual love has been so blasphemed: on the one hand by cold dualism, detesting the flesh as a source of defilement, and on the other, by an amoral monism which sees the flesh as the theatre of mere animal activity. Both are blind to ‘the mystery and sacrament of holy flesh’, as the ‘way of ascent into the heavens and the grace of the Holy Spirit descending on it’16 The coda to Lambert’s The Divine Realm comes in four short sections entitled The Symbol, The Sacramental Principle, Metabolism and Epiklesis. In his conclusion, entitled The Ultimacy of the Sacrament, the sacraments are affirmed as essentially realized eschatological events.”
Fr Cross on Evgeny Lampert’s insights into the Life in Christ.
Richard M Davidson’s book ‘Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in The Old Testament is a real masterpiece of Scholarship and marvellous reference guide for deeper understanding.
I’ve come across many resources in this book that I want to read and that’s within the first few pages but have many hundred’s of thankful pages to go. Gloria in Excelesis Deo!
Vladimir Lossky, in his Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, recently released in English, highlights the weaknesses of some of the early Christians on sexuality, noting the potential for manichaeism and sees problems with Gregory of Nyssa’s view of Sex (in terms of male and female) but doesn’t develop this as he should have. (Or the editors have left what he had to say out regrettably). What this extensive literature on Marriage, human sexuality and the purposes of God’s Good Creation reveal to me though is how unbiblical Nyssa’s (et al) notion of Sex is; in more than just the male and female sense. Dr Davidson recommends Werner Neuer’s book as one example.
Lampert’s claim that this is at least partly to blame for some of the problems we face, is unfortunately correct.
Only a properly Eschatological and Eternally Blessed place for sex and Marriage, I see, will prevent this gender blending madness and heretical automatic corruption of sex (impersonal Eros rather than rightly ordered TriPersonal Eros-Agape-Storge-Philia Love) distortion of God’s Good Gift made for The Kingdom. The Eastern Church has preserved many key points of The Scripture’s outlines for Marriage but neglected others in many parts. See the outline given by Schmemann and it becomes pretty apparent that an Eschatological view of Marriage and Sexuality should be wed together.
”Fr. Alexander says, and I want to read this quote to you, he says,
It is here, at this moment, that the pseudo-Christian opposition of the “spiritual” and the “material,” the “sacred” and the “profane,” the “religious” and the “secular” is denounced, abolished, and revealed as a monstrous lie about God and man and the world. The only true temple of God is man and through man the world. Each ounce of matter belongs to God and is to find in God its fulfillment. Each instant of time is God”s time and is to fulfill itself in God”s eternity. Nothing is “neutral.”
There’s a physicality to our faith that is wonderful and I think really speaks to the cosmic dimension of Christ’s redemption. You know, it’s not just that it’s a spiritual redemption in which we’re delivered from this body and this world, but even our bodies are claimed in Christ, and through Chrismation and consecrated unto Him and are to serve Him.
Chrismation is the affirmation also of each man’s uniqueness to be who he was made to be; to do what he was made to do. It’s the gift of vocation, Fr. Alexander says.”
Note that this involves our Priestly and Kingly functions.
Body and Soul.