Posted on: April 6th, 2024 Beyond Sexual Difference (a brief statement)

When God made the Human on “day 6,” the Human was not a mammal.

When the Human sinned, he descended into the nature (or essence) of a mammal; he became a rational animal.

But prior to this, he had a different nature. According to I Cor 15, it was like unto the nature of an angel.

Upon falling into this mammalian nature, human beings began to behave like animals. In particular they began to propagate their species by way of sexual reproduction. This sexual reproduction, then, is part and parcel with death, biological death. Prior to the fall, there was no (involuntary) death on the part of the Human. Hence no need to propagate. Gregory of Nyssa is quite clear about this in On the Making of Man.

Also part and parcel with death and sexual reproduction (and hence of the fall) is sexual difference. Prior to the fall there was no sexual differentiation, which is why Jesus says in Mt 19 that in heaven there will be no giving & receiving in marriage, and which is why Paul encourages his readers in Corinth to imitate him in his celibacy. Realizing this—that the eschatological status of humanity is a return to its creational, Edenic state—Christians from very early on began to conceive of the Christian life as a life of virginity, a life lived beyond the economy of the sin-produced death of the animal kingdom. (Aristophanes’ myth in Plato’s Symposium, then, contains large grains of truth, as certain church fathers realized.)

For these premodern Christian virgins, the fully divine life  of the human person in Christ was to be lived (perhaps not exclusively) beyond sexual difference.

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