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Creation

Adam is a name of man; "man" in Hebrew is ben adam, actually "the son of man". Adama means earth and is a feminine word. God created earth before man. A feminine creature adama was created before man, Adam. Word God, Elohim, includes both feminine and masculine, and it might be considered a symbol of God's androgyne nature. Man was created after the rest of the creation was already made. Whole Creation is the Creater's talk to his creatures. Creation is not an event of the past but constantly present reality to be experienced, reality that man and all the rest of the creation meet through God's personal care every moment (Isaiah 44:1-2, 45:7; Psalm 104; Job 38-39). Jesus talks about God taking care of the needs of his creatures one day at a time and teaches us to ask: "Give us today our daily bread" (Mt. 6:11, 25-34).

Greek word for the world is Cosmos and it means harmony. Its opposite is disorder, chaos. God put Adam to work and take care of His garden (Gen.2:15). In gnostic writing the paradise where life began, is called Mother's Womb. Jungian myth-historian Erich Neumann writes that Baptism means return to the mystical womb of the Great Mother and its water of life. According to Church Fathers , men form a microcosm which links God and the world together. Sin of Adam was to put himself before the will of God - and that is a sin of us all. Reason why God made man was a generosity of His heart; He didn't want to keep His life for Himself. God made man "unto His image": God's essence is outpouring. In Trinity Father completely gives Himself to the Son. Mutual giving is the essence of Trinity. Without the Fall, we would only have been receiving, never giving, in predestined, one-sided state. And unless we could not say "no" to God, if our "yes" was evident, then we couln't freely give from our own. Only then we can fully participate with the life of Trinity. We need active, consciouss attitude to say "yes" to God. God created man to love and redeemed him through His love. When God pours his love upon self-centered person, love takes a self-centered form. Man is happy because love satisfies his deepest needs. Joy that God wants to give us is the joy of selfless love, as man no longer seeks the joy for himself.

Purpose of the Creation account is definately universal: It concerns all humanity. All people were made unto images of God, whether they are aware of it or not. Man was made to answer with his life all the time to the call of his Creater. Man didn't fall downwards, into immorality, but upwards, into hubris. He wanted to rule the wholeness of life by his own means, to be like God. A sinner is asked, "Man, where are you?" (Gen.3:9); Rather than his concrete position in Paradise, a question concerns his moral position and demands him to come out of his hiding place and account with God, and not only God asks man "where are you?", but along with that goes from the beginning another question, first to Cain and then to all others as well: "Where is your brother?" (Gen.4:9). We are not responsible only for ourselves, but for our neighbors - brothers and sisters - too.

Original sin initially meant intellectual resistance of God or disobediance, but eventually it came to mean sexual sin, because it was inherited from previous generation and this was related with intercourse and passion. Words sexuality and original sin were used for same purpose.

Image of God

The Old Testament image of God is extremely masculine. The New Testament completes this image with feminine side of God. God in Christ is on the one hand, a sacrificial Lamb in the death on the cross; Lion of Judah in victory over death on the other: perfect union of masculine and feminine. In Hebrew and Aramaic, word for the Holy Spirit is feminine.

Our body is made of the dust of the ground; Our spirit is born of God; Our soul is a result of the union of Heaven and earth. Spirit is neutral, soul is androgyne; Only the body is (generally) either one or another. Gender is just a one layer of soul. We are meant to be more and more human, not more male or female. Idea that man is composed of spirit, soul and body is found already in epistles of St. Paul and the gospel according to John, though it has often been denied even by religious authorities. Man was made unto imago Trinitatis - image of Threefold God. Marriage as a metaphor, speaks of the unity of masculine and feminine aspects of the soul. The Gospel of Thomas states:

Jesus saw infants being suckled. He said to his disciples, "These infants being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom."
They said to him, "Shall we then, as children, enter the kingdom?"
Jesus said to them, "When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter the kingdom."

Hannele Koivunen, Ph.D., comments this passage: Here manhood and womanhood represent opposites. Finally harmony, balance and unity between them leads to understanding or the kingdom of heaven. Child and virgin are often seen as androgyne beings and they are used to characterize this wholeness. (Gospel of Thomas from all the gospels outside the New Testament canon, has raised most discussion and interest as a new potential source for Jesus-study. Its theology is not necessarily more gnostic or older than that of gospel according to John, and these two have close connections.)

Duality

Some Church Fathers explain that man was not a sexual being before the Fall. In early Church martyrdom was a highest form of Christianity, as it denyed the suffering of the body. When Christianity became a state religion, monks and nuns took a place of martyrs, for as opportunity of martyrdom decreased, respect for virginity was strongly emphasized in the church. Body became a dwelling place of evil and sin. Divine love was spiritual and incorporeal. Same duality was characteristic to Manichaeanism: Forces of light and darkness fought the battle between spirituality and materiality. Temptation of Gnosticism is still current today: it is hard for us to think that the material could mediate the divine, as in sacraments.

"This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world." (1 John 4:2-3)

Christianity inherited ideas of Antiquity and Hellenism about sexuality. Sexual body was a symbol of mortality and decadence. Christian sexual ethics were formed around existing social norms: On the one hand, traditional patriarchal world view, early Christian emphasis on the end of times on the other.

Morals of Christ

Jesus chose metaphors related to earth, linking Him with down-to-earth tradition, which takes a positive attitude in physicality too. Jesus spoke of the power of seed, earth that gives growth, trees, birds, flowers. He emphasizes holy carelesness and resting in existence. According to Oscar Wilde, Jesus thinks life is changing, flowing activity, and to limit it within some preconceptions means death. Morals of Christ is pure compassion, and even if all He ever said would have been: "Her many sins have been forgiven - for she loved much", that alone would have been worth to die for! Pharisee at higher moral level is in worse position than a sinful woman, because of his lesser love. He belonged to "inner circle", yet he was without communion with Jesus.

All workers in the Vineyard (Mt.20) were equally payed, regardless of how long they worked. And why not? asks Oscar Wilde: Probably none of them deserved anything anyway. A woman of Canaan (Mt.15) begged for crumbs which fall from the table, and she got a whole meal! Oscar Wilde calls love a Sacrament (De Profundis), and adds that those will receive God's eternal love who are eternally worthless to receive it.

Christ couldn't stand lifeless systems which treated people like objects and all alike - as if anyone was like someone else, Wilde argues. Pharisees cared more about rules than human relation, and again and again Jesus broke those rules and critisized religious authorities. For Christ there were no rules, only exceptions. He couldn't stand fools, especially if foolishness was a result of education. This type of man is characteristic to modern times: They have keys of knowledge and even though they don't know how to use them, they wouldn't give them to others either.

Authority of St. Paul

For his contemporaries Paul was not such an unquestionable authority as in later centuries. They critisized his speaches and were not ready to accept everything he taught. Leaders of the congregation of Jerusalem thought Paul was the first heretic. Jewish Christianity of the Ebionites, who denied the divinity of Jesus, and was condemned as herecy around 150 AD, does not seemingly differ much from the faith of the first Jewish believers. Yet it was abandoned because in changing situation it didn't change. So one might also say, one of the first herecies was conservatism.

Even though Paul was willing to change old Jewish norms concerning, for instance, circumcision, with gender roles and sexual behaviour he strictly followed the norms of Roman society at the time. Teaching of Jesus included in the gospels and the ethical teaching of the rest of the New Testament are surprisingly loosely connected. Easy-going attitude of Jesus in people that were considered worthless, seems not to have affected in moral ideas of the later Christian teachers. Action of Jesus appears to be anything but compatible with that model of decent citizen early Christians followed. They shared the moral code of their surroundings. The New Testament authors and their contemporaries didn't follow the radical ethics and the way of life of their Lord. Christ doesn't really teach anything, but close to Him a man becomes somebody. And everybody at least once a lifetime will walk on the road to Emmaus with Christ.

Saints and sinners

As Oscar Wilde points out, the world has always loved Saints because they are the closest possibility to get in touch with the perfection of God. Christ always loved sinners because they are the closest possibility to get in touch with perfection of man. Jesus didn't allow the settled patterns to restrict love and suppress people's life. He found how the most abstemious people often went so far in suppressing their feelings that they started to treat those with weaker morals harshly. That's why victims of their own weaknesses loved Jesus, and He saw the nobility of Spirit in them: In all their incontinence they were closer to God than the disciplined with their incessant alertness. Idea that fornication is much worse than any other evil before God, was common around the Christendom and is still alive, even though it is very questionable and can't be supported by gospels: After all, Christ did tolerate fornication much more than hypocrisy, greed, or even gluttony.

Sacrament of Creation

In Eastern Orthodox theology, the Holy Communion is called a sacrament of creation: Man is united with God through bread and wine, the gifts of nature, and through them all creation is with us: They are the offering of the whole world with cosmic dimensions. Just like Christmas - according to St. Francis - is the Festival of the Festivals of all creation, since the Son of God was born in a humble cave, with donkey and bull by his side. In 2 Cor.5:19 Paul writes: "God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation." Bethlehem and Jerusalem are linked. Incarnation and atonement embrace.

Eucharistic Service is artistic form of the gospel of Christ. The Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-11): John says it is a sign, and this sign which enlightens everything after that, shows that Christian life is a Wedding Feast. Jesus is the true Bridegroom. He is the actual Host, who offers wine. His mother also has an important role: pointing to her son, she said: “Do whatever he tells you.”

Communion is the gift from God, sign of His love. Sacrament is a point of unification of the visible and the invisible worlds, encounter of God and man - but also a union between the visible and the invisible aspects of man; sacramentalism is expression of holism - Salvation is healing.

What is the kingdom of God like?

If a man can love and honor his own body and physicality of his neighbor, he can better love and honor the body of the earth as well. We live in a corporeal body in this material world for reason! Christianity is very physical and transformative religion. Physicality is strongly present in the New Testament: God is born from young woman, he eats and drinks, and finally dies bleeding on the cross. Christ put on the body of creation - body representing created dimension. What is the kingdom of God like? (Luke 13:18-21) Material world became a vessel where Jesus laid his spiritual-material message. 1 Cor.15:42-50 even death itself is conquered through the resurrection of the body - which St. Paul calls "a spiritual body".

Sexual acts

Jesus didn't just feel love - He is Love! Any particular  physical act of love was unnecessary for Him. What comes to specific deeds, particularly sexual acts, it should be obvious, it is a motive behind a deed that counts!

"You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Mt.5:27-28)

 

If a motive is mutual love, sex is sanctified, a sacred act in the temple of body, a sacrament. Sin is selfish, abusive and hurtful behaviour.

Christianity adopted three terms related to love from ancient Greece. Agape means love as friendship and sharing. In letters of John, God is also called agape (1 John 4:8). See also: John 15:10. To love in social and moral sense. This form of love is totally selfless, and it won't change whether it is returned or not. It is love that serves others. Eros is passion of love, love that wants for oneself; it's based on strong romantic feelings towards another person. Philia is love as affection, love between friends; To love as a friend, to be fond of someone. It's based on friendship between two people, who share a mutual "give-and-take" relationship. Fact that human love is seen as manifestation or reflection of divine love does not make it any lesser. On the contrary, only then we may understand its value. Eros and Agape are not opposites to each other; rather they are like twin sisters who need one another. St. Paul describes love (agape) as BEING for others, not doing something (1 Cor.13:4-7).

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The Song of Solomon

The Song of Solomon could be understood also as a hymn of praise for sexuality, a love poem. It speaks to all senses and it is possible to read it without religious metaphors. Woman is independent, she has initiating and active role; She surrenders to man only at her will and sexual life is not just satisfaction of man's needs. Church Father Origen interpreted it both communally - as a relationship between Christ and His Church - and individually as a mystical love affair between Christ and human soul. Through Communion Christ joins in Holy Matrimony with His Church. Corporeality is reflected in a positive way in a practice of Christianity: in Communion Christians have the body and blood of Christ. Sacramental life of the Church is a logical effect of Incarnation. Whole person is involved in sacramental prayer, even up to one's body. Church used to be spiritual but appeared in the flesh of Christ; it came from above. Now the Church is flesh and Christ is Spirit.

In early Christianity, both men and women - or to be more precise, their souls - could be the Brides of Christ. St. John of the Cross loved the Song of Solomon most of all the books in the Bible. He even wanted to hear it at his deathbed. Spiritual meaning of the text is within its literal meaning, not without it. Concept of God strongly dominating the text is brought forth through eroticism, whish was seen created by God. Yet God is not mentioned, neither is sin or innocense; We are at the level beyond these concepts. We are taken into Paradise. This book speaks of the one and only thing needed in life, thing we were made for: LOVE. This is how God meant love: So absolute, so all-embracing, so sovereign.

Lover

How beautiful you are, my darling!
       Oh, how beautiful!
       Your eyes are doves.

Beloved

How handsome you are, my lover!
       Oh, how charming!
       And our bed is verdant.

(Song of Solomon 1:15-16) So speaks love. So speaks God to man and man to God. There are times when a soul is more living in God and other times when God is more living in a soul.

Eros and the Holy Spirit

Philosophy of Antiquity knew the idea of spiritual dimensions of erotic love AND erotic basis of spiritual love. According to Plato, love is an elevatory force which will raise human soul from visible to invisible. The love force of the Holy Spirit effects in man as Eros force and pushes man to move, making him to reach for the Highest Good. Hans Urs von Balthasar thinks it has had destructive effect that eroticism of the Song of Solomon has been lost in theology. St. Maxim the Confessor stated that St. Paul was possessed by this divine erotic force and while participating with its ecstatic power, he was inspired to say: "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me" (Gal.2:20). He uttered these words as a true lover, and like he says himself, as such who was "out of his mind for the sake of God" (2 Cor.5:13), who doesn't live his own life but the life of the loved one, because of his fervent love for Him. Mystical and ecstatic experiences of Mystics were often very sensual and corporeal.

Down to earth

"Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11) We don't need to look into the sky all the time, turn away from earthly life. Both the "wind" and the "spirit" are in Greek pneuma and in Hebrew ruach: the supernatural exists by the natural! In order to surrender to God, man must first approve himself as he is. Humility, in Latin humilitas, comes from word humus, which means ground, soil, earth; So humilis or humble is the one who is "down to earth". "As in Heavens, so also on earth": It's not the only aim of Christian faith to take immaterial souls up to heaven, but we are obliged to take care for the earth and what happens to it and its inhabitants as well.

Religious authorities would gladly change the world according to their minds, but the world just doesn't fit in that mould. Society needs more love than all the rules and regulations. In the world senses serve love. It's not looking for sensual pleasures, though, but human happiness of the loved one. Love wants to give itself and only lift others. Neighborly love begins home, in ourselves, and then love must manifest among those who are closest to us. They are here to teach us to love. And when love is born, it is always a big surprise.

I confess my love, not a sin. God gave me happiness to love a man. In him I love God. Isn't it the first commandment to love? With same heart I love man and I love God. Why couldn't man live humanly? Problem is not God but the Church. We love the most perfect man (Jesus), unconditionally.

Jesus said, "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become like me; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him." (Gospel of Thomas)

When love won't follow the course of nature - biological drive for procreation - and it's not looking for a missing opposite, then it rises above nature: it is pure Love for Love.


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