Thursday, April 9, 2009

Jesus died, was resurrected and that changes sexuality?

I feel like starting this posting off with, “on the way to the resurrection I encountered a natural case of homosexual sex.” But not really! On the new blog of Voices of Sophia, Heather W. Reichgott has posted an essay about the resurrection. But it is also about how the resurrection entails changing the way people have sex. It is actually an apologia for homosexual sex. It is entitled Resurrection and natural law: a feminist perspective.

The basic point is that since God changed the laws of nature to allow for the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he undoubtedly has began a process through the resurrection of changing other natural laws, e.g. the naturalness of heterosexual sex.

Referring to Elizabeth Stuart and her article “Queering Death,” Reichgott writes, “Meditating on the resurrection account in the gospel of John, Stuart claims that the resurrection undoes the necessity of this pattern [heterosexual sex, and reproduction] , for it undoes the finality of death.”

Reichgott concludes that “the process between natural process and ethical necessity has been broken completely by the resurrection,” and goes on to state that “If God’s plan for life and death is not limited by the grave, then there is no reason to believe God’s plan for gender is limited by the natural process of heterosexual reproduction.”

One could come at this by a thousand ways. But I believe an important way is to simply say that death was never meant to be natural but entered, what C.S. Lewis called “the Silent Planet,” because of the disobedience of humanity. Jesus Christ did not come to break natural laws, but to restore what had been broken. Something large is missing here-how could the biblical understanding that Jesus came to live, die and be resurrected for sinful humanity get changed to Jesus died and was resurrected in order that one might sin with impunity.

And here is another thought. When Jesus redeems us we are united to him. It is his righteousness, his holiness, his life we share. How is it that in our union to Jesus Christ we could possibly live habitually in unrepentant sin since he is our life? The natural law of sin and death has not been broken for those who reject the utter graciousness of Christ. They will die the final death, the everlasting death. But those who belong to Jesus Christ will be abundantly fed by Jesus Christ in this life and experience the glorious life of Christ eternally.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:35)

23 comments:

Andrea said...

I feel the need to point out that the only reason death exists in this world is because of the sin of mankind. God did not design this world to die. Instead, God offers eternal life to those who accept His gift and who choose to live by His laws. This is a personal choice each person must make for themselves. It is curious to watch some people rationalize their behaviour into God's gift. It invokes a sense of sadness that they have not grasped the true meaning of what is being offered. As Christians, we must continue to love them and pray for them (and hopefully guide them) back to the straight and narrow way which leads home to God.

Andrea Hightower
Sac, CA

Mac said...

Have these people no shame?

Mac said...

Sorry

Mac McCarty
Downingtown, PA

Aric Clark said...

For an alternate viewpoint consider what I wrote on Natural Law a couple days ago. It is too long to copy here or I would.

Aric Clark
Ft. Morgan, CO

Dave Moody said...

The argument put forth, doesn't hold water

Because of the resurrection, I can-
- smoke and eat and drink immoderately- gluttony is abrogated... b/c the natural process of life has been interrupted
- litter and pollute the planet to our hearts content, b/c the natural process has been interrupted
-can have sex with children who are willing... b/c the natural boundaries have been broken down by Christ's resurrection...

I just must've gone to the wrong school, and had the wrong prof's...

Dave Moody said...

Sorry...
Dave Moody
S.IL.

Kevin said...

What an utter blashpemy to reduce the apex of Christ's redeeming work down to justification of what the Bible repeatedly calls an abomination. Thanks for bringing this travesty of Christ's Passion to our attention, Viola.

Kevin
Macon, MS

The Fab Five said...

Who are the Voices of Sophia? Are they PCUSA?? Who is Sophia?

Viola Larson said...

Fab Five,

Voices of Sophia is a group of women that grew out of the Re-imagining Conference about fourteen years ago. The women at that conference prayed to Sophia, had a communion service with milk and honey, had speakers who rejected the atonement of Jesus, etc.

They have now aligned with the Witherspoon Society, a progressive group that is pushing hard for the ordination of unrepentant homosexuals in the PCUSA. These are both groups, who although not officially PCUSA, work within the PCUSA.

I know I often forget,
But I do need you to give your full name, City and State when commenting.

And I still love your blog.

Viola Larson said...

A friend of mine, who doesn't blog e-mailed me because they were afraid that I believed in annihilation at death if the sinner has not repented and found salvation in Jesus. That was because I referred to "everlasting death."

I assured her and I do everyone else I do believe in a real hell and damnation. Here is a quote from a favorite author of mine which I put in a post over a year ago. It is by a Lutheran pastor Walter Wangerin. This is how I see it.

"Hear, then of the death those who trust in Jesus shall not die. Hear and tremble and give thanks to God.


It is the Dying Absolute. It is the sundering of every relationship for good, forever, and for all. It is more than the cutting of earthly relationships, for it is the experience of eternal, irrevocable solitude. It is perpetual exile from God. From love. It is perhaps (though I do not understand this) the death that knows it is dead. Now, finally, one knows what love is, though one is severed forever from loving and being loved. Now one knows God both in goodness and in glory, and fears him, and honors him, and would even believe in him, but cannot, for God has departed from that one eternally. This is the death of every holy alternative: what is, must be the same forever.


It is a divine and solemn irony, for God hath finally granted the sinner, now in his fourth death, what he took from God in the first: complete independence, a perfect autonomy, a singularity like unto nothing in all possibilities--except the singularity of God before he began to create. But he who has died the fourth death is not God; he could never create, and now he can accomplish nothing. He is the god of a little realm that admits one god only, his impotent self. He can only know despair. He is lost, and 'lost' is all he may say of himself forever, no attribute, no other characteristic, no past nor future, that single thing. 'I perish.' Apollumai


The utter state of solitude is the Dying Absolute. Outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.


Throughout the generations, its common name has been Hell."

Viola Larson
Sacramento, Ca

Marcie said...

VOS must be a pagan group. This is the worst form of apostasy from the gospel, to turn the singular event of history into an excuse to validate one's desires to sin.

Is the author in the PC(USA)? Does anyone know?

Toby Brown
Butler, PA

Charlie McFarlin said...

There is a term for this kind of logic in Latin - "non sequitur"!!!

Charlie McFarlin
Staunton, VA

Anonymous said...

Viola,

I went back and read the article you mention. I think in a way you do it a disservice.

The point of the argument is stated up front:

"The resurrection, a gracious act of God subverting the normal processes of nature, has crucial implications for theologies of gender that base themselves in natural law."

If you don't base your theology on natural law, then the article does not talk to you.

Do you base your theology on natural law? I didn't get that impression.

I don't.

But I agree that the resurrection completely subverts natural law.

Now Andrea says that death is not part part of natural law. That God did not design this world to die. Well, sorry, but the evidence is completely to the contrary. Death is a fundamental element of life since the very first living cell sprung forth from the primordial soup, billions of years before humans walked the Earth. And if we ever find extraterrestrial life, it will be subject to death as well.

And before anybody starts quoting bible passages that I already know, I'll just ask them re-read the Genesis story where God told Adam that if he ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree he would die. Adam knew what God meant right? He was not unfamiliar with death.

The death that Jesus died was the death that all natural beings must and have always suffered. His resurrection was the first of its kind.

It subverts ALL the laws of nature, and with them, all theologies that are based on natural law.

Tom
KC

Viola Larson said...

Tom,

I am not totally sure what your point is. Do you agree that what Heather wrote changes sexuality or not?

However you put it, the resurrection of Jesus does not make sin okay.

I will be very busy for the next two days, so although I will take the time to publish what other people write, I will not be commenting.
May you have a very blessed Easter and Holy Saturday, as today is called in the Holy Week.

Anonymous said...

Viola,

My point is that Heather was not arguing that the resurrection makes sin OK. Nor was she arguing that the resurrection changes sexuality. You did her a disservice by claiming that she did.

Her argument is that natural law theologies are undermined by the resurrection due to its unnatural essence.

It's a good argument. I agree.

And any argument that tries to say some aspect of sexuality is sinful on the basis of natural law is equally undermined. I agree again.

You have never made the argument that some aspect or other of sexuality is sinful on the basis of natural law. Your basis is that God said so in writing. That is a very different argument.

Heather wasn't talking about that.

But it might be interesting to ask her what she thinks about your argument and have a fair apples to apples dialog.

Does that make more sense? Have a Blessed Easter as well.

Tom
KC

Kattie W. Coon said...

Viola said:

“Heather W. Reichgott has posted an essay about the resurrection. But it is also about how the resurrection entails changing the way people have sex. It is actually an apologia for homosexual sex.”

I think Tom has it right. Viola seems to be doing Heather a disservice. Heather does not seem to be a proponent of theology based on natural law, so I don’t see how this essay is really an apologia. She said to Aric Clark in the comments section of her essay:

“I’m not actually a big fan of natural law theology, mostly because of my views on nature and grace: nature is created good but is also fallen, so that it becomes very hard to observe “what is” and thereby come to conclusions about “what should be.” Also, our equipment for observing and coming to conclusions–our eyes and brains and all of that–is fallen too.

Since those views on nature and grace are pretty orthodox for a Protestant, that really makes me wonder why so many orthodox Protestants are suddenly willing to go to natural law theology when it comes to gender roles.”

On to the actual article…

We see pretty much right off the bat Heather uses language that distances herself from the ideas she’s putting forward about natural law theology, but attributes them instead to some feminist theologians. I would also point out here that she never claims that this article constitutes an official position of Voices of Sophia, which seems to be what some here are assuming.

She says:

“Plenty of feminist theologians take a dim view of miracles, for a variety of reasons. Some feminists react against the authoritarian/literalist(1) view of the Bible that insists at the same time on miracles and on the superiority of men over women. Others are closely aligned with academic and other communities that prefer a scientific view of the world, or rather, one form of science in which miracles are not considered a possibility. While I respect these positions, I am a feminist who takes a strong view of miracles, especially the resurrection of Christ.”

Although, like Heather, I’m not a big fan of natural law theology, I still found the essay to be rather interesting.

Kattie
Huntsville, Al

timeforthetruth said...

Viola,

Just a thought on those who would disregard arguments from natural law. Does not that disregard lead to a rejection of biblical, special revelation as well? For Paul often uses arguments from natural law, especially throughout Romans, but also in 1 Corinthians 11 in regards to hair, and headship. However one might interpret these passages, it is quite clear that Paul is arguing from natural law and the proper order of things, as observed and received from nature.

Therefore, if one were to conclude that the resurrection subverts all natural law arguments, they would have to conclude that Paul makes errors in arguing from natural law and thereby also rejecting those passages of special revelation.

Adel Thalos
Snellville, GA

Kattie W. Coon said...

Adel,

I'm a bit confused, has someone suggested that arguments taken from natural law should be disregarded? That seems to be where you are coming from, but I'm not certain. As I see it, the argument being put forth is that theologies (not merely arguments) >>based<< on natural law may have undesirable consequences, such as rejection of the possibility of resurrection and other miracles.

Kattie
Huntsville, Al

Viola Larson said...

Tom, Kattie, Adel,

you are all accepting this statement by Heather,

"The problem with this argument [that gender roles and heterosexuality are what is moral under natural law] is that the link between natural process and ethical necessity has been broken completely by the resurrection."

That natural law produces ethical necessity seems to me to be totally off. Something is not ethical because of necessity. I'm not even sure a case could be made for something that is an "ethical" necessity. A natural process does not an ethical command make.

For instance it seems that many men have a propensity for adultery, however, we do not see that as an ethical necessity. (At least I hope not.) Some men are by nature violent; same argument. In fact, nature red in tooth and claw, as the saying goes, does not make for any such ethical necessity unless of course you are a social Darwinist. And there are some of them still around.

All of these examples instead show that ethics must often go against natural law.

Now if you are talking about falling off of buildings because of gravity, or starving to death because by nature we must eat, that is something else.

We could also say that in order for people to reproduce their union must be between a man and a woman. That is a necessity, one follows from the other. But that is not an ethical necessity and here I put the emphasis on ethical.

Necessity implies something must be done a certain way in order for it to happen. A sperm and an egg must meet in order for there to be a child. That could be done in a very unethical way such as in rape.

On the other hand Heather, who has now suggested on her blog comments that she doesn't like natural law theology has, in her posting, made a leap from, God changed natural law with the resurrection to, so he can overcome other natural laws. But where is anything about ethics in that.

She, as far as I am concerned is talking about apples and oranges. But nonetheless if you want to make any kind of an ethical imperative a necessity, philosophically speaking, I don’t think you can do it. Even Kant failed as far as I am concerned.

I still hold with what I wrote.

Kattie W. Coon said...

"I still hold with what I wrote."

You do recall that the point of my comment was to correct your misuse of the term apologia don't you?

An essay can't be an apologia if the author doesn't agree with the argument being presented. Since Heather made it clear (in the essay itself not just the comments) that she has issues with theologies based on natural law, this can't be an apologia.

Also, you are quite wrong to state that I accept the statement you quoted of Heather. All I ever said about the essay is that I thought it was interesting, Heather doesn't agree with the argument, and it's not an apologia.

Kattie
Huntsville, Al

Viola Larson said...

Kattie,
I guess my fault was lumping you all together. Thats what happens when you are attempting to blog and clean up after twenty-four people after a holiday.
But I don't agree with you that it wasn't an apologia. Heather was arguing for, defending a change in gender roles including sexual practice by using another person's understanding of natural theolgy and how the resurrection broke the natural law. That is a defense.

Kattie W. Coon said...

Viola,

She was only presenting a point of view, one that was not her own. One can always argue a point of view without it being an apologia. Debate teams do this as a matter of routine. Journalists also do it. I think you're confusing her personal stand and argument on homosexuality with the argument she is presenting here. They are different.

Why don't you just ask her?

Kattie
Huntsville, Al

Anonymous said...

Viola,

Again I get the feeling you are talking past me.

I don't want to quote long passages of yours, but you conclude your beginning reply with "All of these examples instead show that ethics must often go against natural law"

You and Heather are in violent agreement!!!

You put words in her mouth that you disagree with, and then disagreed with them, but you do not actually disagree with anything she actually said. In fact you say it even louder.

Which is why I stand by my original comment.

Adel,

I do not read Paul the way you do. He neither invented natural law theology nor endorsed it. What you do see him doing is using the natural law theology of his contemporaries as a rhetorical snare to trap them as he does for example in Romans 1. He whips his fellow Pharisees into a frenzy of self righteous legalistic condemnation only to spring his trap in Rom 2. It's very effective. Even today people use Romans 1 to condemn the sin of others not realizing they have fallen into Paul's clever little trap.

A trap you can only be rescued from through the unnatural resurrection of Jesus Christ. It's brilliant.

But perhaps the best lesson was the one Jesus left us with. "The measure you give will be the measure you receive"

If you live by a theology of natural law then you will be judged by the laws of nature. But if you live by a theology of Grace, you will be judged by the laws of Grace.

I myself put all my Easter eggs in the basket of Grace. :-D

Tom
KC