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Author Topic: Was There Sex Prior to the Fall?  (Read 13909 times) Average Rating: 0
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Gebre Menfes Kidus
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« on: February 20, 2010, 01:50:43 AM »

In Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, it states:

"In keeping with Patristic teaching, Father Rose regarded sexual activity as having come into being since the fall... Affirming the Patristic teaching that there was no sexual desire before the fall, Father Seraphim wrote that 'this is the clearest indication of their dispassionateness before the fall.'"

So, I am wondering how this belief is to be reconciled with the fact that God commanded Adam and Eve to "Be fruitful and multiply" [Genesis 1:28] before the fall.


Thanks.


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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2010, 02:39:04 AM »

First off, I'm suspicious of any idea that the belief that Adam and Eve didn't enjoy sexual relations before the Fall is as universally patristic as Fr. Seraphim claimed.
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2010, 02:46:43 AM »

First off, I'm suspicious of any idea that the belief that Adam and Eve didn't enjoy sexual relations before the Fall is as universally patristic as Fr. Seraphim claimed.

Yeah, that's why I'm asking. I love Father Rose, but I'm not sure if this particualr position is reflective of universal Orthodox teaching. Clearly the Scripture teaches that Adam and Eve were commanded to "procreate" before they fell. And it seems implausible that they procreated by means other than sex. But then again, Our Lady gave birth to Christ apart from sex. I wonder if any Fathers taught that due to the purity of Adam and Eve prior to the fall that they were able to procreate without sex as the Virgin Mary did? (Just thinking out loud, not opining.)


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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2010, 06:36:29 AM »

First off, I'm suspicious of any idea that the belief that Adam and Eve didn't enjoy sexual relations before the Fall is as universally patristic as Fr. Seraphim claimed.

Yeah, that's why I'm asking. I love Father Rose, but I'm not sure if this particualr position is reflective of universal Orthodox teaching. Clearly the Scripture teaches that Adam and Eve were commanded to "procreate" before they fell. And it seems implausible that they procreated by means other than sex. But then again, Our Lady gave birth to Christ apart from sex. I wonder if any Fathers taught that due to the purity of Adam and Eve prior to the fall that they were able to procreate without sex as the Virgin Mary did? (Just thinking out loud, not opining.)


Selam
One thing I think we need to remember is that Mary was able to procreate without sex not as a direct consequence of her purity, lest anyone who live a life of such purity as she did be able to do the same, but solely because it was God's plan that she bear His Son into the world.
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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2010, 09:29:35 AM »

I don't know how widespread the belief was, but some Fathers did indeed say that there were no sexual relations before the fall. Here's what St. John of Damascus said:

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Carnal men abuse virginity , and the pleasure-loving bring forward the following verse in proof, Cursed be every one that raises not up seed in Israel. But we, made confident by God the Word that was made flesh of the Virgin, answer that virginity was implanted in man's nature from above and in the beginning. For man was formed of virgin soil. From Adam alone was Eve created. In Paradise virginity held sway. Indeed, Divine Scripture tells that both Adam and Eve were naked and were not ashamed. But after their transgression they knew that they were naked, and in their shame they sewed aprons for themselves. And when, after the transgression, Adam heard, dust you are and unto dust shall you return , when death entered into the world by reason of the transgression, then Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bare seed. So that to prevent the wearing out and destruction of the race by death, marriage was devised that the race of men may be preserved through the procreation of children.

But they will perhaps ask, what then is the meaning of “male and female,” and “Be fruitful and multiply?” In answer we shall say that “Be fruitful and multiply ”does not altogether refer to the multiplying by the marriage connection. For God had power to multiply the race also in different ways, if they kept the precept unbroken to the end. But God, Who knows all things before they have existence, knowing in His foreknowledge that they would fall into transgression in the future and be condemned to death, anticipated this and made “male and female,” and bade them “be fruitful and multiply.” Let us, then, proceed on our way and see the glories of virginity: and this also includes chastity. - St. John of Damascus, Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, 4, 24

And here is a passage from the book Deification in Christ...

Quote
Before, however, we examine this compassionate intervention of God in more detail, we must first recall briefly the clear and unanimous teaching of the Fathers that before the fall there was no use of marriage, as we understand it today, for the purpose of reproduction.

St. John Chrysostom writes: "When he was created, Adam remained in paradise, and there was no question of marriage. He needed a helper and a helper was provided for him. But even then marriage did not seem to be necessary... Desire for sexual intercourse and conception and the pangs and childbirth and every form of corruption were alien to their soul." (On Virginity, 14)

This text is reminiscent, even verbally, of the one in which St. Gregory of Nyssa, as we have seen, defines "sexual union," "conception," "birth" and the like, as aspects of the "garments of skin." The teachings of the two Fathers coincides, and explains why in speaking about marriage just now I stressed the phrase "as we understand it today." In my opinion, the main emphasis in these passages falls in fact on the sexual intercourse, conception, pangs, childbirth and remaining forms of corruption which were added to man as "garments of skin" after the fall. - Panayiotis Nellas, Deification in Christ: Orthodox Perspectives on the Nature of the Human Person, (St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1987), p. 72
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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2010, 10:29:59 AM »

St. John Chrysostomos keeps repeating this thesis, that sex as we know it appeared only after the Fall, over and over and over again in his Homilies on Genesis...  Embarrassed I have read that myself; and also, I read quotes from St. Gregory of Nyssa where he says essentially the same, but even more emotionally (negatively), writing something like, "one has to wonder, just how in the world could we, humans, acquire this afwul, sleazy, cattle-like way to reproduce."

Honestly, that shocked me when I read it, and that continues to shock me now. Not only there is nothing in these (and perhaps other?) Fathers of the Church about things like sexual gratification, orgasm (in men or in women - I wonder if they even knew that women experience it, too?), etc., but there seems to be a thought that sexual intercourse even in marriage is by definition passionate; it is something un-desirable and something that opposes spirituality of a human being.

I can only imagine the reaction of St. John Chrysostomos if he read "For Whom The Bell Tolls..."

 
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2010, 10:58:32 AM »

First off, I'm suspicious of any idea that the belief that Adam and Eve didn't enjoy sexual relations before the Fall is as universally patristic as Fr. Seraphim claimed.
I don't believe I've seen anything contrary.  The problem is, the ones writting on it were all monks who, as their other comments show, hadn't a clue about marriage.  I'd be interested to be refreshed to know what St. Augustine wrote on this point, if he did.
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2010, 11:04:02 AM »

First off, I'm suspicious of any idea that the belief that Adam and Eve didn't enjoy sexual relations before the Fall is as universally patristic as Fr. Seraphim claimed.
I don't believe I've seen anything contrary.  The problem is, the ones writting on it were all monks who, as their other comments show, hadn't a clue about marriage. 

Well, some people would object to this and say that they DID have a clue. I heard this, for example, from one Ukrainian Eastern Rite Catholic priest: "I never cheated on my wife. Does this mean that I cannot preach fidelity to those who DID?"  Wink
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2010, 11:44:00 AM »

St. John Chrysostomos keeps repeating this thesis, that sex as we know it appeared only after the Fall, over and over and over again in his Homilies on Genesis...  Embarrassed I have read that myself; and also, I read quotes from St. Gregory of Nyssa where he says essentially the same, but even more emotionally (negatively), writing something like, "one has to wonder, just how in the world could we, humans, acquire this afwul, sleazy, cattle-like way to reproduce."

Honestly, that shocked me when I read it, and that continues to shock me now. Not only there is nothing in these (and perhaps other?) Fathers of the Church about things like sexual gratification, orgasm (in men or in women - I wonder if they even knew that women experience it, too?), etc., but there seems to be a thought that sexual intercourse even in marriage is by definition passionate; it is something un-desirable and something that opposes spirituality of a human being.
I would say dispassionate sexual intercourse is definitely something un-desirable.

I was shocked myself when I first read monastic literature in any great number (Egyptian Fathers): they continually talk about food and gluttony.  Not so much on sex.  That might be the difference between Coptic thought (more down to earth and realistic) and Greek (more theoretical and egg headed).

Since the Fathers make the connection between the "Male and Female" with the Persons of the Trinity sharing one nature.  For a facile "no sex before the Fall" won't do.
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2010, 11:49:13 AM »

I love our Holy Fathers, but there are certainly some times that I believe their monasticism is too hardcore and influences them too much. We must also remember that not everything the Church Fathers say is entirely correct, they aren't infallible. I'm sure this is an instance of a theological theologumina that one doesn't have to agree with if they don't want to.

I don't think sexual lust existed before the fall, but sex itself is not sinful (that is, within the right relationship of marriage) and love is something that is holy.
I think it's just humankind that turns it into something thats disgusting, vile and barbaric.
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2010, 11:59:25 AM »

First off, I'm suspicious of any idea that the belief that Adam and Eve didn't enjoy sexual relations before the Fall is as universally patristic as Fr. Seraphim claimed.
I don't believe I've seen anything contrary.  The problem is, the ones writting on it were all monks who, as their other comments show, hadn't a clue about marriage. 

Well, some people would object to this and say that they DID have a clue. I heard this, for example, from one Ukrainian Eastern Rite Catholic priest: "I never cheated on my wife. Does this mean that I cannot preach fidelity to those who DID?"  Wink
He said this in the context of this topic?  His submission is showing: as of late the Vatican has been promoting the idea that clerical marriage is the innovation, that only mandated celebacy is Apostolic, and that the "Eastern Rite" practice is just a concession (I guess like the concession not to have to use the Roman Latin rite).  Interesting how he puts marital union on a par with adultery, and equates fidelity with celibacy.

The problem that such a mentality has is that the Church has not put profession of monastic vows on par with the rite of marriage.  Only Chrsitians who do not have monasticism do not recognize Marriage as a Holy Mystery/Sacrament.

As for the clue thing, many speak of marriage as the "easy" route.  Anyone who says that hasn't a clue about marriage.
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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2010, 12:54:40 PM »

In Father Seraphim Rose: His Life and Works, it states:

"In keeping with Patristic teaching, Father Rose regarded sexual activity as having come into being since the fall... Affirming the Patristic teaching that there was no sexual desire before the fall, Father Seraphim wrote that 'this is the clearest indication of their dispassionateness before the fall.'"

So, I am wondering how this belief is to be reconciled with the fact that God commanded Adam and Eve to "Be fruitful and multiply" [Genesis 1:28] before the fall.

Off the top of my head, St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, and St. Maximus the Confessor all teach this. Sexuality and sexual division, not reproduction, were consequences of the Fall. In Paradise, man was to reproduce in some other way. In fact, sexual reproduction, within marriage, is almost a way of retrieving this asexual state, because the two become one flesh, "For a woman and a man are not two but one man" as St. John Chrysostom says.

Archimandrite Aimilianos of Simonopetra says this: 'When did marriage begin? When man sinned. Before that, there was no marriage, not in the present-day sense. It was only after the Fall, after Adam and Eve had been expelled from paradise, that Adam "knew" Eve (Gen 4.1) and thus marriage began. Why then? So that they might remember their fall and expulsion from paradise, and seek to return there. Marriage is thus a return to the spiritual paradise, the Church of Christ. "I am married" means, then, that I am a king, a true and faithful member of the Church.' (http://orthodoxinfo.com/praxis/marriage.aspx)

The fact that these Fathers were virgin monks makes them more, not less, qualified to speak on the proper state of man, including marriage and sexuality. God is the light of angels, angels are the light for monastics, monastics are the light for all men.

Finally, it is wrong to see the Fathers' statements on sexuality before the Fall to be a negative commentary on marriage. As far as I know, none of these Fathers had anything bad to say about marriage; rather, marriage is a way of restoring man's paradisaical state- though, of course, this restoration will only be complete in the age to come, where men will live like the angels and marriage (and sexuality) will be done away with.
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2010, 01:08:04 PM »

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The fact that these Fathers were virgin monks makes them more, not less, qualified to speak on the proper state of man, including marriage and sexuality.
I'm sorry but I'm going to have to disagree... God created man and woman, not just man and God. I don't disagree with monasticism, in fact I think it's very important and very beneficial. However I do believe that monastics often don't fully understand (though we don't either) marriage or what goes on between man and woman. Yes they often have significant spiritual vision. But we must remember, monastics are people. When people isolate themselves from something or someone, they begin to lose touch with it and don't fully grasp it.

For example, I know my family very well. Yet, no matter how much I study and learn facts about my roommates families, I will NEVER understand them as intimately as my own, unless I become a member of their family myself.

IMO, unless you are living in the world, and unless you are in marriage itself, you cannot really understand everything that goes on. (however, even if you are married, you don't fully understand everything)

I'm not married yet, and although I could talk to married couples and although I could read about marriage, there is no way I can understand it unless I have had that experience and have lived in it with a spouse.

Again, I'm not trying to denigrate monasticism. However if I were married and seeking advice, I would seek out a Priest that is married before I'd look for a celibate Priest. Same thing for other issues such as dating, I try to seek out a Priest who has been through that before I sought out a Priest/monastic who has never experienced such interactions with the opposite sex.

Same thing IMO goes for things like listening to secular music, partying, dancing etc... I've read many monastics speaking against this as something worldly and unChristian... Yet I've spoken to Orthodox Christians living in the world, and indeed Priests about this issue, and all see it differently than monastics. Monastics way of life is based on separation from the world (so that they may pray more earnestly for it), but in that separation, I believe their humanity then shapes their view against everything that is not of the Church or God.

I love monastics, I enjoy when we attend services at the monastery and when the two nuns come to services at our Church. I have the utmost respect for them, but I wouldn't seek out a monk for advice in a relationship or in something that they possibly haven't experienced themselves.
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2010, 01:27:54 PM »

Quote
Yes they often have significant spiritual vision. But we must remember, monastics are people. When people isolate themselves from something or someone, they begin to lose touch with it and don't fully grasp it.

The Church teaches the opposite- that by renouncing attachment and involvement in created things, the ascetic, in union with God, finally receives a complete understanding of the created world. The experience of the vision of God is far more universally illuminating than all of the direct, hands-on experience we can acquire in the world. The Saints didn't acquire their insights merely by philosophizing and reasoning.

We're not just talking about some random monks here. We're talking about some of the greatest Saints of our Church. How strange it is that we modern laymen say of these Fathers, "they were only human!" and thereby justify our own personal opinions which are equally human and, furthermore, buffeted by worldly passions.
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« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2010, 01:43:00 PM »

Quote
Yes they often have significant spiritual vision. But we must remember, monastics are people. When people isolate themselves from something or someone, they begin to lose touch with it and don't fully grasp it.

The Church teaches the opposite- that by renouncing attachment and involvement in created things, the ascetic, in union with God, finally receives a complete understanding of the created world. The experience of the vision of God is far more universally illuminating than all of the direct, hands-on experience we can acquire in the world. The Saints didn't acquire their insights merely by philosophizing and reasoning.

We're not just talking about some random monks here. We're talking about some of the greatest Saints of our Church. How strange it is that we modern laymen say of these Fathers, "they were only human!" and thereby justify our own personal opinions which are equally human and, furthermore, buffeted by worldly passions.

A monk once wrote that besides the wedding service, there is no praise of marraige in Orthodox worship. So that I figured why we have those hymns of "Christ coming forth from the tomb as a monk from his monastic cell."

I'd like St. Gregory's explanation of what a bride-groom does in his bridal chamber.
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« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2010, 01:49:38 PM »

So what about those Saints, especially the Apostles who were married? Did they have less spiritual sight than the monastic Saints? What about Christ, who attended parties, and lived in the world? Same for his Disciples & the Apostles.

I'm not saying the Saints had the greatest spiritual sight. I'm just saying that we must remember that they were people just like we were. Subject to temptation and sin, as well as psychological aspects. I believe they were a lot more holy than I am, but just because they were holy doesn't negate the fact that they were human and had bodies/brains that work like the rest of us.

Also, when I'm talking "monastics" I'm not necessarily talking about the Saints, I'm talking about monastics that haven't been made Saints.

You must remember that monasticism as we know today it really didn't exist until 100 or 200 years after Christ. (though St. John the Baptist certainly was monastic) So are the Saints prior to monasticism and the Saints that existed outside monasticism any less than the Saints who were monastics?
Because it seems that your logic seems to suggest such. Married people & people in the world can become just as Saintly as monastics. However, the way the two get there is very different.

Also, seeing ialmisry's post just reminded me... We also have to realize that it's all about Christ and his Church. Preparing for the wedding feast. The Bride of Christ is the Church. What do we think theosis essentially is? What is the Church? Are we not all one body?
That is the same that happens in marriage. Two become one.

Sexual relationships are not sinful, and IMO are not a result of the fall, this is something that is unfortunately taught in the West, that sex is bad and a result of our state. I've been taught that this is certainly NOT true.

In fact, I've even heard it said in Orthodoxy that marriage is harder than monasticism. Our Priest compares marriage to making sausage, it grinds you up and spits you out, but hopefully what comes out is good. If it isn't, then it still has changed you, hopefully for the better.
Is that not also what the Church is? I was told that becoming Orthodoxy was going to be rough. I've been in for a year now and that has already been true. It breaks you down, grinds you up, and spits you out. Yet, you come out for the better.
I've even heard that monastics marvel at marriage, because it is one of those mysteries, one of those sacraments that is beyond our understanding. That the uniting of two as one is not just some fluffy language we use, but it is actually true. You have to give yourself entirely to the other person, there really isn't room for yourself in marriage.
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« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2010, 02:11:02 PM »

St. John Chrysostom:
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Now, the virgins should listen to what follows: virginity does not simply mean sexual abstinence. She who is anxious about worldly affairs is not really a virgin. In fact, he says that this is the chief difference between a wife and a virgin. He doesn't mention marriage or abstinence, but attachment as opposed to detachment from worldly cares. Sex is not evil, but it is a hindrance to someone who desires to devote all her strength to a life of prayer. "If any one thinks that he is not behaving properly towards his virgin. . ." (v.36-4). These words refer to a man and a woman living in sexual continence as brother and sister; He approves of this but also says it is no sin if they marry. He concludes the passage by speaking of second marriage after the death of one's spouse. He even allows this, but says that it must be "in the Lord". "In the Lord" means with prudence and decency. We must always pursue these virtues, for without them we will never see God. No one should accuse me of negligently hurrying through Paul's words about virginity. I have written a whole book about this subject in which I tried examine accurately every aspect of virginity. It would be a waste of words to bring this topic up again. i refer you to this book if you want a more detailed discussion, and will close with one final statement. We must strive for self-control... St. Paul tells us to seek peace and the sanctification without which it is impossible to see the Lord. So whether we presently live in virginity, in our first marriage, or in our second, let us pursue holiness, that we may be counted worthy to see Him and to attain the Kingdom of Heaven, through the grace and love for mankind of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory, dominion, and honor, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen. -St. John Chrysostom
Edited by Coniaris, Anthony Daily Readings from the Writings of St. John Chrysostom Minneapolis, MN, Light & Life Publishing, 1988

All I'm trying to say is, it's okay if monastics live a celibate life, and indeed that is needed for their type of lifestyle. But that sort of lifestyle should not be enforced upon those who are married and live a different lifestyle. Neither should either lifestyle be cursed by the other, because each has it's importance. We cannot say that marriage and sex are bad, because they are not and neither is monasticism. I would question any monastic who claims that marriage and sex aren't as holy, and I would question any married couple who argue that monasticism isn't holy. Both are faulty and from as far as I've learned, both positions would be unOrthodox.
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« Reply #17 on: February 20, 2010, 02:20:11 PM »

So what about those Saints, especially the Apostles who were married? Did they have less spiritual sight than the monastic Saints? What about Christ, who attended parties, and lived in the world? Same for his Disciples & the Apostles.

Yeah, what about them? Have they said anything that contradicts the Fathers mentioned above?

Quote
Also, when I'm talking "monastics" I'm not necessarily talking about the Saints, I'm talking about monastics that haven't been made Saints.

And we're talking about Saints here. So...? Nobody here is arguing that the opinions of "monastics" are automatically authoritative. Obviously many monks have gone astray in many ways. 

Quote
So are the Saints prior to monasticism and the Saints that existed outside monasticism any less than the Saints who were monastics?
Because it seems that your logic seems to suggest such. Married people & people in the world can become just as Saintly as monastics.

Once again, the understanding that sexuality is an effect of corruption does not translate into a condemnation of marriage or a lessening of the spiritual potential of married people.

Quote
That is the same that happens in marriage. Two become one.

Which is why marriage goes a way toward repairing the damage of the Fall, as St. John Chrysostom writes.
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« Reply #18 on: February 20, 2010, 03:11:08 PM »

If there was no sex or intention of union between man and woman, then why did God create them male and female? Why did he create us anatomically the way he did? Or did male and female not receive their reproductive organs until after the fall?
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« Reply #19 on: February 20, 2010, 09:46:05 PM »

We can read in the book, Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, starting on page 6:

...when the Byzantines proposed to lead the Orthodox Church into concessions to the Latin heretics in the Union of Florence in 1439, the Slavs uncompromisingly rejected them. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 seemed to the Slavs to vindicate their view...

Then on page 13:

They [the Slavs] believed that the desire for sex came from outside the human being, and was not part of God’s original creation.

At pages 46-8 there is this:

Medieval Slavic pictures of Paradise depict Adam and Eve without sexual characteristics. It is only after the Fall that the symbols of sexuality appear...

Sexuality was evidence of the imperfection of the world. Consequently, the closer human beings came to reflecting the perfection of heaven, the less sexuality would be in evidence... Slavic clerical writers...did explicitly accept the notion that the Devil was the source of sexual desire. They believed that Satan sent sexual impulses to distract men and women from God and their salvation.

The didactic literature consistently portrayed sexual desires as of Satanic origin.

Page 52 then explains:

Sermons attributed to St. John Chrysostom...actively accepted sexual urges as being from the Devil.

[The above book is very well referenced and illustrated with far more mentions about this topic than I am able to offer here. God is able to raise up children of Faith by more mysterious ways than some understand.]

Matthew 3:9b - For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.
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« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2010, 10:00:24 PM »

Sigh. Thank you for that. That clears everything up.
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« Reply #21 on: February 20, 2010, 10:20:02 PM »

They [the Slavs] believed that the desire for sex came from outside the human being, and was not part of God’s original creation.
Oh those Russians and their heresies.

Medieval Slavic pictures of Paradise depict Adam and Eve without sexual characteristics.
On the other hand, the Lord Jesus Christ Whom we liberal Byzantines worship said: "“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning  ‘made them male and female. For this reason (i.e., because He made them male and female) a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and  the two shall become one flesh’?"

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« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2010, 10:25:32 PM »

They [the Slavs] believed that the desire for sex came from outside the human being, and was not part of God’s original creation.

Oh those Russians and their heresies.

How is this a heresy?
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« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2010, 10:26:40 PM »

They [the Slavs] believed that the desire for sex came from outside the human being, and was not part of God’s original creation.

Oh those Russians and their heresies.

How is this a heresy?
See above.
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« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2010, 11:27:23 PM »

They [the Slavs] believed that the desire for sex came from outside the human being, and was not part of God’s original creation.

Oh those Russians and their heresies.

How is this a heresy?
See above.

Ah, so your personal interpretation of one verse of scripture enables you to label as heretics Sts. John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, and John Damascene, among others.
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« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2010, 11:33:13 PM »

They [the Slavs] believed that the desire for sex came from outside the human being, and was not part of God’s original creation.

Oh those Russians and their heresies.

How is this a heresy?
See above.

Ah, so your personal interpretation of one verse of scripture enables you to label as heretics Sts. John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, and John Damascene, among others.
Its not my interpretation, its the interpretation of Blessed Theophylact in his exegesis of the Gospel of Matthew. But if you want to believe that God did not create sex or the sexual organs, go right ahead. Just don't pretend that its Orthodoxy. Its simply neurosis. Smiley
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« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2010, 11:36:25 PM »

Its not my interpretation, its the interpretation of Blessed Theophylact in his exegesis of the Gospel of Matthew. But if you want to believe that God did not create sex or the sexual organs, go right ahead. Just don't pretend that its Orthodoxy. Its simply neurosis. Smiley

So that is why testicles are so vulnerable.  It has nothing to do with the ability to regulate heat, but rather they were just sort of tacked on at the end.
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« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2010, 11:54:30 PM »

I think it might be helpful to separate sexual desire from sexual reproduction. I think there probably was sexual reproduction before the Fall, because what do we have the organs for, then? But I would be inclined to think sex would have been a passionless bodily function, like breathing; not what it is now.
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« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2010, 12:01:15 AM »

I would disagree, it cannot be passionless because of what it is... It isn't just a physical act, but a profound spiritual one. So it's hard for something so profound to be completely passionless...

Iconodule, did you ignore the other quote I put from St John Chrysostom? I have two more where he certainly doesn't say what you think he's saying.
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« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2010, 12:11:41 AM »

I would disagree, it cannot be passionless because of what it is... It isn't just a physical act, but a profound spiritual one. So it's hard for something so profound to be completely passionless...

But when Adam and Eve were spiritually in tune with God, that was the ultimate spiritual experience. They wouldn't have needed to have sex to experience that connection, they would have had it all the time with all people. Any spiritual event that happened during sex would have gone unnoticed by the profound state of love that was already there.
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« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2010, 12:14:43 AM »

They [the Slavs] believed that the desire for sex came from outside the human being, and was not part of God’s original creation.

Oh those Russians and their heresies.

How is this a heresy?
See above.

Ah, so your personal interpretation of one verse of scripture enables you to label as heretics Sts. John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, and John Damascene, among others.
Its not my interpretation, its the interpretation of Blessed Theophylact in his exegesis of the Gospel of Matthew. But if you want to believe that God did not create sex or the sexual organs, go right ahead. Just don't pretend that its Orthodoxy. Its simply neurosis. Smiley

Yes, let's reduce all opinions we disagree with to someone's psychological problems.  Roll Eyes Or just call them heresies- it makes us sound so much more authoritative.

I've got Blessed Theophylact's commentary right in front of me. (By the way, he relies very heavily on Chrysostom). He shows how the passage inveighs against divorce and polygamy, on the basis of Adam and Eve's "one flesh." Nothing is mentioned of sexual organs or sexual reproduction, which is besides his point to begin with; nothing here contradicts the Patristic understanding that sexual reproduction did not exist before the Fall. There is more than one way for male and female to be "one flesh"- such division is overcome not only in marriage, but also in the path to theosis.

The Fathers never denied the plain meaning of Genesis- that God created man male and female prior to the Fall. This was an act of prevision, to ensure man had the means to continue his race after his expulsion from Paradise. The distinction between male and female is not limited to physical organs. The sexual aspects of the division only manifested themselves after the Fall, wherefore Adam and Eve realized their nakedness, and Adam only "knew his wife" after the expulsion.

Read a little ahead to Theophylact's commentary on 19: 12, where he explains that Christ raised virginity above marriage. If sexuality is so intrinsic to man's being, why would He do that?
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« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2010, 12:26:14 AM »

We can read in the book, Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, starting on page 6:

...when the Byzantines proposed to lead the Orthodox Church into concessions to the Latin heretics in the Union of Florence in 1439, the Slavs uncompromisingly rejected them. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 seemed to the Slavs to vindicate their view...

Then on page 13:

They [the Slavs] believed that the desire for sex came from outside the human being, and was not part of God’s original creation.

At pages 46-8 there is this:

Medieval Slavic pictures of Paradise depict Adam and Eve without sexual characteristics. It is only after the Fall that the symbols of sexuality appear...

Sexuality was evidence of the imperfection of the world. Consequently, the closer human beings came to reflecting the perfection of heaven, the less sexuality would be in evidence

Then how come Satan doesn't have sex (sorry fans of "Rosemary's Baby," it doesn't happen).


Quote
... Slavic clerical writers...did explicitly accept the notion that the Devil was the source of sexual desire. They believed that Satan sent sexual impulses to distract men and women from God and their salvation.

The didactic literature consistently portrayed sexual desires as of Satanic origin.

Page 52 then explains:

Sermons attributed to St. John Chrysostom...actively accepted sexual urges as being from the Devil.

[The above book is very well referenced and illustrated with far more mentions about this topic than I am able to offer here. God is able to raise up children of Faith by more mysterious ways than some understand.]

Matthew 3:9b - For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.[/font][/size]

Is that why at the wedding of Cana Christ changed the bread into stones? Huh
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« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2010, 12:29:48 AM »

They [the Slavs] believed that the desire for sex came from outside the human being, and was not part of God’s original creation.

Oh those Russians and their heresies.

How is this a heresy?
See above.

Ah, so your personal interpretation of one verse of scripture enables you to label as heretics Sts. John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, and John Damascene, among others.
Its not my interpretation, its the interpretation of Blessed Theophylact in his exegesis of the Gospel of Matthew. But if you want to believe that God did not create sex or the sexual organs, go right ahead. Just don't pretend that its Orthodoxy. Its simply neurosis. Smiley

Yes, let's reduce all opinions we disagree with to someone's psychological problems.  Roll Eyes Or just call them heresies- it makes us sound so much more authoritative.

I've got Blessed Theophylact's commentary right in front of me. (By the way, he relies very heavily on Chrysostom). He shows how the passage inveighs against divorce and polygamy, on the basis of Adam and Eve's "one flesh." Nothing is mentioned of sexual organs or sexual reproduction, which is besides his point to begin with; nothing here contradicts the Patristic understanding that sexual reproduction did not exist before the Fall. There is more than one way for male and female to be "one flesh"- such division is overcome not only in marriage, but also in the path to theosis.

The Fathers never denied the plain meaning of Genesis- that God created man male and female prior to the Fall. This was an act of prevision, to ensure man had the means to continue his race after his expulsion from Paradise. The distinction between male and female is not limited to physical organs. The sexual aspects of the division only manifested themselves after the Fall, wherefore Adam and Eve realized their nakedness, and Adam only "knew his wife" after the expulsion.

Read a little ahead to Theophylact's commentary on 19: 12, where he explains that Christ raised virginity above marriage. If sexuality is so intrinsic to man's being, why would He do that?
Why would He call Himself the Bridegroom?  I don't recall Him calling Himself the monk.
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« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2010, 12:59:14 AM »

They [the Slavs] believed that the desire for sex came from outside the human being, and was not part of God’s original creation.

Oh those Russians and their heresies.

How is this a heresy?
See above.

Ah, so your personal interpretation of one verse of scripture enables you to label as heretics Sts. John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, and John Damascene, among others.
Its not my interpretation, its the interpretation of Blessed Theophylact in his exegesis of the Gospel of Matthew. But if you want to believe that God did not create sex or the sexual organs, go right ahead. Just don't pretend that its Orthodoxy. Its simply neurosis. Smiley

Yes, let's reduce all opinions we disagree with to someone's psychological problems.  Roll Eyes Or just call them heresies- it makes us sound so much more authoritative.

I've got Blessed Theophylact's commentary right in front of me. (By the way, he relies very heavily on Chrysostom). He shows how the passage inveighs against divorce and polygamy, on the basis of Adam and Eve's "one flesh." Nothing is mentioned of sexual organs or sexual reproduction, which is besides his point to begin with; nothing here contradicts the Patristic understanding that sexual reproduction did not exist before the Fall. There is more than one way for male and female to be "one flesh"- such division is overcome not only in marriage, but also in the path to theosis.

The Fathers never denied the plain meaning of Genesis- that God created man male and female prior to the Fall. This was an act of prevision, to ensure man had the means to continue his race after his expulsion from Paradise. The distinction between male and female is not limited to physical organs. The sexual aspects of the division only manifested themselves after the Fall, wherefore Adam and Eve realized their nakedness, and Adam only "knew his wife" after the expulsion.

Read a little ahead to Theophylact's commentary on 19: 12, where he explains that Christ raised virginity above marriage. If sexuality is so intrinsic to man's being, why would He do that?
I think ozgeorge did a pretty good job, though, of shooting down your idea that the Fathers spoke with a consensus on the matter of sex before the Fall.  Whatever other ideas you want to introduce from the commentary of St. Theophylact are really tangential to the question of the OP: the very simple question of whether Adam and Eve had sex before the Fall.
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« Reply #34 on: February 21, 2010, 01:09:29 AM »

They [the Slavs] believed that the desire for sex came from outside the human being, and was not part of God’s original creation.

Oh those Russians and their heresies.

How is this a heresy?
See above.

Ah, so your personal interpretation of one verse of scripture enables you to label as heretics Sts. John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, and John Damascene, among others.
Its not my interpretation, its the interpretation of Blessed Theophylact in his exegesis of the Gospel of Matthew. But if you want to believe that God did not create sex or the sexual organs, go right ahead. Just don't pretend that its Orthodoxy. Its simply neurosis. Smiley

Yes, let's reduce all opinions we disagree with to someone's psychological problems.  Roll Eyes Or just call them heresies- it makes us sound so much more authoritative.

I've got Blessed Theophylact's commentary right in front of me. (By the way, he relies very heavily on Chrysostom). He shows how the passage inveighs against divorce and polygamy, on the basis of Adam and Eve's "one flesh." Nothing is mentioned of sexual organs or sexual reproduction, which is besides his point to begin with; nothing here contradicts the Patristic understanding that sexual reproduction did not exist before the Fall. There is more than one way for male and female to be "one flesh"- such division is overcome not only in marriage, but also in the path to theosis.

The Fathers never denied the plain meaning of Genesis- that God created man male and female prior to the Fall. This was an act of prevision, to ensure man had the means to continue his race after his expulsion from Paradise. The distinction between male and female is not limited to physical organs. The sexual aspects of the division only manifested themselves after the Fall, wherefore Adam and Eve realized their nakedness, and Adam only "knew his wife" after the expulsion.

Read a little ahead to Theophylact's commentary on 19: 12, where he explains that Christ raised virginity above marriage. If sexuality is so intrinsic to man's being, why would He do that?
I think ozgeorge did a pretty good job, though, of shooting down your idea that the Fathers spoke with a consensus on the matter of sex before the Fall.  Whatever other ideas you want to introduce from the commentary of St. Theophylact are really tangential to the question of the OP: the very simple question of whether Adam and Eve had sex before the Fall.

And on this very simple question Blessed Theophylact says nothing.
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« Reply #35 on: February 21, 2010, 01:15:10 AM »

They [the Slavs] believed that the desire for sex came from outside the human being, and was not part of God’s original creation.

Oh those Russians and their heresies.

How is this a heresy?
See above.

Ah, so your personal interpretation of one verse of scripture enables you to label as heretics Sts. John Chrysostom, Gregory of Nyssa, Maximus the Confessor, and John Damascene, among others.
Its not my interpretation, its the interpretation of Blessed Theophylact in his exegesis of the Gospel of Matthew. But if you want to believe that God did not create sex or the sexual organs, go right ahead. Just don't pretend that its Orthodoxy. Its simply neurosis. Smiley

Yes, let's reduce all opinions we disagree with to someone's psychological problems.  Roll Eyes Or just call them heresies- it makes us sound so much more authoritative.

I've got Blessed Theophylact's commentary right in front of me. (By the way, he relies very heavily on Chrysostom). He shows how the passage inveighs against divorce and polygamy, on the basis of Adam and Eve's "one flesh." Nothing is mentioned of sexual organs or sexual reproduction, which is besides his point to begin with; nothing here contradicts the Patristic understanding that sexual reproduction did not exist before the Fall. There is more than one way for male and female to be "one flesh"- such division is overcome not only in marriage, but also in the path to theosis.

The Fathers never denied the plain meaning of Genesis- that God created man male and female prior to the Fall. This was an act of prevision, to ensure man had the means to continue his race after his expulsion from Paradise. The distinction between male and female is not limited to physical organs. The sexual aspects of the division only manifested themselves after the Fall, wherefore Adam and Eve realized their nakedness, and Adam only "knew his wife" after the expulsion.

Read a little ahead to Theophylact's commentary on 19: 12, where he explains that Christ raised virginity above marriage. If sexuality is so intrinsic to man's being, why would He do that?
I think ozgeorge did a pretty good job, though, of shooting down your idea that the Fathers spoke with a consensus on the matter of sex before the Fall.  Whatever other ideas you want to introduce from the commentary of St. Theophylact are really tangential to the question of the OP: the very simple question of whether Adam and Eve had sex before the Fall.

And on this very simple question Blessed Theophylact says nothing.
Actually, according to the quote of St. Theophylact ozgeorge cited, man and woman join themselves to each other and become one flesh because God made them male and female, not because of some condition incurred by the Fall.  How is this not a ringing implication that Adam and Eve became one flesh (i.e., had sex) before the Fall?  Were they somehow not male and female before their exile from Paradise?
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« Reply #36 on: February 21, 2010, 01:33:48 AM »


Actually, according to the quote of St. Theophylact ozgeorge cited, man and woman join themselves to each other and become one flesh because God made them male and female, not because of some condition incurred by the Fall.  How is this not a ringing implication that Adam and Eve became one flesh (i.e., had sex) before the Fall?  Were they somehow not male and female before their exile from Paradise?

Actually, ozgeorge did not quote Blessed Theophylact anywhere.  

Theophylact, like the Gospel, says that God made them male and female; he did not say why God did this, and he certainly nowhere implies that Adam and Eve had sex before the Fall. These questions are not relevant to the present topic. His commentary, like the passage in question, is not really concerned about man's state before the Fall; it's focused on the present, especially the question of divorce.

Here is an excerpt so you know what I'm talking about:

Quote
Therefore, since they have become one flesh, joined together by means of marital relations and physical affection, just as it is accursed to cut one's own flesh, so it is accursed to separate husband and wife.


ozgeorge seems to think the "one flesh" passage automatically implies sex before the Fall; if this were true, one could just as well argue that Adam and Eve had parents, because "a man shall leave father and mother."
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« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2010, 01:38:39 AM »

Why would He call Himself the Bridegroom?  I don't recall Him calling Himself the monk.

I don't know. It must be because he married Mary Magdalene and had lots of children, and his lineage has been hidden from us by the evil, repressive Catholic Church!  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2010, 03:26:17 AM »

ozgeorge seems to think the "one flesh" passage automatically implies sex before the Fall;
I must say it makes more sense than the apparent Slavic idea of an unconsummated, celibate "marriage".
If sex came about as a result of the Fall as you claim, how then is the marriage bed undefiled as the Apostles have taught us liberal Byzantines? Or perhaps you think the Apostles are referring merely to the crispness of the bed sheets?
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« Reply #39 on: February 21, 2010, 04:03:43 AM »

Well, obviously, because sex is disgusting and evil and wrong, it came into existence as a bi-product of death, which was brought about by the fall.

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« Reply #40 on: February 21, 2010, 11:38:18 AM »

ozgeorge seems to think the "one flesh" passage automatically implies sex before the Fall;
I must say it makes more sense than the apparent Slavic idea of an unconsummated, celibate "marriage".
If sex came about as a result of the Fall as you claim, how then is the marriage bed undefiled as the Apostles have taught us liberal Byzantines? Or perhaps you think the Apostles are referring merely to the crispness of the bed sheets?

I assume you are aware that there are examples of sexless marriage being celebrated in non-Russian hagiographical texts as well? My daugther's patron saint, Athanasia, is one such example of this.
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« Reply #41 on: February 21, 2010, 12:01:59 PM »

We're not just talking about some random monks here. We're talking about some of the greatest Saints of our Church. How strange it is that we modern laymen say of these Fathers, "they were only human!" and thereby justify our own personal opinions which are equally human and, furthermore, buffeted by worldly passions.

All saints are sinners, nonetheless. Only God is without sin.

As for these monastic Fathers, I am afraid they did a lot of harm by some of their statements about sexuality. One of them - I believe it was St. Cyril of Jerusalem, - said that every person who goes to bed with his/her spouse for any other reason but to produce progeny is a pervert who deserves the strongest condemnation (sorry, don't have the verbatim quote at hand, but that's pretty much the upshot). To this day, as I absolutely know for a fact, some Orthodox clerics - particularly in Russia and perhaps other countries of the former Soviet Union - seriously teach their flock that marital relationships are ONLY for the purpose of childbirth.

This is very tragic. I personally know one good man who went absolutely nuts under the influence of such preaching. I can only guess how many others are out there...
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« Reply #42 on: February 21, 2010, 12:28:57 PM »

ozgeorge seems to think the "one flesh" passage automatically implies sex before the Fall;
I must say it makes more sense than the apparent Slavic idea of an unconsummated, celibate "marriage".
If sex came about as a result of the Fall as you claim, how then is the marriage bed undefiled as the Apostles have taught us liberal Byzantines? Or perhaps you think the Apostles are referring merely to the crispness of the bed sheets?
I assume you are aware that there are examples of sexless marriage being celebrated in non-Russian hagiographical texts as well? My daugther's patron saint, Athanasia, is one such example of this.
What makes you think that both of St. Anastasia's marriages were unconsumated?
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« Reply #43 on: February 21, 2010, 02:31:23 PM »

ozgeorge seems to think the "one flesh" passage automatically implies sex before the Fall;
I must say it makes more sense than the apparent Slavic idea of an unconsummated, celibate "marriage".

As has been amply demonstrated here and elsewhere, it is not a "Slavic idea" but the teaching of prominent Greek Fathers.

Quote
If sex came about as a result of the Fall as you claim, how then is the marriage bed undefiled as the Apostles have taught us liberal Byzantines?

The same Fathers who taught that sexuality is an effect of the Fall also taught that marriage is a way of purifying and redeeming it. Read St. John Chrysostom's words on the matter- he has nothing bad to say about marriage.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2010, 02:32:01 PM by Iconodule » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: February 21, 2010, 02:46:52 PM »

Read St. John Chrysostom's words on the matter- he has nothing bad to say about marriage.
Thats because God created it. It is not the result of the Fall.
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