23 September 2007

Angelic Sex

Although some believers use the term "angel" loosely, in a pop-cultural sense, to refer to the condition of the soul of a deceased body after its entrance into paradise, in Christian theology generally the word has a different meaning than that. The angels properly speaking -- like Michael or Gabriel -- were created as angels, and have never had bodies.

If they can't have bodies, one naturally wants to ask: can they have sex? and if they can't have that either, how real is their paradise?

When I say "one" wants to ask this, I don't mean myself alone. No less of an inquirer into matters high and mysterious than John Milton asked this, and offered an answer.

In Book 8 of PARADISE LOST, Raphael visits the Garden of Eden. He talks of various serious matters with Adam -- Eve leaves the table when the talk turns to astronomy, because as she says she wants to hear such things directly from Adam.

Anyway, after astronomy is disposed of, Adam asks his guest another man-to-man question:

Bear with me then, if lawful what I ask;
Love not the heav`nly Spirits, and how their Love
Express they, by looks only, or do they mix
Irradiance, virtual or immediate touch?


Raphael glows "celestial rosy red" at this question -- he's blushing.

But he answers:

Whatever pure thou in the body enjoy`st
(And pure thou wert created) we enjoy
In eminence, and obstacle find none
Of membrane, joint, or limb, exclusive bars:
Easier then Air with Air, if Spirits embrace,
Total they mix, Union of Pure with Pure
Desiring; nor restrain`d conveyance need
As Flesh to mix with Flesh, or Soul with Soul.

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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.