Sex, Marriage, and Sexuality: August 2006 Archives

This is part three of what I was expecting to be a four-part review of Mary Kassian's The Feminist Mistake. I have decided to post what I've written of part three and then not continue, primarily because I have not been reading any more of this book for quite some time, and I need to limit my reading list down to something much more manageable given that I would like to finish my dissertation by the end of next summer. So I've decided not to finish this book in the foreseeable future. Here, then, is the last part of my series of reviews on this book, covering a few chapters into the third section.

Gift of Singleness

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Andreas Kostenberger has a thoughtful post on singleness in the Bible. I especially found one observation noteworthy. He finds a trajectory across salvation history with regard to singleness and marriage. Marriage is part of the creation order, part of God's original intent before the fall. It isn't until Jesus comes along to initiate the new covenant that you get any sense at all that there's anything but marriage as the norm, with singleness as an extraordinary exception (e.g. widows, serious illness). But Jesus indicates that some will be single by choice, and Paul even argues that the kingdom is more greatly served (in certain kinds of situations?) by those who are single, and therefore what was once the exception becomes something especially useful.

But Jesus also indicates that there will be no marriage in the resurrection. That means the intermediate phase between the initiation of the new covenant and its ultimate fulfillment in the resurrection is in tension between the marriage norm of the old covenant and the singleness norm of the resurrection. Seeing this according to a trajectory makes so much sense of how Paul can have such a high view of marriage and yet also view singleness as something for some to strive for. This doesn't (as some have argued) imply a lower view of marriage but simply reflects the tension between these two norms, one eventually to be replaced by the other but both having value in the in-between time. But Kostenberger does take marriage as a sort of norm even in this age, citing Matthew 19 as evidence. It's just not a norm in the fuller sense of when most everyone would be expected to get married.

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