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What is the Coptic Orthodox Church’s view on Sex and Sexuality-Part 2 ?

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April 25, 2017

What is the Coptic Orthodox Church’s view on Sex and Sexuality-Part 2 ?

Today we continue with our second video on the question of “What is the Coptic Orthodox Church’s view on Sex and Sexuality?”In our first video we began by explaining that the Orthodox Church says that there are mainly three purposes for the way that God designed human sexuality:

 1) For husband and wife to express an intimate and passionate love for one another

 2) to help the believer fight the passions of lust that is ever so present in today’s world

3) to allow for the great blessing of life in procreation.

In the previous video we focused on the first two of these, and today we will look at how Sex and Sexuality is created by God in order for humanity to procreate.

Now before we continue, lets take a moment to remind our viewers that as Orthodox Christians, our faith tells us very clearly that Sex and Sexuality, as intended by God, is a beautiful and wondrous thing. And although the world has exploited human sexuality and  turned into something “dirty and taboo” we must as Christians recognize it as a gift from God that should be treated with respect and dignity, and not simply as a selfish means to personal pleasure.

St John Chrysostom says it best in the book On Marriage and Family Life – He explains that Sex is not Evil, but if not controlled, it can become a hindrance to someone who wants to approach God. Like in everything else in our lives, and in order to make sure we fulfill our potential in Christ Jesus, we then should seek to understand what has God intended for us to do with this gift.

If the viewer wants to know more about what we discussed previously in regards to this, I recommend that you watch the first part of this series before moving forward. As for the rest of us, let us now move on to the subject of God’s intention for procreation.

It is interesting to see how when God created man in His image, God wanted to share many of His unique attributes with humanity. Even that of Creating life! Now it is no coincidence that the means by which God has allowed humanity to partake in Creation and the bringing forth of human life is through sexual expression. My beloved, God as a master craftsman intended for this same act to be filled with passionate and intimate love. Rest assured this is no coincidence, this is divine providence! Now, it is through this same love – Eros – that the greatest GIFT of love is given. And what is the perfect gift of love – it is life! 

This specific purpose of love giving way to life is very clearly found within the first chapters of Scripture. In Genesis chapter 1, God not only blesses His human creation, but he even commands them to procreate. Let us read this passage together:

“So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:27-28) 

Notice how The Lord God first blesses them and then gives the command to be fruitful and multiply. Now clearly this passage has always been understood as a direct command to procreate. We see God do this again only 8 chapters later in Genesis chapter 9 when again he blesses Noah and his sons after the flood and commands them also to “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. You see my beloved what this tells you and I is that sexuality as intended by God in marital relations is first blessed and because of this blessing the Lord grants humanity the gift of new life in childbearing. Now some have gone as far as saying this blessing was given before the fall, therefore it is void because of the introduction of Sin. However, as Orthodox Christians we believe that in Jesus Christ and His incarnation, all of humanity is once again restored to the first estate. The blessing therefore that the Lord spoke on the First man and woman still very much applies today. St Augustine explains this as follows:

The nuptial blessing, however, whereby the pair, joined in marriage, were to increase and multiply and fill the earth, remained in force even when they sinned. Yet it was given before they sinned, for its purpose was to make it clear that the procreation of children is a part of the glory of marriage and not of the punishment of sin. St Augustine – CITY OF GOD 14.21.9

Our bringing forth of children therefore through the sexual marital act is a blessed act that the Lord has intended not only for our good, but for the good of all mankind.

What we have seen thus far is how the Church views sex and sexuality as a part of a larger picture of God’s intention to bless us, unite us to one another, and unite us to himself.

The process looks something like this:

Firstly: When a man and woman desire to be to be wed as an expression of their love for each other, the Lord God blesses them and unites them in this great mystery of matrimony.

Secondly: Now that they are united in Spirit, they come together and unite physically to express the love they have for each other through sexual marital relations.

Finally: the Lord continues to bless them by granting them the gift of their love in the form of another life they will nurture and love. And in the process they become a new entity – a family – a Church!

If we turn to the prayers found within the liturgical rite of the Crowning Marriage ceremony of the Coptic Church, there is a passage within the First Matrimonial Prayer that the priest prays that perfectly describes this process that we speak of.

“We ask You, also, now, O our King, to join your servants (…) to be united to each other in one body, and to enter into the law of joy, and to abide in Your truthful teachings. 

Grant them a living fruit out of the womb so that they rejoice in the birth of children and have quiet and peaceful times. Prepare them for every good work though Christ Jesus our Lord.” (First Matrimonial Prayer – Crowning Liturgy of the Coptic Orthodox Church

Ultimately what we realize from all that we have discussed, is that if the Lord God expresses a blessing BEFORE the union of man and woman, and AGAIN he expresses another great blessing in the granting of children and procreation. And If the Lord has chosen this blessed physical union of man and woman as a means by which he will allow us to share in the process by which He creates new life, then sex and sexuality as the Lord has intended it, must truly be an amazing and mysterious thing.

        Remember my beloved, know your faith, live your faith and

    teach your Faith

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