Dan Brown's 'The Da Vinci Code', besides its entertainment value, is an intriguing read for some of its finer, subtler points. For the hero of the book, things get rather 'interesting' PDQ ( pretty damn quick )! Although the adventures of Robert Langdon are exciting, to say the least, it is more what is going on behind the scenes-behind closed doors-so to speak, that really captivates. The scheming of the Roman Catholic Church, though maybe largely speculation on the part of the author, is nonetheless very believable.
The traditional concept of the Virgin Birth of Jesus is a matter of almost the strictest confidence! By this is meant simply that, according to at least one of the Creeds, if one does not subscribe, most importantly, maybe, to the Virgin Birth, one cannot be called a Christian. The Scriptural, or biblical 'proof' for this Virgin Birth is questionable, to say the least, though to many Christians, it is very plain. The announcement of the birth of Isaac, for instance, in Genesis 18:10, sounds strangely similar to the announcement made to Mary in Luke 1:28-38. It is fairly well-accepted that Isaac was fathered by Abraham, physically speaking, but to suggest that the birth of Jesus was of similar ( natural ) means is almost heretical!
The Sacred, or Divine Feminine is a subject that most traditional theologians of this day & age ( up to & including the past hundred years or so, give or take a millennia ) seem almost loathe to even consider. Although, according to some accounts, the Study of the Divine Feminine disappeared, for the most part, from theology over two thousand years ago, if one pays close attention, on may notice it extant in the text of Scripture, even the Bible itself. The ascendant role of women, in particular their role as the mothers of Jesus, or Israel, is an indication of this.
The Age of Puritanism, in the opinion of this blogger, anyway, did much to pervert this most holy & pure of functions. The function in question, of course, is sexual intercourse, which was relegated by the Catholic Church at one time, as only to be entertained solely for the purposes of progenation. Biblically speaking, thanks in part to Psalm 51:5, sexual intercourse was deemed a shameful, even sinful action, redeemed only by the propagation of the race. However, this very natural & necessary function is one that was given by the Creator, not just for the purposes of propagation, but for our enjoyment as well. Studies have shown that it builds up, not only the intimacy of the two involved, both sexually & spiritually, but also has many positive effects, physiologically speaking.
It goes without saying that there is a time & place for everything; there are certain situations that would negate the positive effect of sexual intercourse, but even these, in a certain light, can be viewed as efficacious. With the advent of birth control aids, such as the condom, which is not always so efficacious, the practice of free sex for the sake of enjoyment alone saw an immediate rise, especially as witnessed by the 60s generation. The infamous 'Roe V. Wade' Supreme Court decision of 1972 further bolstered this movement, since now, even if conception occurred as a result of 'free sex', one could simply & legally discard the conceived child!
The role of the woman in the birth of new life is beyond question; if one is never born physically, biblically speaking ( John 3:6 ), it goes without saying that one cannot be reborn spiritually. Such, anyway was the argument that this blogger used to uphold. Much has occurred in the past decade or so, theologically speaking, to reform my thinking. It is now clear, to me anyway, that rather than the rebirth that Jesus speaks of, most notably in John 3, had a primary contextual reference to 1st century Israel, not so much to 21st century Americans, though a secondary meaning may certainly be applied. With that said, then, the role of women is important, not so much in the realm of child-bearing, though it certainly is that, but in the domain of intimacy, both physiologically & spiritually speaking.
While sexual intercourse should never be taken lightly, as is often the case, neither is it something to be ashamed of. Outside the Sacred Bonds of Marriage, which can be defined simply as a Covenant between two people of the opposite sex, sexual intercourse is not a wise choice for many reasons, one being that it tends to accentuate the physical needs without satisfying the spiritual. However, when spiritual intimacy occurs, the marriage is blessed, for without the spiritual, the physical will only go so far; when the spiritual occurs first, the physical need not be ever-present!
Prior to the Birth of Christianity, in many of the Pagan religions ( out of which much of what we know as Christianity sprang, by the way ), the Sacred Feminine was recognized, even worshipped & adored. To this day, as Mr. Brown alludes to in his book, some still do! As Christians, we have been taught that sexual intercourse is reserved for the marriage bed & so it is; it is the definition of marriage then, that needs reexamination! Although that may be a subject for another day; we may suffice, for now, to say that marriage, as stated earlier, is between a man & a woman, with no other involvement necessary!
Studies may show that, around the time of Second Temple Judaism, the Sacred Feminine all but disappeared from the text of Scripture, but truly, as stated earlier, there is more than enough to be found-the Song of Solomon, for instance-that gives us more than a healthy glimpse into it! Throughout the Scriptures, much like 'The Da Vinci Code', it is more what goes on behind the scenes-behind closed doors-that makes its reading so intriguing. This is not to say, necessarily, that we should haphazardly read between the lines of Scripture, so to speak, but many of it's implications are quite shocking, to say the least!
The Search for the Sacred Feminine, which is something that we all aspire to ( speaking as a man, of course ), should not be taken lightly, either! There is something missing in this world in which we live & it is something we cannot live without, either physiologically or spiritually. The importance of the Divine Feminine in what we as Christians term 'the God-head' is something that has been glossed over, in a manner of speaking for millennia, though in certain pagan religions, it is celebrated & worshipped, as it should be.
To insist on the Virgin Birth as necessary to one's salvation, then, is rendered moot! If Jesus was born in the usual way, through sexual intercourse, it does not detract from the glorious fact that He was the Son of God. In fact, Scripture seems to point to this, for in the Gospels, Jesus primarily referred to Himself as 'the Son of Man'; it was others, for the most part that ( rightly ) called Him 'the Son of God'. As a Christian, it is well-nigh useless to deny the Virgin Birth ( it could be quite harmful, in fact ), but it is not irrefutable & definitely not beyond all reasonable doubt!
Charles Haddon Shank