Sex and beauty

For the unbegotten and incorporeal beauty, that knows neither beginning nor decay, but is unchangeable and ageless and without need, He who abides in Himself and is Light itself in secret and unapproachable places, embracing all things in the orbit of His power, creating and arranging them—He it is who made the soul in the image of His likeness. This is why it is endowed with reason and immortality; for, fashioned…in the image of the Only-Begotten, it has an unsurpassed loveliness.

St. Methodius. The Symposium: A Treatise on Chastity

While this quote comes from A Treatise on Chastity¸ I am going to end up in quite a different place.

God is beautiful. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth. One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. Your eyes will behold the king in his beauty.

The Lord is beautiful. In his perfection of beauty he created. The Master Artificer fashioned man and woman in his image and likeness- in beauty. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Creation flows from the Beautiful One. Supreme in loveliness, God is not a narcissist. Beauty is not closed off or opaque. Beauty is open. Beauty creates. Beauty gives life.

Sex is beautiful. Sex is beautiful because man and woman-as mankind-are made in God’s image: the beautiful One who creates and gives life. The command to be fruitful and multiply is a command to be like God.

Now perhaps I tread close to the wrong-headed teaching that the only virtue of sex is procreation. As if rabbits are the holiest of all God’s creatures. That is not where I am going, but I understand how the church got there.

Beauty is ordered. If sex is beautiful, it is ordered. It is ordered by the command given to a husband and wife. One man and one woman.

Homosexuality is sinful. It is not sinful because it is gross, or weird, or abominable. It is abominable because it is not beautiful; it is not creative. It is anti-God. Homosexuality is fundamentally selfish in that it is inherently non-creative. Beauty gives life. Homosexuality is impotent.

Sex with a man and his wife is beautiful. Two people, fundamentally different yet essentially the same, submit to the will of the Creator and are open to an intruder into their love. Not content with the love and compassion shared between them, a man and a woman do something beautiful. A man and a woman join together and bring into their love a third.

In the splendor of beauty God creates. God creates a man and a woman in his beautiful image and ordains they create. In unsurpassed beauty, God’s creation images him in creating.

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