Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Da Vinci code comments II - Christ and the female
One of the issues of which the Da Vinci Code makes a great deal is the idea of goddess worship. Classical paganism is centered around fertility and the uniting of male and female to create “new life.” Christianity teaches that life ultimately comes from God. There is a mystical role for the unity of male and female however. The New Testament identifies the unity of one man and one woman in marriage as a symbol representing the unity and love between Christ and the Church. In this role, Christ is the masculine element and the Church the feminine. C.S. Lewis has said that it is difficult for us to understand how spirit can be masculine or feminine, but that while it may be difficult to understand, God is in some way masculine in a way that makes everything else in the universe feminine by comparison. This is true, even though God in the Bible sometimes uses feminine metaphors to describe Himself, as well as numerous masculine metaphors. The essential role of sexual union is in marriage and as an example of the union between Christ and the Church. When we attempt to glorify sex itself as a kind of magic or altered state that allows us to see God and thereby give special mystical significance to the woman as the vessel that makes such ecstasy possible, what we really end up doing is creating another kind of regime in which we simply worship ourselves. Goddess worship is simply another kind of worship of mankind, making ourselves our own god in our own image. Like worshipping the Church instead of worshipping Christ. Masculine and feminine are important in God’s order, and God has ordained sex within marriage as a holy and good thing. But sex is not the meaning of the universe and God does not choose to be worshipped as a goddess. Instead, He approaches His people as a bridegroom eager to show His love for His bride. And it is in this—in illustrating the love of the bridegroom for the bride as a symbol of the mystery of Christ and the Church—that all the romantic stories about knights rescuing damsels in distress and lovers finding their beloved find their resonance. They are glorious not because they reflect some kind of divine feminine principle, but rather because true romance illustrates the love that Christ has for His Church, for the people of God. It is that that the medieval and Renaissance poets sought to reflect in their romantic poetry and stories. Not a revival of paganism.