Sunday, February 20, 2011

No Happier State

A commenter to this precious, precious blog observes as follows (quoting verbatim):

Ya got that right. I will go long in Heaven. God throws a football from here to the length of Eternity, pal, where we can and will have anything and everything. Lemme explain --- Doesn't matter whether you believe or not, pal, you're STILL gonna croak - we’re all in this together, we’re all doing our lifelong demise; then, while our mortal bodies are recycled after our Finite Existence, our indelible soul rises-up to be judged at the General Judgment. Here’s the point I want you to consider before you leave this world: sex in Heaven. Why not?? Can’t God provide everything? The Trinity is just as happy you made it to the realm where we can have anything we desire for eternity rather than the realm where we can have absolutely nuthin; if Almighty God provides everything else, why not passionate, intimate love make’n or a quickie for the length of eternity? Besides worship on ‘Sunday’, dunno bout you, but I want that. See, God knew the ol El Diablo would lie like a rug and trick U.S. into believing love make’n wouldn’t be possible in Heaven, so why not git a buncha ho’s and condemn yourself? Lookit Eminem. ‘Sex is just for earth’ you say? WRONG. If you have the desire, anything and everything is possible in the Great Beyond. So, dream big, America. God loves that. God loves U.S. to ‘pull Him down outta the sky’ and fantasize about where we’re going. God can and will provide if we have a seed of faith. God will water. I have faith in you, too. God bless you with discernment. -1 Peter 4:8-
I like to start off with the positive (for purposes of this blog post), so I note that the mention of "go long" near the beginning of the comment has a logic to it, albeit a perverse logic, since the apposite post was about "Go Long," the Joanna Newsom song.

The rest of the comment doesn't have much going for it. Inasmuch as it's saying something about Christian theology -- and charitably assuming that saying something about Christian theology is a valid form of saying something consequential -- I prefer Milton's version from book IV of Paradise Lost for its display of the poet's penchant for stem-winding:
This said unanimous, and other Rites
Observing none, but adoration pure
Which God likes best, into thir inmost bowre
Handed they went; and eas'd the putting off
These troublesom disguises which wee wear, [ 740 ]
Strait side by side were laid, nor turnd I weene
Adam from his fair Spouse, nor Eve the Rites
Mysterious of connubial Love refus'd:
Whatever Hypocrites austerely talk
Of puritie and place and innocence, [ 745 ]
Defaming as impure what God declares
Pure, and commands to som, leaves free to all.
Our Maker bids increase, who bids abstain
But our Destroyer, foe to God and Man?
Haile wedded Love, mysterious Law, true source [ 750 ]
Of human ofspring, sole propriety,
In Paradise of all things common else.
By thee adulterous lust was driv'n from men
Among the bestial herds to raunge, by thee
Founded in Reason, Loyal, Just, and Pure, [ 755 ]
Relations dear, and all the Charities
Of Father, Son, and Brother first were known.
Farr be it, that I should write thee sin or blame,
Or think thee unbefitting holiest place,
Perpetual Fountain of Domestic sweets, [ 760 ]
Whose bed is undefil'd and chaste pronounc't,
Present, or past, as Saints and Patriarchs us'd.
Here Love his golden shafts imploies, here lights
His constant Lamp, and waves his purple wings,
Reigns here and revels; not in the bought smile [ 765 ]
Of Harlots, loveless, joyless, unindeard,
Casual fruition, nor in Court Amours
Mixt Dance, or wanton Mask, or Midnight Bal,
Or Serenate, which the starv'd Lover sings
To his proud fair, best quitted with disdain. [ 770 ]
These lulld by Nightingales imbraceing slept,
And on thir naked limbs the flourie roof
Showrd Roses, which the Morn repair'd. Sleep on
Blest pair; and O yet happiest if ye seek
No happier state, and know to know no more.
Emily Dickinson possessed a different form of eloquence and got to a similar idea far more economically:
WHO has not found the heaven below
Will fail of it above.
God’s residence is next to mine,
His furniture is love.
Common to each of these unverifiable, rather weightless assertions about the relationship between theology and sex is that otherwordly joy, whether heavenly or prelapsarian, uncannily resembles earthly joy. Sex is widely regarded a good thing here on earth -- certainly this is so if we go by what people do more than by what they're sometimes inclined to say -- and so it is declared to be in god's favored, untainted places. If it has somehow become, over the ages, controversial to suggest that people will still want to fuck in the for-good-people-only precincts of the afterlife, then so much the worse for the credibility of theological controversies and the misanthropic nostrums on which they're founded.

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