Theology of marriage

Christians follow Christ, but Christ is followed as either

a.) God made manifest as man in this present age.

b.) God manifesting man as he will exist in the eschaton.

According to (a), we are given sacraments. According to (b) we have the threefold vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. By poverty, we participate in the common ownership of all goods in the eschaton; by celibacy we participate in final transcendence of eros; by obedience we live as if under the kingship of Christ.

Marriage is therefore a perfect sacramentum (Eph. 5:32) so far as it is a sign giving grace through a love fixed in this world. All other sacraments either give a permanent character and so are not fixed in this world (baptism, confirmation, orders – and its proper operation in eucharist) or are recognitions of the absence of perfection in body or soul (penance, anointing). Marriage alone lacks the permanent character and so is firmly situated in the world while elevating and recognizing the love and perfection in that world.

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3 Comments

  1. George said,

    December 28, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    “Marriage alone lacks the permanent character and so is firmly situated in the world while elevating and recognizing the love and perfection in that world.”

    Is that true *if we take into account* the product of marriage as reflected in the Trinity (i.e. children) who poses eternal souls which can only be a unique product of that marriage? That is, their soul and resurrected body is necessarily an eternal reflection of that marriage, that united and loving bond that made manifest through God a unique and eternal soul that is unique to *that specific marriage* in its individuality.

  2. December 29, 2015 at 8:11 am

    It has always seemed to me that matrimony as a sacrament works a lot like a sacrament with indelible character (it has hieratic aspects to it, for instance), and that this is because in it the image of God naturally in us to some extent acts as if it were one — in a sense the sacrament takes the water of that natural image of God and makes it through grace the wine of Christlikeness. This way of thinking seems to get a similar conclusion from a different direction.

  3. penquinslide said,

    January 15, 2016 at 8:49 am

    Excellent read, and I believe speaks to my questions about the “valuation of celibacy above marriage” post. I should probably just sit down soon and read all that you have written, instead of the occasional (and always delightful) post.


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