Christ was right about marriage or at least…
Christ was right about marriage or at least that’s been my experience. In Darwinian terms sex is about the spreading of genes. It makes sense therefore for males to impregnate as many females as possible, and for females to desert males with poor genetic endowments for those with better. People fall in love and then after perhaps two years tire of each other and feel the itch to move on. But as always evolution compromises. Couples need to stay together long enough to raise children in a secure environment, so in practice serial monogamy is the optimum solution. This is all obviously true. We see people jilting, cheating and deserting each other everywhere.
Christ offers us something different. According to him male and female enter into a higher unity in which both are transformed. I think he was right. At every level of nature we see lower level entities joining with each other in higher unities which are on a new level, are subject to different laws and cannot be cut into parts without destroying them but only resolved back into their components. We see this in atoms forming molecules, molecules forming cells and cells forming bodies. I think it is a sad aspect of the current mythology of science that it has so stressed parts it has neglected wholes. We see such a higher unity in marriage. I don’t think Christ meant that people who have once gone through a ceremony in Church are saddled with each other for ever and can never be divorced, I think he was talking about the impartial nature, if I could use that word in a rather special sense, of higher unities. They can always be resolved into parts and join up with other parts in new unities. As usual, I think, the Church has utterly distorted its own wonderful doctrine. But that’s material for another essay.
I think it a general biological truth which biology has totally failed to recognize (like the Church it unfailingly distorts it own wonderful teachings) that living organisms transcend themselves. This is what evolution is about (I think Darwin’s understanding of natural selection was quite wrong because he saw it as a kind of inverted Paleyan external force exercising agency from without, whereas the driving force of evolution comes from within organisms, surviving or not surviving in random environments, but that too can’t be developed now). We see just such a sublimation here, true as the Darwinian view of sex is on its own level. I believe that Christianity is offering us a far, far more fulfilling and inspiring view of marriage than Darwin does.
It has two characteristics in particular. One is that far from attraction withering and relationship cooling, marriage in a Christian context is ever advancing, ever more exciting, ever more wonderful, whatever the difficulties. Obviously it is not always so, but it so often is this is clearly a possibility for human beings that Darwinism doesn’t cover. Secondly, in a higher unity the components don’t just make bargains with each other to form an alliance in which each is useful to the other. They become imprinted with each other’s being so that each becomes enriched with the other. My wife, for example, is a great animal lover and I find that I too love animals in a way I never did before. I love animals now in the way she does, and I can feel this, I see them with her eyes. Yet I do it in a way that is entirely mine. I’m sure the same is true for her. I think Christ got it right, biologically as well as theologically.