The Orthodox Concept of Gender


“Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:” (Col.3:5)

The message; sober and cautionary, comes from St. Paul’s message to the head of the Christians in the city of Colossae, in Colossians Chapter 3;  “is ample food for the soul not just for a day, a month or even a year but for an entire lifetime.” The word of the Apostle “that Christ who is our life” (Col. 3: 4) can fulfill our thoughts and aspirations and elicit the will in us to harmonize our lives with Christ and be worthy of him.

However, I want to direct your attention to a subject which is not often – or not often enough – in our case, delved into by our sanctified souls. St. Paul the Apostle warns us that in order to prepare for the resurrection of Christ, when he appears in all his glory, that we must be cleansed and purified.
If you thought to yourself: well, we already do this on a daily basis; often overdoing it in our efforts by bathing, changing attire, using various and sundry cosmetics; then you are fooling yourself.  St. Paul the Apostle intended this warning, in this case, for something much more important than our personal hygiene but rather the question of our morals; more specifically directed at the issues of gender and sexual purity.

We shall not be able to approach Our Lord, when he appears in all his glory, nor gain access to the Kingdom of Heaven, if we are sexually impure. Amen.
St. Paul the Apostle pronounced – “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:” (Col. 3:5, 6)

Prior to analyzing the Apostles’ warnings, I would like to clarify one point and that is: The Lord God Almighty Creator did not create anything accidentally or at random.  “God created us male and female.” (Gen. 1:27)  Therefore, sexually gender specific beings.  Our sexuality, as envisioned, created and blessed by the Lord, is a true wonder and beauty of nature.  Sexuality is a broad and bright whirling river that nourishes and enriches human life.  ‘All this, and more, is a big mystery” (Eph. 5:32) of God’s singular creativity, if only the waters of that river do not overflow its banks.  If this happens, if the river overflows its banks, as created by God, with its heaving and turbulence the river can ravage and devastate everything in its path.

Hear the words of Scripture, what the wisdom of God tells us, and forgive the candor with which this wisdom is imparted. Wise Solomon spoke: “Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.  Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be thine own, and not strangers’ with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.  Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breast satisfy thee at all time; and be thou ravished always with her love.” (Prov. 5: 15-19)

This is marriage as established and blessed by God. “A chaste and decent marriage, with the fear of God, is a vessel for the Holy Spirit.  Who so ever defiles the sanctity of marriage blasphemes against the Holy Spirit.  And who abstains from marriage for the kingdom of God, must find other ways of becoming a vessel for the Holy Spirit, by becoming spiritually fruitful in order that he not depart as a fruitless fig tree”  teaches the holy Bishop Nikolai.

Is there anything else that needs to be added; can this be stated any more clearly or directly?

But, warns wise Solomon, the life source of your joy is not to be shared.  A stranger has no place or business at your well, or you God forbid, at your neighbours well.  Do not be murderers or traitors, do not destroy your neighbours well or take another’s life.  “And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?  For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.” (Prov.5: 20-21)  The Lord sees all, even if the people do not see and a man is made a cuckold. “Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?  Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned?  So he that goeth in to his neighbour’s wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent.” (Prov. 6: 27-29)

I could go on at length on this topic but it comes down to this:  everything outside of marriage, as established and blessed by God, every other relationship between a man and a woman is sinful and destructive. “But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul.” (Prov. 6: 32)  St. Paul warns “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” (Heb. 13: 4)  And we know that He will judge very severely and mercilessly. Many souls do not arrive at the grace of God because along the way, they stumble into adultery and plunge into the depths of hell fire.

If this is so, then what can we say about other pestilent gender uncleanliness, abominations, as characterized by the Scriptures, which are expressed through the perverse forms of homosexuality, child abuse, bestiality and other Sodom and Gomorrah-like depravities.  No matter what they say, no matter the amount of money they invest in their defense of character and pride or the vast array of media assets that are used, do not allow yourself to be deceived; the Lord cannot be deceived.  It’s dirty and nasty in front of the Lord and God’s judgment is terrible. “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death ; their blood shall be upon them.” (Lev. 20: 13)

The Apostle admonishes us to abandon passion.  Take that as a lesson and do not play with fire.

In this age of information we are being overwhelmed on all fronts by all sorts of erotic stimuli:  film, literature, CD’s, DVD’s and the devil only knows with what else.  If the internet has led and seduced you to strange sites then simply delete it and do not go there again.  I can attest and testify to the curse that has destroyed human lives simply by staring at images of lasciviousness.

The Lord wants us to pluck sin from the root;  that we do not give the weeds of sin the opportunity to conceive, take hold, grow and flourish.  Lust is evil- the Apostle tells us- when we gaze with desire at another man’s wife or at another man.  It is better to pluck out your own eye rather than to deliberately commit the sin. “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery.  But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Mat. 5: 27-28)

At the end of his reckoning of sexual impurity, the Apostle Paul equates the sin of covetousness, “which is” as he states “idolatry.” (Col. 3:5)
What difference do adultery, sexual impurity, passion, evil desires, and covetousness make, you will ask yourself.  They make a difference, because each sin has a connection to the other. When covetousness and greed appear in Scripture, but are not associated with idolatry, this usually refers to the desire for money, or for the desire of things that money can buy.  But in this case, when greed is linked to idolatry, it refers to the passionate possession of someone else’s body, that is having “an affair”, falling fervently in love; when you allow someone to master one’s life and be more important than God,  thereby forcing God out of one’s life.  An idol is anything that man places before or above God.  Does the passion grip you so hard that you are blinded to anything or anyone else, you forget about your marriage, neglect your children?  If you do not fear God and feel no shame, then you are a sinner and an idolater.

Something equally as important:  The Orthodox definition of marriage does not include children, as mandatory.  Children are a gift from God, and for reasons known only to him, God grants them to some and denies them to others, and we thank him.  But Orthodox marriage, God forbid, does not exclude children.  Children are God’s blessing of the fruit of love between two spouses. And not what the harbingers of death of “the new order” want to achieve: an arena for the display of strength between two warriors: who will prevail, overcome and subdue the other.

Marriage is not an Olympic event for meaningless sexual encounters; sex for the sake of sex.  When a man and woman marry they pray to God to keep their marriage bed pure.  A marriage bed can become impure if one or both partners sexual abuse the other.

This civilization only leads to barrenness and death.  Man has arrived at seedless watermelons, seedless grapes and other nonsensical and futile discoveries.  Unfortunately, we also become that way.  We have abandoned God’s natural order of things, turned our priorities upside-down.  Young people, in their best and most fertile years, when they should be getting married and having children, “hang-out” all night, drinking and fornicating, they grow bald and grey without leaving a trace of themselves behind.  They have allowed themselves every excess and ecstasy, and so weakened in body, mind and character they do not have the strength, and even less motivation for a serious commitment to life and the exciting challenges of marriage.  They wait, with the foolish support of their parents, to finish their education, to become financially stable, buy a house and a luxury car, and if and when all this comes to pass – it is too late for marriage.  For these reasons this rings true “the fire consumed their young men; and their maidens were not given to marriage”. (Ps. 78:63). The cruel creators of the “new order” revel in this for they are achieving their goals not to mention their vile intrusion and insertion into our lives of all sorts of morbidity and perversion- homosexuality et al.  All so that we do not live by God’s first commandment given to man to be fruitful and multiply and thus rule the earth.

Everything would be different and better if only we return to the laws and will of God and God’s natural order of things.  The Apostle warns us that the will of God is holy and to beware of fornication.   “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not  be once named among you, as becometh saints.” (Eph. 5:3)