It appears that the Archbishop of York, Archbishop John Sentamu, may have taken centre stage in the history of our nation, and hopefully his latest challenge to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, will be written down for all posterity, in letters of gold, by the angels themselves. Having apparently accepted, albeit reluctantly, that religious same sex ceremonies could be celebrated in church, he has now thrown down the gauntlet in front of the Government, the secularists, the sensualists, the atheists, the humanists, and all the enemies of Christ whether they be conscious or unconscious of the fact, that marriage is of God, and cannot be contracted by persons of the same sex. Quite what Mr Cameron makes of his own hazy Christian and somewhat syncretistic beliefs, and the bald assertion by Archbishop Sentamu, that only dictators try and suppress marriage, would be hard to know. However as Mr Cameron is a member of the middle class, and the English middle class at that, which is notoriously superficial even when trying to be profound, then one would imagine that as long as everything is done "in the best possible taste" as one of Kenny Everett's wonderfully vulgar characters used to say, nothing ultimately matters.
Archbishop Sentamu has excellent credentials for taking such a stand, as he suffered under the terrible tyrant and President of Uganda, Iddi Amin, and so he can rightfully take his place in that grand roll call of confessors of the Faith, which includes such great names as Athanasius, John Chrysostom, and St. Hilary of Poitiers, but like all of us he could weaken and fall; that has even happened to martyrs, and even the incomparable Joan of Arc, in a moment of weakness, recanted and denied her voices. Let us pray that he courageously maintains his stance.
The grave problem before us, on the surface, is that a Tory Prime Minister could envisage doing such a mad, and immoral thing, and dismiss it all with mind boggling and opaque logic, if logic it be, with the the following peculiar protestation "I dont support gay marriage despite being a conservative. I support gay marriage because I'm a Conservative", and perhaps he might have added something to the effect "... and this was because of the deal I had to strike with the Liberal Democrats if I was to become Prime Minister" Whether this be the case or not, one cannot imagine Disraeli, Lord Salisbury, MacMillan, Heath, or Thatcher saying anything so at odds with the Tory Party ethos, and to add insult to injury, one cannot imagine an old Etonian, supporting such immoral rubbish.
How could the Government and those who weild power come to equate a homosexual union with marriage? The answer lies in the mystery of iniquity that begins at the dawn of history and above all is never absent, firstly in society at large, and secondly in its intent to subvert the Church, or make it its creature. In Post Norman English History we see many of the Kings trying to make the Church their servant, the most notable being Henry II, and the most notorious being Henry VIII. Henry II loses to the indomitable Thomas Becket Archbishop of Canterbury, who protects the independence of the Church, and so the horrors of the English Reformation are postponed for nearly 400 years. It is left to another Thomas, Thomas More to oppose Henry VIII, and ironically it is about marriage, not a homosexual marriage, a philosophical impossibility any way, but about the God given Sacrament, which is indissoluble. Neither the desire for Gay Marriage,nor Henry VIII's desire for a son, nor his desire for Anne Boleyn having anything to do with the Sacrament of Marriage, but these desires have everything to do with the satisfaction of sexual desire, which can be disguised at best as infatuation or falling in love, and at worst is lust, but none of this is about doing God's will, loving God, and being obedient to Him.
It is the Supreme tragedy of our age that in proportion to our lack of love for God, so love of self escalates and becomes an avalanche of insatiable desires, the most absorbing and demanding of which is Sexual desire. And so we find ourselves with Elijah on Mount Carmel faced with the prophets of Baal, and a hostile nation which is meant to be the humble servant of God, but instead has prostituted itself before the god of Sex, the god of unbridled desire, and tragically offers its children to placate the god of vengeance, whereas it would be far happier and holier if it offered the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob a humble and contrite heart.
Over the months I intend to try to sketch a history of the Great Crisis of the World that confronts us today, albeit in a very general way. It will not be erudite and it will not be a magnificent array of facts, but it will be the work of a hermit, who over the years has seen the storm coming and now expects it to break with a terrible ferocity upon a World deeply divided within itself and a prey to a host of fears. This Crisis is no normal crisis and perhaps it is similar to the crisis of the human race on the eve of The Great Deluge; whatever it is it is truly dreadful and will need to be confronted with prayer, charity and truth so that what is hidden will be revealed, and the light of God will shine unhindered upon our darkened and beleagured World.
It is surely a proof of the utter truthfulness of Divine Revelation that Eve is tempted by a desire for knowledge, and not Adam, when Satan approaches her and says:
"Did God say 'You shall not eat of any tree of the garden'?" and the woman aid to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit the trees of the garden; but God said, 'You shall not eat of the tree which is in the midst of the garden,neither shall you touch it lest you die.' " But the serpent said to the woman, you will not die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3: vv. 1-5)
Now throughout history we find that it is men who have a desire for unecessary knowledge and not women, and with this desire for knowledge, its accompanying vices are vain glory, a desire for power, and the bodily appetites of greed and lust. In fact the entrance into the world of esoteric knowledge seems to have a strange and intoxicating effect on men, especially if they are geniuses. How often we find that the great artist, the great composer, the great writer, and even the great performer, suffer terribly from the vices of greed and lust. Women are far more versatile than men, and as Chesterton so wisely remarked that a man could be an expert in one thing, whereas a woman could be a near expert in about six. Men and not women are usually very curious. Little girls on the whole are not taking things to pieces, and little girls will not be picking the wings off insects. Women, of their nature, whatever the feminists might be saying to the contrary, nurture, but men are always straining after the infinite and unknown. If a human writer was trying to create the story of the Fall he would have the man being tempted, much as Faust is tempted, or Dorian Grey is tempted. Women may desire beauty, but men desire women and knowledge.
Adam is curiously passive in the whole drama of the Fall. Eve eats the fruit and then tempts Adam:
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took the fruit and ate; and she aslo gave some to her husband, and he ate. (Genesis 3: 6).
Then in those terrifying lines we see conscience arise and smite our first parents, 'and they knew that they were naked'. Both Adam and Eve had lost their innocence. They were no longer children unaware of their nakedness, for nothing was wrong until they sinned by disobedience to God and his command. The punishment meted out to Eve rings down the millenia with terrifying accuracy:
I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire will be for your husband and he shall rule over you." ( Genesis 3: 16)
To Adam God says: Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, 'You shall not eat it,' cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return. (Genesis 3:17-19)
A feminist would say that this is nothing but the musings of a patriarchal, chauvinistic, mesogynist writer, and an all too human one at that. But if this is the work of the Holy Spirit, and the writer being only an instrument, it is the truth and certainly is not anti woman. It is all about the desire for knowledge. The Woman desired to have knowledge so that she would be like God and know good and evil, but only God can know that because he is Love. Before we can do anything in this life, it is love that is necessary. If love is not the foundation on which knowledge is built, it becomes a desire to know so that one can dominate and destroy. Unwittingly, from then on, Eve became the mother not of the living, but of the dead. Sin entered the world and death followed in more ways than one. Wisdom always seen as something intrinsically feminine now becomes the domain of men and the masculine. For however brilliant a woman is, she never loses that innate contact with nature, that sheer earthiness, and intuitive understanding of the way things work which does not require analysis simply a profound observation of the World and the way people behave. She cannot forget to observe, for if she does, children will not be looked after, and the men will ultimately not be able to look after themselves, or if they do it will be at the expense of the woman, and so the whole terrible history of the abuse of women begins. Quite how the Western phenomenon of the house husband fits into this picture is difficult to know. Has he become this because of the culture of feminism to which he has succumbed? Or maybe it is simply a ploy by men, with great power and great intelligence, who want to totally control the sexes, under the guise of gender emancipation; it is possible is it not?
The desire for knowledge and scientific knowlege in particular, has all the flaws of Icarus' wings, the wax of pride will be melted by Divine Love, and unless the soul desires the Divine Fire and humbly falls into the everlasting arms of the Father, then the descent will be into the Fires of Hell. The little boy taking the toys to bits, and tearing the wings off flies is the mad scientist, geneticist, or eugenicist determined to play at God. Would that such brilliant ravings were left to the scientist, but since the Renaissance there has been a growing desire to know how the world works, how space works, how science works, how society works, and how stories and literature are constructed. The workings of so much, especially in the 20th century, have been scrutinised and analysed but the Creator has been put on one side, as if he, that is God, did not matter, or who was seen to be a bumbling amateur, and so the Biblical scholars in higher criticism, whatever that means, emeshed in an evolutionary mind set, look at the Bible and say "God could not have meant that, because it is obviously the myths of ancient un-educated people who are barely out of the stone age, who had to make sense of the world and this is why they have come up with these charming tales" . No doubt this is all delivered with wry humour, and ambiguous smile and a patronising wink of the eye. It is a dreadful example of intellectual snobbery, but it is not wisdom.
A sophisticated and well educated Christian Lebanese friend of mine said in all seriousness "You know the Tower of Babel was 70 stories high and Nimrod used to look at the stars from the top of it", or words to that effect. Rather amusingly he got one thing wrong. Babel was never finished, but perhaps for all we know there were to be 150 stories and Nimrod was simply inspecting the work, so to speak. It is instructive that the Islamic world, which my friend knows well, has no problem with the great truths of the Old Testament, or for the New Testament except for the fact that it muddles things up and draws the most peculiar conclusions, but it is not the modern scientific world view that sadly has emanated from a Christian stable and bears all the hall marks of Satanic rebellion and Pride waiting for a Fall. The tragedy is that most people who are educated, be they clergy, religious, lawyers, writers, doctors, scientists, and even artists, have been taken in. If we eat of the fruit of the Tree of knowledge we will "be like God, knowing good and evil". Sadly we will not know good, instead we will do evil things and suffer the horrors of evil, because we have refused to believe that God is utter goodness and love and wants the best for us, whereas modern man suspects that God is keeping something from us, and is hoodwinking us, and so begins the terrible avalanche of human pride which engulfs us in the present horror of what is called Western Civilisation.