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In The Time of Mans Innocency

How many times have you heard church leaders and theologians say that ‘God is the ultimate source and creator of human pleasure – after all, God created sex’?  However, The Book of Common Prayer reminds us that God instituted marriage (one man plus one woman, of course) and procreation “in the time of mans innocency” [no apostrophe in my 18th century text!]. Sex came before the fall, it was prelapsarian. Then, humans just did it to continue the species (which, clearly, God did want). Yes, humans behaved much as the animals that materialists insist they essentially are – but not just animals, even then, as they had something called choice, and thus reason). The idea of sex as a source of pleasure came later, and hence, now, when anything non-purely-this-worldly is increasingly being marginalised and is fading, sex as indulgence in personal pleasure looms ever larger, indeed, in our society, is becoming sovereign. Thus we might be forgiven for thinking that today’s same-sex ‘marriage’ (instituted, in Britain, by PM David Cameron, in the time of … er … man’s depravity) has much to do with personal pleasure, and nothing to do with perpetuating the species. Love? Lifetime, faithful relationships? Companionship? I suspect (reading about same-sex cohabitees in the past) that that could be had without physical doings. Take the “Ladies of Llangollen” (later-18th century/early 19th century); from information and speculation given in Elizabeth Mavor’s 1971 book (with this title), I don’t think they did much rimming.

 July 2017