September 8, 2015
The Birth of the Theotokos
What is clean and what isn’t
Saint John Chrysostom stresses* that “nothing which God made is unclean. There are no things that are clean or unclean by their nature, but the way in which they are used. So nothing is unclean other than sin, because it touches the soul and infects it…For those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but even the mind and conscience is defiled. What is that which is unclean? Sin, malice, covetousness, guile.” He insists that we not adopt “Judaic fables” that “subjugate man under the law”.
Specifically regarding the woman, the Judaic law says that a woman in child-bed is unclean. And St. John asks: “Yet God made child-birth, and the seed of copulation. Why then is a woman unclean?”
Also, an adulterer and a fornicator is a sinner because he is greedy. He is not unclean “on account of intercourse. For according to that reasoning, a man coming together with his own wife would be unclean”. He is unclean “because of the way, because he performs injustice to the woman; and the one performs injustice to the other, making the woman common, and subverting the laws of nature, because she ought to be the wife of one man. It is said, ‘He created male and female’ and God said ‘they two shall be one flesh’ (Gen. 1:27; 2:24). Not many, but ‘they two shall be one flesh’ ”.
(*See: On the Epistle to Titus, Homily 3)