Saint Thomas Aquinas

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sin Of Onan Continued...

For those of you who want more information on the contraceptive act condemned in Genesis 38, Fr. Brian Harrison's article on the subject is worth a read. Sadly the pretended "Reformers" over on 'Beggars All' who are up in arms over this, have no where else to run, so they now must side with the liberals to justify their doctrinal shift away from their much heralded founders like Luther and Calvin. Again, it is quite obvious that Mr. Swan must start from the false premise he holds, and then go look for anything he can get his hands on to justify it, rather than going out and actually looking for the truth. Anyone who would attempt to take this passage of Genesis 38 and reinterpret it against the consistent Jewish and Christian interpretation of it is obviously either not being honest or they are consumed with the modernist Biblical nonsense pervading the "scholarship" of our faithless age. As for our buddy Mark Shea who appears to be consumed with Biblical modernism as well, no word from him. Read Fr. Harrison's entire article here. Below is Fr. Harrison's summary on the passage.

Our commentary on this passage can now be summarized. The cumulative weight of the evidence - the structure and sexual explicitness of the text itself and the much greater severity of Onan's punishment than that prescribed for levirate marriage infringements in Deuteronomy 25: 5-6 - leads us to conclude that while Genesis 38: 9-10 very probably includes disapproval of Onan's lack of piety toward his deceased brother, it is nonetheless the unnatural sex act in itself which is presented as the most gravely sinful aspect of this man's treatment of Tamar - the aspect for which God cut short his life. If the inspired author, while knowing the same historical facts, had evaluated them in the way most modern exegetes would have us believe he did (i.e., with complete moral indifference toward Onan's contraceptive act as such), then we would expect quite different wording: "spilling the seed," being irrelevant to the author's interest and purpose on that hypothesis, would probably not even have been mentioned. Instead, we would expect to be faced with an account stating more discreetly that even though Onan took Tamar legally as his wife, he refused to allow her to conceive, so that God slew him for his "hardness of heart," his pride, or perhaps his avarice (in wanting his brother's property to pass to himself and his own sons).

        Thus, the traditional interpretation of this passage as a divinely revealed condemnation of contraceptive acts - not as a provision of mere posititve law (cultic or disciplinary) given temporarily for a specific ancient cultural context, but as a particular manifestation of that divine will for the entire human species which had been revealed through nature ever since the Creation - must be seen as supported by serious exegetical arguments. Indeed, quite apart from those arguments, and even without any appeal to the Catholic theological principle that Church tradition must be our guide to the interpretation of Scripture, a purely historical awareness of the unanimity of Jewish tradition on this point highlights how implausible and anachronistic is the view we are criticizing. That view involves the gratuitous suggestion that the ancient author of Genesis 38 was a lone 'liberal' who, in contrast to every other known Jewish commentator until recent times, was unaccountably permissive about unnatural sex acts while at the same time, paradoxically, showing himself (and God) to be unaccountably severe in regard to infractions of the levirate mariage custom.

        The witness of Christian as well as Jewish tradition on this point should be emphasized in conclusion. That Onan's unnatural act as such is condemned as sinful in Gen. 38: 9-10 was an interpretation held by the Fathers and Doctors of the Catholic Church, by the Protestant Reformers, and by nearly all celibate and married theologians of all Christian denominations until the early years of this century, when some exegetes began to approach the text with preconceptions deriving from the sexual decadence of modern Western culture and its exaggerated concern for 'over-population.' Sad to say, these preconceptions have since become entrenched as a new exegetical 'orthodoxy' which can no longer see even a trace of indignation in this passage of Scripture against intrinsically sterile forms of genital activity as such.

(Fr. Brian Harrision- Sin of Onan Revisited 1996)

1 comment:

Steve "scotju" Dalton said...

Matt, all Protestants are naturally liberal. It's omly a matter of degrees, not philosophy, that separates the so-called 'conservative' Protestant from the flaming 'liberal' one. One only has to read the history liberalism to realize the Protestant pretend reformation was one of the ancestors of modern day liberalism. Swan and his 'beggars' have to side with the liberals simply because they are already on that side. As for Mark Shea, he has always given me the impression that he was a liberal. He believes in evolution, he's anti-military, he believed in decriminalizing sodomy, and now, he's against the traditional teaching of the sin of Onan. How much more of the faith must Shea reject before Catholics (and his bishop) realize he is a liberal and a manifest heretic?