Marcia Falk proposes that the “Song of Songs,” may have “something new to teach about the redemption of sexuality and love in our fallen world.”*  The Song’s treatment of nature together with human sexuality, of equality of the sexes, of the shamelessness of eroticism, of dangers and fears associated with sexual relationship, of the divine that is present but not named—all this names Sacred Sexuality, a theme that is still to this day a challenge for our spiritual traditions: to include the sexual with the sacred.

“Song of Solomon“ No. 10, a 1923 work of the German artist Egon Tschirch. Wikimedia.

The poem “does not seem to be about marital love” but about love, Falk points out in her commentary.  The poem is soaked in creation imagery–whoever wrote it understood human love in the context of the other love going on all about us.  There are over twenty-five varieties of trees, shrubs, flowers, herbs, fruits, nuts, spices, and nectars that are named along with animals that are celebrated including the mare, dove, gazelle, deer, nightingale, turtledove, fox, lion, leopard, and raven.  Human love is placed within the context of the love of earth and her creatures.

A great gender balance is present in the poem.  It offers “a thoroughly non-sexist view of heterosexual love.”  Women in the Song “speak as assertively as men,” they initiate action on their own; and men are free to be as gentle, vulnerable and coy as women.  “Men and women are mutually praised for their sensual appeal and beauty.”

Its uniquely feminine perspective suggests to many scholars that it was written by a woman or a team of women.

Song of Solomon“ No. 8, a 1923 work of the German artist Egon Tschirch. Wikimedia.

“He brings me to the winehall,
Gazing at me with love,
Feed me raisincakes and quinces!
For I am sick with love.
O for his arms around me,
Beneath me and above!
O women of the city,
Swear by the wild field does
Not to wake or rouse us
Til we fulfill our love.
The sound of my lover
Coming from the hills
Quickly, like a deer
Upon the mountains….he calls—
‘Come with me,
My love, come away.’”

The great Jewish medieval mystical work, Kabbalah, echoes a similar appreciation for the holiness of human sexuality.  It says: “God created nothing shameful or ugly.  If sexual union is shameful, then the genitals are too.  Yet God created them.  How could God create something blemished, disgraceful or deficient?  After all, the Torah states: “God saw everything that he had made, and behold: very good!’”

Adapted from Matthew Fox, One River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing From Global Faiths, pp. 316-319, 315.
*Marcia Falk, The Song of Songs, 1990.
**Daniel C. Matt, The Essential Kabbalah, 1996.

For Deeper Contemplation

Be with the poetry of the Song of Songs reproduced here.  What is it saying to you?  How deeply into your heart does it penetrate?  How is it calling you forward?

Recommended Reading

Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

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7 thoughts on “Sacred Sexuality in the Bible”

  1. Avatar

    Have thought of love like this all my life as without love there would be no human beings and no reason for God.

  2. Avatar

    Matthew’s writings have given me a new appreciation of the “Song of Solomon,” and now I must read it again with new eyes. And these paintings by Tschirch are stunning. I’ve been searching all morning for a site where I can buy a print of one of them. I’ve found fascinating information about this cycle of paintings and see that the cycle was just recently recovered. Does anyone know where one can buy prints?

      1. Avatar

        Thanks so much, Phila. I did find that site and it’s wonderful to see additional paintings; however, following various threads, I can’t seem to find where I can purchase prints.

        1. Avatar

          Hello Michele,
          I´ve found your comment about Tschirch´s painting in Google-Search. I regurlarly do searching – because I am the one who recovered this expressionist cycle in 2015 and therefore I am the owner of it! I am deeply pleased if someone love those paintings so much. I happily support it and if you want – I would send you files of for example 3 paintings so you could print it without any charging. If this cycle gets more attention it would be wonderful.
          So don´t hesitate to contact me. I hope my English is understandable.
          Best regards
          Dr. Ulf Kringel, Rostock, Germany.

  3. Avatar

    The Song of Songs invites us to intensify our desire for sex and play. The by-product is to increase our desire for an Edenic sexuality that will only be fully possible in the new heavens and earth.
    This of course brings up the question of whether there will be physical sexual activity in heaven. Why would we think that a divine gift as enjoyable and pleasurable as sex would be lacking in the new creation?
    Isn’t the point of the Resurrection and the new creation to restore all that has been corrupted by sin and death?

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear German,
      Thank you for writing and offering up this provocative question. Your imagination takes us to a reality that none of us has yet experience. At some moment, each of us will find out if we can share sexual joy in our bodies after we die. This then brings up the question about whether resurrection in our physical bodies, or in our spiritual bodies. Makes a difference when considering physical sex after death. I have heard that the angels are jealous of our ability to make love. They hover around us with yearning and delight

      The intimacy that comes with true and joyful love making is a precious gift. It can lift us up into the heavenly realms and out into the creating sphere. Thank you for reminding us of its power to release us into our own divinity.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

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