Translation – The Writings against Julian – p128

Translation of St Severus of Antioch by Father Peter Farrington

It is not, indeed, to challenge the consubstantiality with passions like ours, that Christ God and our Saviour was born according to the flesh of the Holy Spirit and of Mary, ever Virgin. Nor is it condemning as a corruption and a stain resulting from sin, marriage and the marital relations of man and wife. But it was because he had to show us born of the Spirit by holy baptism, that he conferred on us the washing of regeneration as a pledge of the washing of renewal by the resurrection, so that he himself became, for us, formed and engendered anew, the first-fruits of this spiritual birth, and being born the first in this manner became a second Adam, following the words of our Saviour himself: “At the resurrection, a man does not take a wife and women do not marry, but they are like angels of God in the heavens”.

Indeed, after Adam, had lost the grace of immortality, because of sin, and he was destined to decompose in the earth from which he had been derived, the relief of marriage presented itself in due time to preserve the race from extinction by the generation of children.

Now this relief had been established beforehand by God who foresees everything. In making man in the beginning, he made him male and female, and there is in marriage itself no stain of contamination resulting from sin, but it is rather because of the fall of man, which has resulted from sin, and from the transgression of the precept, that this addition has presented itself to the world at this time.  For this reason, too, Christ became man, transforming us in view of a higher birth, the renewal of the resurrection and an angelic life that lasts eternally.


This is an interesting passage from St Severus in which he considers marriage. He is thinking about why the Lord Jesus was born of a Virgin Birth, and he sees in it the heavenly birth by baptism and fulfilled in the resurrection. But he has something to say about marriage itself.

In the first place, he tells us that even in the creation of mankind as male and female, God was already aware that Adam would fall into sin. It was no surprise to him, and already he had made provision for the salvation of man. This was in that through the natural reproduction of children by marital relations the human race would be preserved from extinction.

More than that, even though marital relationships were provided for as a means of preserving mankind when Adam might fall into sin, nevertheless, there is no stain of sin in these martial relationships. St Severus does not adopt the views of other, such as Augustine, that sexual relationships are inherently sinful. In his understanding of the Faith, he is clear. There is in marriage itself no stain of contamination resulting from sin.

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