I have long felt this passage in Leviticus to be unfair to women. No, not because of certain cultural influences of today. Perhaps it was the era I grew up in, or because my mom worked as a school teacher. Or in conjunction with that, my dad was a single father who cleaned and cooked great food. Or, as a child, being one of the few with divorced parents (as I grew up, I was no longer alone in that, sadly). Either way, I’ve tended to view men and women as equal, while we are yet neither wired nor designed the same.
It still seems reasonable to tie this passage back to the Fall and the difficulties of childbirth as part of the curse (Genesis 3:16). With menstruation being part of the process of childbirth, along with the “shedding” of blood, or in particular, the consumption of blood (Deuteronomy 12:23–24), as blood is life (ancient understanding). It still seems unfair to our modern mind, but this way we can grasp some of the why.
The last piece of the why is in verse 31, the separation of the Israelites from their uncleanness (part of life after the Fall) from the holiness of being God’s people and the holiness of God’s dwelling (whether Tabernacle or Temple).
Many people question such a God. The reality though is that if you were ritually clean all the time, would you be in God’s dwelling the entire time? Probably not. So, people who argue on this, don’t realize what they’re arguing for. They’re arguing to get into God’s dwelling!
Whether believer or not, we appear to unconsciously recognize that there is something dirty about humanity. We also seem to have an unconscious understanding that this isn’t right (right versus fair). God’s grace that goes before (prevenient grace) gives all of humanity the ability to recognize this.
So, while we theologically understand that things aren’t right (due to fallen humanity). We also understand that because of that, humanity is “dirty” insofar as being not holy. We also know that is not the end.
Wesleyan-Holiness theology understands that God’s grace walks the road before us (prevenient grace). This means we (as in all of humanity) are able to know (at least in our souls) that despite our not holiness and despite the mar of sin, God has made a way for us to be not just at the dwelling place (tabernacle, temple, or church for today), but to fully live in the presence of God all the days of our lives and beyond.
- Do you ever think that you are too dirty for God? Do you ever think that about others?
- How do you “cleanse” your spirit when you get “dirty”?
- Do you perform regular spiritual checks with others for both yourself and them?