Jesus never wanted you to have testicles.
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- Transmetropolitan #5
by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson
Allow me to tell you a story about Origen, one of the great fathers of the early church. Origen was originally a teacher, and a bishop tapped him to teach Christian studies to interested parties. And since, as we all know, seminary students are the sexiest students of all, Origen apparently encountered some temptations. So he looked to the Scriptures for an answer to his problems. He chose to go with Matthew 19:12:
For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can. (NRSV)Apparently Origen could accept it. Yeah, he castrated himself. Yeah....
Later this came back to bite him (duh), though in a possibly unexpected way. There were some folks that weren't too keen on Origen's rise in the church, so they complained that a castrated man cannot hold a church office. See, a priest, bishop, or what have you, needs to have testicles, he can just never use them (what?!).
It made sense to someone.
So now whenever I hear someone insist we must take the whole Bible literally, I stop and remember Origen. And then I think that maybe it's not so simple.
Source: Ferguson, Everett. Church History: Volume I. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2005.