A Biblically based understanding of Defilement, covering descriptions and implications on relationships and spiritual vitality.
This essay is comprised of the following sections.
- Concepts and Definitions
- Is Defilement a State or a Process?
- What is the difference between being Unclean and being Defiled?
- Old Testament Scriptures Covering Defilement
- The Lamentable Defilement of Children
In the commentary under one of J.T.’s posts, Saving Eve: A strong disagreement (October 15, 2018), the word “defile” came up out of a scripture reference, and it occurred to me during the discussion that this is one of those theological terms that Christians frequently hear and use in discussions, but don’t really know what it is.
Since this conversation, I’ve been more cognizant of how this word is used.
In a more recent post, Divorce Part 7 – Final (November 24, 2018), Deep Strength offered an exegetical study of the scriptures on the topic of marriage and divorce. Both of the words, sanctification and defilement were used in the text of this post, as well as many of the comments. Again, I felt like the general understanding of these concepts needed clarification.
After I started this study, it quickly grew to more than 20 pages in MS Word. So because of the length, I parsed it into smaller bites and made several posts of it. This post will only begin to cover the topic of defilement, as it only covers a couple passages within the Old Testament. There is a lot more to be had from the OT, as well as the NT.
Other posts stemming from this study include the following.
- Sigma Frame: What does it mean to be Unclean? (December 2, 2018)
In addition to this, there are two parables circulating the RP sphere which may offer more succinct insights. Some of my readers will be familiar with these stories.
- The Parable of the Pie is an anecdotal comparison between sanctification and defilement.
- the Parable of the Sticky-Tape is another analogy that describes the Alpha Widow syndrome as a trope of defilement.
For quick reference, I’ll post these links to online resources covering the related word studies.
- Bible Hub: Topic: “Unclean”.
- Bible Hub: Topic: “Defile”.
- Bible Hub: Topic: “Consecrate”.
- Bible Hub: Topic: “Sanctify”.
Concepts and Definitions
The words, defilement (n.) and defiled (adj.) describe a major concept in Christian doctrine. These words not only strike the mind as impressive, but they are also confusing at the same time.
The word defile is defined as, “to make foul, dirty, or unclean; pollute; taint; debase;” or “to violate the chastity of”.
As per the dictionary definition, defile carries the connotation of being “dirty”. But the full Biblical concept includes the spiritual aspect of dirtiness. The full flavor would involve the concepts of eventual damnation, and eternal perdition.
Running parallel to many teachings about defilement are references to things that are unclean. This topic has been reviewed in a previous post, entitled, What does it mean to be Unclean? (December 2, 2018).
Moreover, these definitions are as nebulous as could be, and may not yield any further insight to the layperson. They don’t really help anyone understand the spiritual or practical significance at all.
It may help our understanding of the matter if we draw an entertaining analogy to some concepts ubiquitous in thermodynamics, industrial engineering, and manufacturing science. So (partly in jest), I will be making intermittent comments to this end.
Concerning these distinctions, the reader may like to review some basic definitions of the related concepts, such as states, processes, and qualities, which may help us differentiate between the concepts discussed herein.
The remainder of this essay will further examine the concept of defilement from a Thermodynamic Red Pill (TRP) perspective. Future posts will discuss how culturally pertinent sexual dynamics are related.
Is Defilement a State or a Process?
I had to think about this question for a long time, and I am sure that most people, even believers, are unaware that there is a difference. Right now, I am about 80% convinced that defilement is a state, and not a process. The adjective, defiled, is used to describe that state.
For example, the statement, “The person is defiled” is similar to the statement, “The water is contaminated”. Both adjectives, defiled and contaminated, describe a state characterized by the presence of intrinsic impurities. Likewise, the states of uncleanness and defilement are characterized by properties which describe and determine the respective states.
But too often, these words are used in convention to refer to an amalgamation of the processes involved, which thereby introduces the confusion as to whether it is a state or process. I suppose we could invent the word, defilation, to generally refer to any process leading to defilement.
Another source of confusion may arise from the fact that it’s human nature to be adamantly focused on the “works (of the flesh)” aspect, or the processes necessary to induce a state of defilement, but I am convinced that God is most concerned about the state.
Further compounding this confusion is the fact that the Bible contains many descriptions of things that lead to defilement and uncleanness, which seems to fit the viewpoint of man, and thereby provide apparent credence to the false assumption that defilement is a process.
In sum, many of the references given in scripture concerning defilement fall into one of three categories.
- Delineations of processes that cause a state of defilement.
- Descriptions of the properties used to identify a state of being unclean or defiled.
- Proscriptions of processes for dealing with said states.
Interestingly, it seems that most scriptures cover the first two categories. Some verses give remedies for being unclean, but (so far) I have not found any directions about how to reverse defilement. If we appropriate the afore invented word, defilation, to mean a process of becoming undefiled, then capital punishment appears to be the only scripturally mentioned form of “undefilation”. The absence of such a term in scripture, and the severe consequences and irreparability of defilement both stand as evidence leading to certain conclusions in the next section.
What is the difference between being Unclean and being Defiled?
The Bible lists many things that cause uncleanness, as well as defilement. The writers of scripture used two different words, unclean and defiled, to make a distinction between them, because being unclean is not the same as being defiled. So you might be asking this question, as I did – what is the difference between the two concepts?
Largely based on the conclusions of the previous section, my best understanding of this, is that uncleanness is a temporary state, but defilement is permanently etched into the body, mind, soul and spirit, not to mention the salaciously indelible memories of licking that delicious fig pie.
Similar to being unclean, defilement also includes the spiritual aspect – that is, certain experiences affect one’s state of mind, and emotional disposition, such that one becomes unfit or unable to have certain other experiences in life, including personal and spiritual maturation.
In other words, a person who is defiled cannot think objectively, and they have developed subjective biases. They possess certain emotional predilections and peculiar affections. The end effect is being more psychotic and less real, more emotional and less rational, more given over to sentiments and less so to education. Essentially, more feeelz, less faith.
Now we add to this understanding, the fact that defilement is rather permanent. It becomes a part of one’s constitutional identity of the soul. I have personally heard true stories amounting to the fact that certain sexual experiences can transform one’s value system, beliefs, and even one’s personality!
So another way to describe the difference is that uncleanness is defined by certain extrinsic properties, while defilement is determined by certain intrinsic properties.
According to Figure 1, it is the movement of the system towards C, never to return to either A nor B.
[Eds. note: This is a very sobering realization. A true comprehension of the eternal gravity of defilement should put the fear of God into a person.]
The distinction between these two states should become more evident to the reader in the next section.
Old Testament Scriptures Covering Defilement
In scripture, Leviticus 18 pumps up the volume by describing a number of things or activities causing defilement, including adultery, incest, homosexuality, and bestiality.
We may not be surprised to learn that sexual immorality most certainly introduces defilement. But interestingly, a sexual union is not always necessary for a defilement to occur. (Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament bring this out more clearly, but this will remain to be discussed in a future post.)
The first half of this chapter states that it is “wickedness” to “uncover the nakedness of” any one of a large number of close family members. (Scholars believe that “uncover the nakedness of” someone might also be a euphemism for sexual relations, so this remains up for debate.) Verses 6-18 iterate each relation that is forbidden to disrobe in your presence.
Here’s a true story that will make this relatable to the reader. I remember once when I was a child, I accidentally walked in on my grandmother while she was undressing. After seeing the sight of her aged body, I was not able to imagine that any woman, young or old, was aesthetically beautiful underneath her clothes. It was not until I was much older, after I had seen prime SMV women in the nude, that I was able to think of (some) women as beautiful. So I can understand how the sight of naked family members can warp one’s impression of people in general.
The second half of this chapter lists a number of activities, most of them sexual, which cause one to become defiled. So here we are talking about processes which should be avoided.
“19 ‘Also you shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness as long as she is in her customary impurity. 20 Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor’s wife, to defile yourself with her. 21 And you shall not let any of your descendants pass through the fire to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. 23 Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion.
24 ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I am casting out before you. 25 For the land is defiled; therefore I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it, and the land vomits out its inhabitants. 26 You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells among you 27 (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the land is defiled), 28 lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were before you. 29 For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut off from among their people.
30 ‘Therefore you shall keep My ordinance, so that you do not commit any of these abominable customs which were committed before you, and that you do not defile yourselves by them: I am the Lord your God.’”
So to put this all together, a bullet list of defiling experiences looks like this.
- Viewing adult, close family members in the nude (other than one’s husband or wife)
- Thinking of sex too lightly, or taking sex casually (profaning God)
- Having casual sex with short term partners (fornication, profaning God)
- Having sex with a woman during her menstruation.
- Swinging (trading husbands or wives for sexual purposes, which is adultery)
- Cuckolding or being cuckolded (adultery)
- Sexual experiences with same sex partners (homosexuality)
- Sexual experiences with family members (incest)
- Sexual experiences with animals (bestiality)
- Sacrificing children’s well-being (e.g. destroying their lives, spiritual vitality, faith, and confidence) for the sake of personal goals or interests
The Lamentable Defilement of Children
In the spiritual sense, one’s first encounter with either God’s grace, or Satan’s thug life, often occurs in childhood or adolescence. Thus, a state of sanctification or defilement (respectively) can set in early, often times long before a person is cognizant of the nature of the transition. This trajectory tends to develop and expand over a person’s life span, resulting in their eternal condition of union with (in the case of sanctification), or alienation from (in the case of defilement) God Himself.
The last point on the list above is an especially complex topic, since it involves the defiling formation (or the de-formation) of young minds and souls. So it includes this sublist.
- Divorce and fatherlessness are both known to have a profoundly negative effect on any children involved.
- Pursuing sexual promiscuity while married, which invariably results in the defilement of the perpetrators through adultery, is both a cause of, and a prevalent motive for a frivorce which harms children. So this is a double defilement.
- Sexual experiences with children (pedophilia)
- Killing children (abortion, infanticide, homicide)
“But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.” ~ Mark 9:42 (NKJV)
- All Things Bright And Beautiful: Spiritual Darkness and Sacrificing Children – Part I (August 28, 2018)
- All Things Bright And Beautiful: Spiritual Darkness and Sacrificing Children – Part II (December 6, 2018)
It might be tempting for some readers to cling to the belief that defilement is not much different from being unclean. But the difference is noteworthy. A state of uncleanness is (presumed to be) temporary – body fluids and sheets which can be washed up in an hour, or rancorous or inebriated dispositions which undulate over time. But defilement is associated with taking a step into the abyss – etched permanently into the body (self-evident), mind (i.e. cognitive beliefs, memory), soul (affections and inclinations), and spirit (perdition).
Upon reflection, it may be apparent to the reader by now, that when a society loosens its sexual norms, the associated “liberation” not only brings depravity, but it is also the destruction of Sanctity. It would be more fitting and accurate, from a Christian perspective, to rename “the Sexual Revolution” as “the Defilement Rebellion”.
- Christian Crier (feat. Jack Wellman): What Does Defile Mean? A Biblical Definition of Defile or Defiled (August 13, 2015)
- All Things Bright And Beautiful: Email Questions… Virginity is a pile of horse manure? (November 9, 2018)