animals- fully physical; indulgent in lust
angels- pure spirit; no lustful desires
We live |in the tension| betwixt the two.
If you have not yet read "SexGod" by Rob Bell we would encourage you to do so.
|Black| Gray |White|
Guess what. When it comes to relationships there's a whole lotta gray. We Christians tend to pendulum between two extremes--both hazardous in their own ways. First, as Christians we believe that we cannot simply go around indulging our fleshes' every desire. Fairly elementary (silver ring thing anybody?). The other extreme we tend to swing toward is a quasi-gnosticism (body=bad; spiritual is above and beyond the physical). However, implications of the incarnation, baby (literally) --> the physical world, our physical bodies, made of matter, matter. Oh the irony that we sometimes think matter doesn't matter.
Relationship application: Relationships cannot substantially exist or be built in simply a physical dimension; Nor can the physical be completely ignored if we are to be of any substance. As of now there hasn't yet been discovered some precise line of universally proper physical boundaries for each stage of a relationship. It is much easier if we go on believing there is...somewhere there lies a clear line between black and white, angels and animals...somewhere over the rainbow. Our relationships, at least all of those I've been in or witnessed, do not have precise formulas, spelled out, or clearly defined ways to grow. Rather there's a whole mess of gray--very messy indeed. But that's all part of the adventure. We don't have a map, we've got a guide and general sense of direction, from there we must use our own discernment and discretion.