This is the second part in a series of articles addressing sexuality in our culture and how the modern view of it causes a lot of problems. For part one, CLICK HERE.
Last week we saw the biological effects of sex and how pre-marital sex can cause problems within one’s body as well as within their eventual marriage. But the question still remains: Why does sex have this root that seems to affect the deepest and most vulnerable parts of out being? Why are our bodies wired that way? Why can’t it just be physical?
Many different cultures and religions have different beliefs on creation and how human beings came to be. From what I can tell, most of the people who push the “sex is just physical” lie, seem to be of the belief that humans are just a product of natural random chance. They seem to believe that humans randomly appeared after millions of years of development and somehow all of our atoms and cells came to create the extremely complex beings that we are, all by chance. If they want to believe that, that is just fine. I know many people who believe that. Frankly, I don’t have enough faith to believe that. The probabilities of our intricate bodies that are tuned in hundreds of ways to just the right settings to survive, being the product of random chance are slim. That is just too much of a coincidence for me to believe in. I don’t see the evidence for it, and thus I have a lot of trouble believing it.
If I am walking in the forest and find a computer sitting next to a tree, I don’t assume that this extremely complex piece of equipment is a product of nature that appeared over the years. I assume that someone put it there and that someone created it. This is just the case with human beings. Our bodies are a million times more complex than a computer. It has taken thousands of years for doctors and scientists even to begin to understand how and why certain systems of our bodies work. Scientists still don’t even know how all of the brain works.
If this is the case, doesn’t it stand to reason that, like the computer, our bodies are intricately designed, rather than a product of random chance?
This idea makes a lot more sense to me. Even if I don’t fully understand or know all the answers, the view that people are created with purpose rather than by coincidence seems to provide a much better explanation as to why sex affects people on a much deeper level.
The most prominent group that holds to this belief are believers in the Bible. In this holy text, God, in His infinite wisdom and power, designed every aspect of the human body, even down to the microscopic level. An intelligent designer put everything in place to work in a way that allows us to survive and flourish. This view also teaches that all human beings are intrinsically valuable, meaning that they have value simply because of what they are. This biblical view of humanity gives every human being purpose and value, whereas the belief in random natural chance does not.
Unlike many religions around the globe that don’t have any problems with premarital sex, sex outside of marriage, or multiple sexual partners, the Christian Bible teaches against those things. In fact, the seemingly strict views on human sexuality that the Bible teaches were pretty much unheard of in the world before Jesus and His followers came on the scene. Even people
in the Jewish culture, in which the Bible focuses on, practiced sex outside of marriage and polygamy. Jesus’ great grandfather, King David is a prime example of the sexual practices of the culture. Many people unfamiliar with the Bible think that its teachings about purity and sex are silly and restrict or prohibit mankind from this natural and pleasurable act. Many scoff and say that because of the strict teachings, the God of the Bible simply doesn’t want mankind to experience pleasure. A careful look at the actual teachings of the Bible shows that this isn’t the case.
Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, GA, did a series on sexuality in today’s culture called “The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating.” In this series, Stanley observes,
“Culture convinces us – and sometimes we convince ourselves – that sex is only physical. But if that is true, why is the pain of sexual sin so deep? Because sex is not just physical. It was designed by God to be so much more…Christians believe that the link between sex and intimacy is the result of divine design. Christians believe God added the relational dynamic to the sexual equation on purpose, for a purpose. While the procreative purpose of sex is reflected in the entire animal kingdom, relational intimacy, as experienced through sexual intercourse, looks to be a gift reserved for the human race. Christians believe the significance of sex goes beyond babies and bliss.
Jesus associated sex with the start of a new and permanent family unit. According to Jesus, in Matthew 19:5-6, sex symbolizes the knitting together of two people to form a new entity:
“For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”.”
Stanley goes on to provide commentary on that verse,
“Think about this phrase for a moment: “so they are no longer two, but one flesh” There’s nothing magical and mystical, or even romantic about that. No longer two, but one. Through marriage, something that didn’t exist before comes to be. Within the context of this mysterious disappearing trick, sex finds its proper, God-designed context. Sex is for married people because sex is a physical expression of relational oneness – permanence. You can make babies with a lot of people. Sex can be pleasurable with a lot of people. But you can only be one with one other person. If relational oneness is something you hope to experience, then save sex for the person with whom you want to become one. Reserve your body for the one for whom you are reserving that unique commitment. Give your body to the person to who you pledge your life to. To do otherwise is to diminish the significance of sex.
If you treat sex as though it is just physical, you hurt yourself, and if you get married, it hurts your partner. If you treat sex as though it is just physical, you hurt yourself in the deepest way possible. Sex and sexuality are rooted to you at the deepest level of your being.”
In the sermon entitled “Designer Sex,” Stanley brought a Stradivarius. Anyone who has any knowledge of musical history has heard of the Stradivarius. There are very few of them left, and those that are left are very fragile and delicate and very sought after artifacts that are also very expensive. Napoleon Bonaparte’s Stradivarius was sold a few years back for over 3 Million dollars! I know a young and talented musician who was privileged to get to play one of the remaining instruments, and it was a HUGE honor. In this sermon, Stanley passed this instrument around the audience. It was a huge risk on his part to do that, but he passed this very special, unique, and fragile instrument around the audience to make a point. He asks, “would anyone do that with a Stradivarius?” Of course not!
“We live in a culture,” he explains, “where people do that with their sexuality all the time.”
“Do you know how much more valuable you are to God than that piece of wood? Do you know how much more fragile your sexuality is than that piece of wood? That instrument can be replaced, but you cannot be replaced. You get to do life one time. You get to choose one time how to manage this very important part of your life.”
Stanley puts a definition up on the screen that reads, “Intimacy: To know and be fully known.”
He states that “God created sex to reflect the type of intimacy he wants us to experience with Him. Fully knowing each other on the deepest levels.”
He then quotes 1 Corinthians 6:18, which says, “Flee sexual immorality. All other sins people commit are outside their bodies, but those who sin sexually sin against their own bodies.”
In chapter 7 of that book, the Apostle Paul defines that sexual immorality is any sexual activity outside of marriage, including extramarital affairs and premarital sex.
But how does this hurt one’s body? The apostle Paul addresses that two verses back in 1 Corinthians 6:16. “Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body?”
The Greek word Paul uses for “unite” is “kollao,” which means to glue together permanently.
Stanley points out that the people hearing that probably were thinking, “I’m not uniting myself or becoming one with a prostitute, I’m just having sex! It was just physical.”
“People that think that way clearly do not understand sex. God designed us to become one, to unite with one person. When you become one with/unite with many different people, it diminishes the intimacy factor. It damages your ability to experience what God intended for you to experience. It disconnects sex for what it was intended for.”
This is where Stanley drives it home.
“Sexual sin is like no other sin, not because God hates it more, or because God will judge you harshly, not because it will send you to hell, not because God won’t like you, not because God won’t forgive you, not because God will condemn you forever. Sexual sin is like no other sin because of the depth of which it injures the offender, and in many cases, the offended. When you sin sexually, you hurt yourself at the deepest level imaginable. In many cases, it is a pain that you carry with you for the rest of your life.”
As we can see, the God of the Bible loves humanity and cares for it. He isn’t against sex or pleasure; He created it! He gave us sex for many reasons, one of which is because we will enjoy it. To say that God is against anything pleasurable is ridiculous. But like with many things, if we use something the wrong way, the way it wasn’t intended to be used, it can hurt us deeply. This is what has happened with sex. God gave humanity sex so that we may enjoy it in its fullness. It is an amazing gift that goes way beyond that of just a physical act. Christian apologist, Dr. Frank Turek describes it this way, “Sex is like fire. It’s great if it’s in the fireplace, but if it’s anywhere else in your house, it’s going to burn your house down.”
We see from the Christian Bible, Andy Stanley’s commentary, and the previous scientific accounts, that science and Biblical scripture both show that sex creates a deep bond between two human beings. It shows that sex is much more than just physical, as the world and our popular culture lead us to think.
As mentioned previously, I have had several friends who talked to me after a breakup with their significant other. Having been through a breakup before, I know how heartbreaking and tough it can be, but, judging by these people’s reactions and feelings, I could sense that there was more to this than a simple breakup. After talking to them more, it was revealed that they had been sexually involved with this person. It all made sense now. They were feeling,
not only the usual and normal effects of a breakup, but also the feelings of the breaking of a mental, emotional, biological, and spiritual bond. It broke my heart hearing them tell me these stories of regret and pain. It still upsets me to think about their pain, a pain that could have and should have easily been avoided. If only someone had told them before, that the consequences of their actions would lead to this pain, they could have chosen not to do those things and thus avoided that pain altogether. Sure, I know that telling people the consequences wouldn’t have prevented everyone from doing it, but you never know, it might have prevented it in some cases, saving many the pain. That is one of the main reasons I was led to write this piece. I want to help prevent people from experiencing this deep pain.
Tune in next time for Sex in Our Culture: Part Three – Man Up!
- Andy Stanley, North Point Community Church, http://northpoint.org/messages/the-new-rules-for-love-sex- and-dating
- Frank Turek, Summit Lecture Series: Homosexual Marriage – Born That Way Is A Myth