I asked the question last week.
Why…in God’s economy…is sexual intimacy reserved exclusively for a man and a woman who are married to each other?
Have you ever really thought about it? Have you ever considered the logic behind God’s plan? Have you ever tried to explain it to someone?
Does the Bible even say that sex is only for married people? Were Adam and Eve actually married? If so, who was the pastor and could they really have a wedding ceremony without a mother of the bride? At least they probably didn’t have any cheesy wedding music…
Figured I would tackle the sex-is-only-for-married-people issue over the next few Tuesdays. Good for me. Maybe good for you, too.
The whole discussion of sex in marriage has to begin with the creation account. In spite of the simplicity in the way it is often presented by well-meaning Christians (especially parents), you really have to dig a little deeper to uncover our understanding of sex in marriage.
Here’s the primary account we have to start with:
…for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called `woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. (Genesis 2:20-25)
Here’s where it all starts. Even though the word “marriage” does not appear, the concept is implicit in the text and the sacredness of the union in the garden (along with the concept of “marriage”) was ratified by Jesus thousands of years later:
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator `made them male and female,’ and said, `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. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Matthew 19:3-6
What God created in the garden between Adam and Eve was clearly marriage. This is the ideal, the dream, as the Bible sees it: total nakedness, total unity, total love, total sexual satisfaction within marriage.
Well, you may say, it doesn’t specifically say that unmarried people can’t have sex. Even though I would argue that the silence of this passage speaks volumes, I would still have to agree that the creation account does not rule out sexual intimacy outside of marriage.
Too bad. God takes care of that issue in plenty of other places. We’ll get to that next week.