Is The Bible Anti-Sex?

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It is written:

Hebrews 13:4-Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

Many believe that Christianity is a religion which is opposed to sex. However, this is not the case. Indeed, the teachings of the Bible make it clear that God Himself is the Inventor of sex, and the One Who provides the boundaries for the maximum enjoyment and fulfillment of it.

“The Bible has numerous key concepts regarding sex and sexual expression. And this Bible, being the source of all truth for the church, is full of beautiful references to sexual pleasure ure between man and woman. As a matter of fact, the Bible is an advocate of maximum sexual pleasure. In Genesis 26:8 (NLT), Isaac is seen “fondling” his wife. Proverbs 5:18-19 encourages some rather explicit sexual enjoyment between husband and wife. And the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) in the Old Testament is nothing less than an erotic love poem filled with all sorts of sexual expression. In the New Testament, the references to sexual activity are not as poetically written. Nevertheless, in 1 Corinthians 7:1-6, Paul tells husbands and wives that they no longer own their own bodies; rather, the husband’s body belongs to his wife, and the wife’s to her husband. In other words, they are to seek mutual satisfaction in their lovemaking. Furthermore, the marriage bed is treasured and honored as pure (see Hebrews 13:4). Sexual activities and pleasure are normal, expected, and encouraged within a marriage.” (Dr. James L. Garlow, Peter Jones, Cracking Da Vinci’s Code – Digest, 157-164 (Kindle Edition): Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook)

Studies demonstrate that physical intimacy among married Christian couples underscores the Bible’s proper elevation of sexual fulfillment.

“Until recently it has generally been assumed that Christians or very religiously inclined couples were so rigid or confused about sex that they regarded it more for propagation than for pleasure. As counselors we knew differently. For several years it has been our conviction that married Christians enjoy a sex life that is as good as or, in many cases, better than that of the average couple. Even though many of the people we counsel reflect problems in this matter, we know a great majority of others who do not need counseling; their occasional comments and visible treatment of each other betoken a very fulfilling love life. Because most Christians do not have an obsession with sex, they do not need dirty stories, pornography, or artificial stimuli to motivate them toward each other. They simply continue year after year enjoying their love, as God intended they should. A number of factors make us confident that believers do enjoy happier sexual relations. A Christian’s relationship with God produces a greater capacity for expressing and receiving love than is possible for a non-Christian. The fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc.—Gal. 5: 22–23) removes the specter of resentment and bitterness that devastates an exciting bedroom life. In addition, people who genuinely love each other will strive harder to please one another, become better informed, and treat each other more unselfishly. This will naturally enrich their love life. Those who believe the distorted notion that “Victorian ideas” about sex were spawned in Christian circles are totally misinformed. In actuality, the “Victorian morality” was not shaped by enlightened Bible students but became a cultural reaction in a day of biblical ignorance. Thus Christianity cannot be blamed for the sexual barrenness of many couples due to the Victorian influence, for the Bible has always viewed married love as a sacred and vital part of a happy marriage. A primary consideration in writing this book was to take a sex survey to prove or disprove once and for all our thesis that Christians maintain a higher enjoyment level in the intimacy of their love life than the population in general. Since we had access to the names of thousands of couples from around the country who have attended our Family Life Seminars, we wrote them telling about our survey and asking them to return a card if they would be willing to respond to such a frank and intimate test. We acknowledged that the results would be computerized for use in doing the needed research for this book. Twenty-three hundred couples volunteered to take the survey, but the final number that were completed and returned totaled 3,377—1,705 women and 1,672 men. It was a gargantuan job to prepare the responses. When the survey was coded and fed into a computer, we finally received sixteen pounds of data on large computer sheets. Now for the first time we possessed factual information about the intimate lives of a sufficient number of Christians to establish a general norm. We were delighted with the results, not only because they confirmed our assumption, but because they provided valuable information that will probably be used by researchers in this field for years to come. While we were compiling the data for this chapter, Redbook magazine published their survey of 100,000 women who took a similar test. Doubtless, theirs is the largest ever compiled on this subject, and it too confirms that “the strongly religious woman seems to be even more responsive than other women her age.” 1 Their conclusion was extremely interesting: “A positive religious approach to sexual pleasure, which links sex and marital fulfillment, is likely to have considerable effect on women for whom religious authority still serves as a sanctioning force in life.” 2 The reason is clear—if a woman really understands the biblical teachings on lovemaking, she will suffer few inhibitions and openly enjoy her husband’s expressions of love. In comparing our survey with that of Redbook, we can draw many interesting conclusions. The Redbook survey was derived from both “religious and nonreligious” people, but we had almost no “non-religious” surveys with which to compare our data until theirs was published. Ninety-eight percent of those who took our survey profess to be born-again Christians. Those labeled “strongly religious” by Redbook include 20 percent Catholics and 80 percent Protestants, but there is no way to determine how many of these had experienced a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. The women in our survey reported a 10 percent higher degree of sexual enjoyment, greater frequency in lovemaking experiences per month, and a more active part in coitus than their “strongly religious” counterparts, likewise scoring much higher in these same areas than the average “nonreligious” women in the Redbook survey. After carefully studying the first Redbook article, we discovered that their findings stood in basic agreement with our own. The only variations were percentages that can be explained by the religious difference between their mixed clientele and our predominantly Christian group. On the strength of these two surveys we now feel even more confident that our original presupposition is true—that Christians do enjoy the sublimities of the act of marriage more than others in our culture—but we invite you to study the results of the following questions taken from our survey and see for yourself. At the end we will offer a few comparisons and analyses relevant to various groups and the Redbook report. (We purposely deleted those questions that did not relate specifically to this subject.). The whole survey consisted of ninety-five questions regarding sexual involvement of both husbands and wives. Listed here are their comparative answers to some of the most relevant questions. These percentages will not always total 100 percent because some participants did not respond to every question…Based on a comparison of these three charts, it is reasonable to conclude that Christians are considerably more satisfied with their love life than non-Christians, and Spirit-filled Christians tend to record a somewhat higher degree of enjoyment than even the average believer. This should not come as a surprise, however, since the first fruit of the Spirit is “love.” The more love an individual has from God to give to his partner, the more fulfillment he will give and receive in marriage. Hopefully these statistical facts will cause both the Christian community and secular counselors to recognize that a person’s relationship with God will improve his relationship with other people, beginning with his partner.” (Tim & Beverly LaHaye, The Act of Marriage: The Beauty of Sexual Love, 3297-3479 (Kindle Edition): Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan)

The Bible provides at least three purposes that God designed for sex.

The first is what we may rightly term recreation. Sex was designed to be a gift for husband and wife to enjoy within the confines of marriage. Several texts reflect this truth.

Proverbs 5:15-19-Drink water from your own cistern, And running water from your own well. 16  Should your fountains be dispersed abroad, Streams of water in the streets? 17  Let them be only your own, And not for strangers with you. 18  Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice with the wife of your youth. 19  As a loving deer and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; And always be enraptured with her love.

Here, the wise man encourages his sons to honor the boundaries of marriage instead of seeking sexual pleasure from an immoral woman. Indeed, this passage in Proverbs contains many images which point to the blessings of sexual activity within the God-ordained marriage.

“At this point, the father switches strategy. He moves from warning about wicked behavior to encouraging proper behavior in the context of sexuality. Again, the idea seems to be that the best defense against the wiles of the “strange” woman is a vital relationship with one’s proper sexual partner, the wife. The OT does not discourage sexual relations for a moment; it just puts it in its proper context—heterosexual marriage. The father uses tasteful but clear metaphors to urge his son toward a vital sexual relationship with the wife of his youth. He urges his son to drink water from his own well and gushing water from his own cistern. These highly erotic images refer to the wife.[ 2] As we can see from the ancient Near East as well as Song 4: 10–15 and from the logic of the comparison, these are references to a woman’s vagina.[ 3] So in v. 15 the father advises his son to find sexual fulfillment with his own wife rather than another woman. Then in the next verse (v. 16) the father uses similar imagery to refer to male sexuality. It is true that “fountain” is used in Song 4: 10–15 to refer to the woman, but the fact that a fountain (as opposed to a well) emits its waters makes it a suitable comparison with male ejaculation. The father tells the son that sexual relations are proper to the home, not to the outside world (with women outside the household). His sexual vitality should be spent on his wife, not on others (v. 17). Verse 18 pronounces a blessing on the son’s “spring” (mĕqôr). A spring, like a fountain and unlike a well or a cistern, suggests the emission of waters, and so might be an image of male ejaculation. On the other hand, elsewhere in the Bible “spring” metaphorically points to the female vagina.[ 4] Furthermore, the parallel in colon 2 is with the “wife of your youth.” Though there is this ambiguity,[ 5] the gist of the verse is clear. It is a blessing on a proper relationship with his wife. A blessing conveys the wish for happiness and life. It would likely include the hope both for sexual pleasure and for progeny. Verse 19 further characterizes the wife of his youth in terms that are erotic and reminiscent of the Song of Songs. In the latter, however, it is the male term “gazelle” (Song 2: 9, 17; 8: 14) that is used rather than the female term. However, the image conveys sleekness and smoothness, as does ibex,[ 6] the parallel. The sensuous description of the wife continues with the wish that the son might be intoxicated by her breasts and inebriated by her love. The language of intoxication is suggested also in the Song of Songs, where the woman claims that the man’s “love is better than wine” (4: 10). Love and lovemaking make one lightheaded, similar to the effects of drinking wine. Verse 20 makes the father’s point most pointedly. In the light of the delights of one’s wife, why should the son pursue sexual pleasure in the arms of another, considering all the potential dangers? However, the father has saved his most powerful argument for last. Thus far he has warned concerning quite human dangers. He has told his son that a liaison with another woman looks good but has bitter consequences. The relationship leads to death, not life. It saps strength and vitality and resources. But the ultimate motivation for not entering into an illicit relationship is because “the eyes of Yahweh are on the paths of humans, observing all their courses.” God is watching, and so the punishments of vv. 22–23 (ultimately death) are not a matter of chance, but certainty; the implication is that no matter what particular form the punishment might take, God will assure that it will happen. The sin of the adulterers will come back and harm them (v. 22). If they are not inebriated by the love of their wife, then they will be inebriated by their own stupidity, and that will result in their death.” (Tremper Longman III, Proverbs (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms), 161-163 (Kindle Edition): Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic)

Another reason that God had in the design of sex was procreation. Indeed, God’s design for sexuality within humanity includes the purpose of bringing forth children.

Genesis 1:28-Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Psalm 127:1-5-Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. 2  It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep. 3  Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. 4  Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. 5  Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

The fact that marriage and God-designed sexuality has procreation as one of its’ basic foundations logically rules out homosexual marriage in God’s design.

Finally, another purpose of sexuality that God has made clear in Scripture is anticipation. Marriage and sexual expression complement each other in several ways regarding anticipation. Those who are unmarried are counseled to patiently anticipate marriage before engaging in sexual activity. This is a constant theme in the Song of Solomon.

Song Of Solomon 2:7-I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the does of the field, Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases.

Song Of Solomon 3:5-I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the does of the field, Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases.

Song Of Solomon 8:4-I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases.

Again, sexual union anticipates a man and a woman becoming more fully what God intends for humanity. Masculinity and femininity are actualized together in the two becoming “one flesh.”

Genesis 2:23-25-And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” 24  Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25  And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

One author has written:

“There are three things that are too amazing for me, four that I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a snake on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a maiden. (Prov. 30: 18–19) Agur son of Jakeh is onto something here. There is something mythic in the way a man is with a woman. Our sexuality offers a parable of amazing depth when it comes to being masculine and feminine. The man comes to offer his strength and the woman invites the man into herself, an act that requires courage and vulnerability and selflessness for both of them. Notice first that if the man will not rise to the occasion, nothing will happen. He must move; his strength must swell before he can enter her. But neither will the love consummate unless the woman opens herself in stunning vulnerability. When both are living as they were meant to live, the man enters his woman and offers her his strength. He spills himself there, in her, for her; she draws him in, embraces and envelopes him. When all is over he is spent; but ah, what a sweet death it is. And that is how life is created. The beauty of a woman arouses a man to play the man; the strength of a man, offered tenderly to his woman, allows her to be beautiful; it brings life to her and to many. This is far, far more than sex and orgasm. It is a reality that extends to every aspect of our lives. When a man withholds himself from his woman, he leaves her without the life only he can bring.” (John Eldredge, Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul, 184-185 (Kindle Edition): Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers)

Yet there is another aspect of anticipation here that needs to be considered. Sexual union, according to the Scriptures, is an amazing picture of intimacy with God that will be fully experienced in Heaven by His people.

Ephesians 5:22-32-Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23  For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24  Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26  that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27  that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28  So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30  For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31  “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” 32  This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

This picture that Paul paints for Christians points to an amazing truth portrayed in the image of husband and wife: anticipation of being one with Christ and each other. This reminds us also of the need for marriage being the boundary of sex for humanity: for the covenant of marriage reflects the covenant of Christ and His church.

Lutzer has well noted:

“Then comes the account of Adam and Eve’s marriage. “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: 24–25). That word one should catch our attention. Marriage brings a unity that is unlike anything else on this earth; indeed, it represents a unity found only in heaven—in God Himself! That Hebrew word for one is found elsewhere in the Old Testament, specifically in the words, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6: 4). Yes, the same Hebrew word for one (ehad) is used in the verse quoted above, “and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2: 24, italics added). In other words, marriage is to represent the plurality and unity of God in the Trinity. Just as it is unthinkable that members of the Trinity would operate as separate entities, so a husband and wife should operate together with diversity within unity. The bond that has been formed involves the total personality of each partner. To quote the words of theologian Walter Brueggemann, “Humanity in community is male and female. And one is the full image of God alone.” 1 To put it clearly, the original purpose of marriage was to mirror God!” (Erwin W. Lutzer, The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage: 6 Things You Need to Know About What’s Really at Stake, 677-693 (Kindle Edition): Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers)

May we continue to honor the teaching of God’s Word regarding sexuality.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

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