Part III: God’s Values and Design for Sex, Sexuality & Relationships

Exemple

Part III: God’s Values and Design for Sex, Sexuality & Relationships

N.B. This article has been written with a careful progression of thought and should be read in the context of two previous articles. For a copy of part 1&2 please contact the church office)

In Part I and II, we established that there are 2 major ways people view and determine life and value: the Human view  (Secular Human view) and the Biblical Christian view.

As Christians we believe that God has revealed himself to humans and that the record of that revelation has been preserved and passed onto us through the Bible. God’s ultimate revelation of Himself (who He is and what He thinks) was through His Son Jesus Christ.

In Part 2 we established that God has revealed his universal and specific will and purpose for people in the bible.

In Part 3 of our series we will answer the question, what does the bible reveal about God’s universal values and design for sexuality and relationships?

Before we seek to define God’s universal value and design for sexuality and relationships we must begin by looking at how God designed humans before sin entered the world and humans decided to create and live by their own values and design.

In the beginning

a) The first relationship was between God and man/woman.

God created us; male and female He created us in his own image … with the express purpose of blessing us (Genesis 1:27-30).

God created us male and female to know Him, to work with Him and to work under His rule (His values and design): this was His blessing. The relationship between God and humans in the beginning was pretty simple. Adam and Eve were placed in a garden and could eat everything in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God’s design for their lives was to be fruitful, increase, fill, multiply and subdue the rest of the earth. That was it. Simple.

This was not just a start up program. Genesis 1-2 reveals the fundamental relationship God wants to have with every human. Nothing has changed in his value of this relationship.

However the bible describes anything that falls short of the mark of God’s perfect design for humans as “sin”. In fact the Greek word used throughout the New Testament for  ”sin” – hamartia – literally means “to miss the mark”, or as we might put it today… to miss the whole point.

God has always wanted the very best for every human because He made us. In fact God so loved every human He sent His only Son to die in order to restore a relationship that had been broken by humans ongoing rejection of His values and design.

b) The second relationship was between a Man and Woman.

Men and women were designed by God to become one flesh. God created Eve out of Adam. She was literally taken out of his bone. When Adam “laid with Eve” they became “one flesh” and two became one again, and two made another human.

The concept of one flesh could easily be seen just as an old way of saying “having sex”. But it meant far more. Throughout the bible becoming one flesh was the sign or seal of a lifelong blood covenant between God, man and woman. God’s intention was for this relationship to be lifelong and under his blessing and protection.

“A man shall leave his mother and father and they shall become one flesh.” It was the start of a new family. A blood covenant was sealed with blood and was to be for the remainder of their life. It was to be broken only by death.  That is why most wedding vows say, “Till death do we part.”

The Old Testament

Later God reinforced this lifelong exclusive covenant between God, man and woman when he gave Israel his commandments. In the commandments to Israel, He made it clear that breaking the marriage covenant before death was not in His design. “You shall not commit adultery.” In fact for Israel, people caught in adultery were to be stoned. (This was still practiced in the time of Jesus where a woman caught in adultery was brought to him to make a judgment according to the law.) Obviously this reveals just how seriously God sees the covenant entered into by men and women. Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery. Nor did he ignore the fact that she had sinned. His parting words to her were “go and sin no more” (John 8:3-11).

The New Testament

Jesus’ statement on marriage reveals that he held the universal value and design of the sanctity of marriage covenant between God, man and woman.

Consider one such passage in Matthew 19. In verses 4-6, Jesus determines the content, duration, and purpose of marriage. In this passage, Jesus responds to a question about divorce with the following: “Haven’t you read… that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’… 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.”

In this one passage, Jesus affirms God’s value and design for marriage by stating that it is man and woman who enter into it.

By insisting only one man and one woman enter a marriage, Jesus affirms the exclusivity of marriage where two marital partners are to be sexually bound and exclusive to one another.

When Jesus insists that marriage is for life, he affirms the duration of marriage, which is permanent.

Finally, by echoing the “one flesh” union of Genesis 2, Jesus is putting the purpose of marriage on full display: that men and women would unite comprehensively together in marriage through a physical, spiritual, and emotional bond.

Being complementary, exclusive and permanent—these are the values and design of marriage that see a man and woman come together as one.

These principles were not just for the people of the Old Testament. The same principles are reinforced throughout the whole of the New Testament. For example: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral (Hebrews 13:4).

There’s God’s value and design – the marriage bed undefiled – on the one hand, and sexual immorality (in all its forms) on the other. One is honorable, the other will be judged.

Here it is again even more strongly:

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality… The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7)

The Apostle Paul wrote this particular passage to a society not unlike the one in which we live today. Thessalonica was a racy city – sexual immorality was rife and was considered quite normal. Other religions had temple prostitutes (both male and female) and the immorality that they practiced (both heterosexual and homosexual) was an intrinsic part of their lifestyle.

What Paul was writing 2,000 years ago to the Thessalonian Church, was no less controversial in society at large back then, and the same area remains an issue in the church and our society today.

Summary

These are just a few passages from scripture that you will find from beginning to end that reveal God’s clear value and design for sexuality and relationships. They are meant to be within the relationship of a covenant between a man and woman for the whole of their life.

Sexual relationships outside of this covenant are not condoned or supported by God anywhere in the bible. You will not find any direct teaching or indirect stories that support any form of sexual relationship other than a covenant relationship between a man and a woman. (N.B. Some have tried to make a case that David and Jonathan had an intimate homosexual relationship but this is reading between the lines and sexualizing a deep friendship held between two men. For David to have had such a relationship would have violated the universal and specific directions God had revealed to Israel. The very directions David lived to know and do.)

In part 4 of God’s Values and Design for Sex, Sexuality & Relationships we will look further at what the bible describes (from beginning to end) as God’s design and intention for humans in the area of sexuality and relationships.