How does the Bible answer the question “What is sex for?” The first three answers come from the first two chapters of the book of Genesis:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.” (Genesis 1:27-28)
When God brought to the man the woman he had made, “the man said, ‘This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man.’ Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother
and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:23-24)
These four verses give us the context and the purpose of sex. Even if these were the only references we had, we would have enough:
- Sex tells us something about God, about his nature and his character.When God created us, he created us as sexual beings, male and female. We are alike in that we are both human beings, but we are also different as men and women. Just as the three persons of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) are distinct but in perfect union, so as male and female we are distinct but are called in marriage to be one. As Jesus longs to be one with the Father, so male and female long to be one and sexual intercourse is the ultimate expression of that oneness.
- Sex is for producing children. God told us to “be fruitful”. And a natural result of sexual intercourse can be “a little us”, the product of our union.
- Sex is part of the process of joining a man and a woman in marriage. A man leaves his father and his mother (his biological family), holds fast to his wife (establishes a new family), and in becoming one flesh with her (their bodies are joined in sexual intercourse) the marriage is consummated – made complete.
But the Bible also tells us that:
- Sex is an expression of love. Sexual intimacy is the most intimate, physical, and expressive way of saying “I love you.” The Song of Songs is about an intense love and the expression of that love physically.
- Sex is for pleasure. Abimelech saw Isaac fondling his wife Rebekah (Genesis 26:8). The author of Proverbs writes of erotic zones of the female body and of being “intoxicated” with love (Proverbs 5:18-19).
- Sex is to satisfy sexual needs. The Apostle Paul recognized sexual desire. He encouraged each man to “have his own wife and each woman her own husband” to guard against sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 7:2). He charged husbands and wives to “not deprive one another” so as to avoid temptation (1 Corinthians 7:5).
- Sex is to reflect, and to proclaim, the faithfulness of Christ to the church. The Apostle Paul compares the “one flesh” relationship of a husband and wife to the relationship of Christ to his body, the church (Ephesians 5:31-32). When a man and a woman unite sexually with only one other, and remain faithful to that one other, they are a picture to the world of Christ and the church. Sex before marriage and infidelity within marriage deprive the world of this witness.
What is sex for? The world gets some of it right. But the part we get wrong, engaging in sex outside of marriage, ignores the purpose for which God gave us the gift of sex and effectively says “My way, not yours, is best.”
As Christians, is that what we want to do?
To be continued . . .