Sex Morals and Immorality
Two articles, “Sex, Morals and Immorality” by Dr. George Mair, B.M. Ch.B. (Hons) C.R.C.S.(C), F.R.C.S.(Ed) reflect the deep concern of a Christian Specialist in General Surgery for the young and inexperienced. He has lectured on drugs and sex to gatherings throughout the Toronto, Ontario area. We are pleased to publish some of his words of counsel and warning.
We live in a sex-mad world, in which sex is worshipped and exploited until the word itself — to a Christian — has become synonymous with evil. Yet God created sex. Though the word itself is not found in the Bible, He wrote the blueprints of sex into man’s being and, although the main purpose was the continuance of the race, it was also obviously God’s purpose that sex itself would bring pleasure to His creatures.
At this point three questions arise in my mind.
1. How did sex — God’s natural creation — become the unnatural monster it is today?
2. What principles has God given us in Scripture for the control of sex?
3. What harmful effects follow the disregarding of these principles (i.e. immorality)? Let’s consider these questions in turn.
Part 1 will deal with the first two — Part 2 with Immorality itself.
For symbolic reasons God created two sexes. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him, male and female created He them” (Gen. 2 v 27). Man is incomplete as an image of God without woman. Because of the inadequacies of our language we call God, God, and we think of Him as a Father. Notwithstanding God often reveals Himself in the Scripture in feminine terms. “Can a woman forget her suckling child?, they may forget, yet will not I forget thee” (Isa. 49 v 15). He often reveals Himself in the picture of a brooding bird, in creation, in prophecy (Isa. 31 v 5), in poetry (Ps. 91 v 4). Jesus Himself used this picture when He wept over Jerusalem, “How oft would I have gathered thy children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings.” But perhaps the most conclusive example is when God introduced Himself to Abraham in Genesis 17 as El Shaddai — God of the Breast. It takes both the masculine and feminine of our God-given properties to properly represent the image of God.
For psychological reasons God made two sexes. “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a help meet for him” (Gen. 2 v 18). Notice he took Eve from Adam’s side to be a companion. He didn’t take her from Adam’s head to lord it over him nor from his feet to be his slave. To ensure a perfect companionship God made them mutually attractive and complimentary: Man as the thinker and planner, strong to work and provide and protect. Woman as kind, patient, tender, able to dry your tears, kiss away your pain and to instill love.
For phsyical reasons God made two sexes. Physical union is essential to continue the race and God blessed it, “And God blessed them and God said unto them, be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1 v 26). So God built into both the male and female body a sexual appetite and strong physical attraction — like the laws of magnetism “unlike poles attract.” “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24). But this union, in marriage, to produce children was to endure to raise them: “Did God make only one? (wife, for Adam). Had He no residue of the spirit? So why one? That he might raise a Godly seed. Therefore let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth” (Mal. 2:15).
So God designed these properties we now find so dangerously explosive. Our first parents had no difficulty in managing them in the beginning. “They were both naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed” (Gen. 2 v 25). Why? Because man was a spiritual being. Spirit and body were balanced with the spirit in control and sex was just one of several functions. But man sinned and died spiritually and the balance was lost, and the body (Scripture calls it the flesh) became too powerful, especially the sex impulses. Adam immediately realized that for he said in Genesis 3:10, “I was afraid because I was naked and hid myself,” and God verified the fact of the imbalance in Genesis 3:21, “For the Lord God made coats of skin and clothed them.” God realized how easily our sexual passions may be stimulated and get out of control so he tuned down the stimulus. Modern fashions are designed to tune it up again to a blaring intensity. I wonder if many of the women who wear them realize the full effect they may have.
Since that time, particularly in our age, man has further despised the spiritual and stressed the phsyical and material. As with Dr. Jeckel and Mr. Hyde, the continuous cultivation of these elements of our nature has led to them so often escaping from our control till they can even dominate some of our individual lives and they certainly seem to dominate our entire culture.
Scriptural Control of Sex
Within marriage natural sexual activity is honourable. “Marriage is honourable in all and the bed undefiled but whoremongers and adulterers, God will judge” (Heb. 13 v 4). It is true that Paul did not feel that it would be better for young Christian workers to remain unmarried (as he was), but surely this was for practical reasons. Paul could never have been as effective a missionary if he had had to share his energies with a wife and family. On the other hand, he strongly condemned enforced celibacy — abstinence enforced as a ritual: “Some shall depart from the faith, … Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God bath created to be received with thanksgiving of them who believe and know the truth” (1 Tim. 4: 1-3).
Outside marriage sexual activity is forbidden. The seventh commandment is specific, “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” It may surprise some adults, but some young people regard adultery only as a sin of married people. The reason for this is probably that in modern legal English, adultery has come to mean just that and fornication is the general word used especially for the sin in unmarried people. However, the original Hebrew word used is “naaph,” which I believe did not have that special sense; in fact, even today the Hebrew slang for a prostitute in general is “naafke.” Of course, Scripture itself amplifies that general commandment by giving more detail in both the Old and the New Testaments. In the Old Testament, the Levitical Law details every possible sexual sin whether between married or unmarried people, whether the unlawful use of natural sexual activity or unnatural sexual activity. In fact, Leviticus 18 emphasized that this gross immorality was the “iniquity of the Amorites” (Gen. 1516), and it was because of this that the land was defiled (Lev. 18 v 25). Furthermore, it was because of this, when the time was ripe and the “iniquity of the Amorites was full,” that the very land itself “vomited out her inhabitants” and “God visited the iniquity thereof upon it.”
Liberal theologians criticize the Old Testament account of God’s command to exterminate the Canaanites. They feel it is contrary to the New Testament revelation of a God of Love. But not only is God a God of love, but also a God of judgment. His order therefore to destroy the Canaanites was very practical. He wanted to avoid the gross sexual contamination of Israel. It was because Israel failed to carry out the command that the contamination occurred. When Israel went “awhoring after strange Gods,” this was more than a figure of speech. In Numbers 25, the people did eat, and bowed down to Moab’s gods. “And Israel joined himself unto the Baal of Peor; and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel.” The term “joined himself” is related to the Hebrew noun “Isemed” meaning a couple. It is possible that they pared off — an Israelite with a Moabitess as part of the religious ceremony.
The Canaanite religious system itself was corrupt, involving the worship of a god like Baal (god of fertility) and a goddess like Astarte (goddess of sex), who was a prostitute. It contained the practice of sacred prostitution for which special chambers were set apart for the “kedeshim” (male prostitutes) and “kedeshoth” (sacred harlots). As we have seen, it also involved the general population in immorality as a religious observance. The sexual act as representing fertility was linked to agricultural fertility. No wonder the land “vomited out its inhabitants.” The New Testament also very specifically prohibits sexual activity outside the marriage bond — even for engaged couples — a point which young people often bring up. To quote verse 9 of 1 Corinthians 7, again a verse which annoys the liberal theologians, but in which Paul’s meaning is very clear, Paul says to the unmarried, “If they cannot contain, let them marry. It is better to marry than to burn.”