Seeing as how I’m daring to talk about sex on Sunday, it seems a good question – is sex holy, fleshly, or maybe even a necessary evil? I’ve actually had folks tell me, dead serious, sex was created by Satan after the fall. I’ve also heard, far more often, that sexuality and spirituality are somehow conversely related – the more you feel or act on one, the less you feel or act on the other.
If you’ve read me for very long at all you know I don’t agree with these ideas. These concepts can’t be found in the Bible; in point of fact, the Bible is very sex positive – as long as the sex is in marriage.
Our negative “Christian” ideas about sex have old, deep roots. If you read what Paul was saying to certain groups, it becomes clear he was defending truth against a heresy know as Gnosticism. Gnostics made a total separation of the physical and the spiritual, with the first being inherently evil (God’s creation is evil?) and the second being inherently good. Some Gnostic groups felt one became more spiritual by denying the body – with sex being very high on the list of things to avoid – even in marriage! (Paul was arguing against these folks in 1 Cor 7.) Other groups concluded the body was hopeless, and what it did was therefore meaningless, meaning one could get drunk, have sex with anyone (or everyone) and so on. (As you read the Bible you can see where Paul took on these folks too.) Of course both sides missed the truth that sex is not evil.
Our Jewish forefathers had a much different view of sexuality. They had a saying “Sex is a blessing, and sex on the Sabbath is a double blessing.” So if one was married, some of their “time off” on the Sabbath was best spent having sex! The Jews also believed women to have a very strong sex drive – not what we tend to think. My guess is in a sex positive, protective society, most women did have a good strong drive. The Jews took sexually satisfying a wife very seriously: while a woman could not divorce her husband, civil law allowed the courts to force the husband to divorce his wife is he did not “give her enough”. Beyond this, the Rabbis had a list of how often a man owed his wife sex based on his job. Basically, if he was home every night, he was expected to have sex every night that sex was not prohibited because of menstruation.
It’s sad the church has made one of God’s greatest gifts into something to be ashamed of. In the 12 years I have been teaching on this, I have seen a significant change – may we continue to throw off the doctrines of man and the lies of devils and find God’s truth about sex in marriage.