We've been focusing on the sanctity of marriage as it relates to the sanctity of human life. This Musing follows up on that theme and is a preview of our Powered by God curriculum that comes out in June. This is taken from the teacher preparation portion of lesson 10 and demonstrates how the sanctity of human life and the sanctity of marriage are intertwined:
Some people look to the animals for clues about human sexuality. They see that some animals reproduce asexually. Other creatures may attempt to mate with the same sex. Still others may switch genders in the course of their development.
Is this a model or pattern for humans? Do we take from this information that homosexuality or bi-sexuality is normal? Did God create animals this way, or have they deviated from His plan? (One might also ask whether it's progress or regress to behave like animals?)
First of all, animals are amoral. Nowhere in the Bible is an animal spoken of as being moral or immoral, evil or good. Animals just are, and their behaviors are instinctual. They don’t have a choice about how they act. Therefore we can conclude that their sexual or reproductive activities are amoral. They are as God planned them. As far as we know, man’s rebellion did not change the way various kinds of animals reproduce, just as it did not fundamentally change the way human beings procreate.
Furthermore, patterning our lives after animals is dangerous. It’s an idea that flows from the evolutionary belief that mankind is just a higher or “more evolved” form of animal, that we are part of the animal kingdom. As we have seen, the Bible clearly teaches that human beings were created by God to bear His image, and to exercise dominion over animals and the rest of creation. No animal was given that distinction.
Also, when God created the animals, He did not specify they would be male and female (unlike what He said about the creation of human beings), only that they would reproduce after their kind (Cf. Genesis 1:21-28). We must conclude that whatever way animals reproduce, whatever behaviors they display, it is as a result of God’s plan for them.
If God planned for animals to reproduce asexually, to change genders, or to mate with more than one partner, does that mean it is His plan for us, too? No; we were created male and female. Human procreation is meant to be between male and female. In it’s pure form (within marriage), human sexuality reflects God’s image.
Even though we now have all sorts of techniques for procreating in test tubes and laboratories, it still requires male and female gametes (egg and sperm). Even if a homosexual couple “has children” (through surrogacy or adoption), the child is still the result of a union between male and female gametes.
Finally, human beings are moral creatures. Our actions are described as being either moral or immoral, good or evil. In the Bible, God is very specific about the sexual practices that are moral or immoral.
- God brought the first heterosexual couple together in marriage (Genesis 2:22-24).
- Jesus blessed the wedding at Cana with His gift of good wine (John 2).
- Jesus differentiated between cohabitation and marriage in His conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:16-18). Note: She was of another culture, yet he held her to the biblical pattern for marriage.
- Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to “go and sin no more” (John 8).
- The sexual practices that God condemns are delineated in these Old Testament passages: Genesis 19; Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18:6-24, 20:10-21; Deuteronomy 22:13-30; 1 Kings 22:46. They include rape, sodomy, adultery (pre- or extra-marital relations), prostitution, and incest. These actions were associated with the pagan cultures that the Israelites replaced in the Promised Land.
- Old Testament prohibitions of sexual immorality are reiterated in numerous New Testament passages: Romans 1:26-27; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-5; 1 Timothy 1:9-10; Jude 7.
- The New Testament upholds sexual purity as the standard for all believers: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 and 6:9-20; 2 Thessalonians 4:1-7.
- God exacted severe punishment for sexual immorality committed by the ancient Israelites in conjunction with idolatry in Numbers 25:1-9. Paul uses the incident as a warning to Corinthian believers (1 Corinthians 10:8). A final warning is found in Revelation 21:8 (NKJV) – “The sexually immoral . . . shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
- Hebrews 13:4 (NASV) says, “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.”
From this preponderance of biblical evidence, we conclude that sexual sin is any sexual act outside the marriage of one woman and one man.