The Biblical account of the Creation is painted first in broad strokes. The first few chapters of Genesis then fill in the details as we make successive passes through the account. A careful chronological ordering of the creation of man gives us this synopsis: God created man in His image, male and female. He put them in a garden where they were naked and unashamed and told them to procreate, and then God pronounced it good. In my Christian experience I have wanted to argue many a point with God; I have always cheerfully conceded this one. James tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father of Lights and sex is clearly such a gift. But our first parents were expelled from that garden and in the curse God pronounced over Adam we are told that despite our careful and diligent cultivation we are as likely to harvest thorns as good fruit.
Nowhere is this more true than in the cultivation of our most important and profound relationships. Adam knew Eve and she bore him Cain. We are commanded to know God. The same Hebrew verb is used in both instances. It speaks of a profound and intimate knowledge based on trust and continued companionship that surpasses all other relationships and must be protected from outside distractions and entanglements.
- Genesis Chapters 1 through 3
- 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
- 1 Corinthians 15:35-49
- Acts 17:32
- John 1:14
The Biblical commands to possess our bodies in holiness arise from the need to cultivate and protect such a relationship and are intended for our good. The Bible is black and white here. Those who are looking for gray areas find at best a very dark charcoal. Many critics of Biblical Christianity see it as anti-body. Nothing could be further from the truth. Paul in his address on Mars Hill in Acts 17 had the respectful interest of the Athenian philosophers until he mentioned the resurrection of the body when his suddenly derisive audience began to leave in droves. And if the sentence that declares the importance and high honor God gives to our bodies uses Creation as its subject and our bodily resurrection as its predicate, it is punctuated with the exclamation point of the Incarnation. In becoming flesh and redeeming it on the cross God gives our bodies the highest honor. It is precisely because our bodies are so important to God that we should treat them with honor and dignity. Our God-given desires only find their true fulfillment in accordance with God’s purposes.
We single adults who are not tempted on occasion, are not sometimes driven to distraction, are not at times tormented by lusts of the flesh, need to know that there are people trained and certified in CPR and should go find one of them immediately. The rest of us need to remind ourselves to trust that God is aware of our needs and wants the very best for us. Let us to resolve to know Him first and trust Him to allow us the opportunity to know someone else in His perfect timing. In the mean time He gives us the power to resist temptation.
Further study: 1. Philippians 4:6-8 Making a conscious and deliberate effort to think God’s thoughts takes the edge off our anxiety. 2. Ephesians 5:19-33 Mutual submission defines the Christian relationship between men and women. Each places the other’s interests first. They do not exist to fulfill our needs.
Ken Bridge is a former policeman and pastor who lives in Northern Virginia.