Human Intimacy
All scriptural references are from the World English Bible unless otherwise noted

 

Although this can be an uncomfortable topic for many people it is an issue that we all face. This chapter is written with the Biblical view that the nature of human sexual activity is primarily for reproductive purposes as well as the expression of love between a married couple. This chapter will address all forms of human sexuality spoken of in the Bible:

ADULTERY

Old Testament Scripture clearly states that adulterous fornication was a crime punishable by death (Leviticus 20:10-12). Later in New Testament Scripture it clearly states that those involved in adultery will not inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9, Hebrews 13:4). The New Testament also states that a divorced person commits adultery if he or she remarries after divorcing for reasons other than infidelity (Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:9, Romans 7:1-3). Jesus Christ taught that the act of persistently fantasizing about adulterous liaisons is also regarded as adultery (Matthew 5:27-28). Kings and rulers were threatened with punishment from God for taking the wives of other men (Genesis 12:10-20, Genesis 20:1-7, Genesis 26:7-11, 2 Samuel 12:7-12). Adultery is a form of fornication (Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9).

Now, just because infidelity is the only acceptable reason for divorce doesn't mean that a spouse should scheme to commit adultery as a means of getting a divorce. Keep in mind that God will not receive a man who deals treacherously with his wife (Malachi 2:13-16) and that infidelity on either spouse's side will never be ignored by God (Proverbs 5:15-23, 6:27-33).

Are you currently under temptation to commit adultery with someone else? All married people face this situation at one time or another -- there's no shame in admitting it. HOWEVER...undergoing a common temptation is no reason to succumb to it. Keep in mind that Scripture tells us that whenever we are tempted (any kind of temptation, not just adultery), God never lets it go beyond what we can handle by providing a "way out" for us to escape the temptation (1 Corinthians 10:12-13). It is simply up to YOU to allow yourself to see the exit and take it.

BESTIALITY

According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, “Bestiality” is defined as:

According to Webster: "unnatural connection with a beast." This form of vice was treated by the Mosaic law as something exceedingly loathsome and abhorrent, calling for extreme language in its description and rigorous measures in its punishment. Both the beast and the guilty human were to be put to death (Exodus 22:19; Leviticus 18:23; 20:15,16; Deuteronomy 27:21), in order, as the Talmud says, to obliterate all memory of the crime.

It is well known that “connection” in the Bible denotes sexual activity. It is equally known that sexual activity includes oral, anal, vaginal, or penile stimulation that results in sexual pleasure. To receive this stimulation from animals is something completely against nature, which is proven by the fact human-animal intercourse can not produce offspring, the primary function of intercourse. Sexual behaviour outside of what is natural is abhorrent to God (Leviticus 18:23, Romans 1:25-27, Jude 7). In the Jewish Law, both the person and the animal were to be put to death in cases of bestiality (Exodus 22:19, Leviticus 20:15-16).

Some people point to the “fact” that the New Testament part of the Bible does not specifically mention bestiality as a sin, and thus claim that it is no longer a sin in God's eyes. The huge flaw with this logic is that the New Testament does indeed speak of the sin of bestiality. In the Scripture at Jude 1:7 it states the following:

Jude 1:7

Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, having, in the same way as these, given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.

In the original scriptural Greek writing the word for “strange flesh” used in this Scripture is the Greek work “heteros”. According to Strong's Greek Lexicon the Greek word “heteros” is defined as follows:

Word #2087. heteros het'-er-os of uncertain affinity; (an-, the) other or different:--altered, else, next (day), one, (an-)other, some, strange.

In other words, the persons seeking “strange” flesh were actually seeking sexual pleasure with something different from, other than, or an alternative to human flesh. So if you read the verse in this light it could be rightly translated in the following ways:

...given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after other flesh

...given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after different flesh

...given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after another flesh

Since animals are the only kind of flesh that is “different” or “other” than human, this Bible verse is very much about denouncing the sin of bestiality.

BIRTH CONTROL

The Bible shows that God commanded humankind to fill the Earth (Genesis 1:27-28, Genesis 9:1), and that the bearing of children is a blessing from God (Genesis 30:23, Exodus 1:21, Psalms 113:9,Psalms 128:3).

Do these Scriptures obligate everyone to bear children?

NO, they do not.

Let me explain:

We all know that the producing of children requires sexual action in some way. In most cases it is simply regular sexual intercourse (as opposed to IVF, surrogacy, or donor methods) – which is fine for married couples, but it is the sin of fornication for unmarried people; a sin major enough to exclude them from the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Consequently, unmarried people must remain celibate (not sexually active) in order to remain right with God. AND...it is Biblical for an unmarried person to continually choose to remain unmarried, the Bible does not condemn such people (1 Corinthians 7:8, 26-27) even though it means these ones will not be adding children to the populace as the Genesis command requires. Ergo, God wants only married couples to do the procreating.

As for married couples, there is nothing in the Bible that speaks against the general use of birth control methods. The only law against birth control was in the case of "Brother-In-Law Marriage", in which a widowed woman in ancient times was to have a child with her brother-in-law in order to provide an heir to carry on the deceased man's inheritance (Genesis 38:9-10). Other than that, the Bible is completely silent on the topic of birth control. This is significant, for when something is an actual sin the Bible is sure to make it clear. I believe this because God is the personification of love (1 John 4:8) and it is ludicrous to think that He would refuse to tell us which actions are wrong. It is equally ludicrous to believe that a loving God would require couples to bear children even though they may not be able to handle it financially, emotionally, or physically. This is why I believe that the command to fill the Earth was given as a general requirement for mankind, not as a personal requirement for each and every couple.

That being said, now it would be good to look at the various methods of birth control we use, for some really are indeed unscriptural due to their abortifacient properties (abortifacient = aborting or terminating an existing pregnancy):

For starters, any method which is designed to terminate a pregnancy that is already in progress is unscriptural. This is because it is made clear that all life belongs to God (Psalms 24:1, Psalms 115:1, Ezekiel 18:4, 1 Corinthians 10:26), and God pays attention to unborn children (Exodus 21:22-23, Psalms 139:13-16).

For purposes of this chapter the word “pregnancy” is considered to have occurred at the moment of conception, instead of the medical definition which dictates that the pregnancy occurs at the moment of implantation.

(Conception = The moment sperm and egg meet, becoming a zygote. Implantation = Usually occurs a day or two after conception, when the zygote implants itself into the uterus)

Terminating an unborn child is in effect stealing something from God because, as stated earlier, God actually owns them. Many like to believe that these unborn children are not living beings, however...by the time a woman knows she's pregnant the embryo already has a heartbeat, a brain, a nervous system, and has been maturing. Non-living things simply do not have these attributes. The embryo is indeed alive and belongs to God. To knowingly take action to terminate a life that belongs to God is murder, a major sin (Exodus 20:13, Isaiah 1:15, Ezekiel 16:38, Romans 1:29-32). Therefore, birth control methods that are designed to be abortifacient should be avoided if you want to keep a clean standing before God (Romans 13:8-10).

Birth control methods which can be abortifacient include:

Intra-Uterine Devices (a.k.a. IUD): Although these devices usually prevent a pregnancy from even starting some IUD's fail and allow a pregnancy to happen anyway. When this occurs, the presence of the IUD prevents the new embryo from implanting, essentially killing it.

Emergency Contraception: These are medications a woman takes after she has unprotected sex or her birth control method fails (such as with a torn condom). Some of these medications prevent the sperm and egg from uniting, therefore preventing a pregnancy from getting started. Others, however, simply block the pregnancy from implanting into the uterus, essentially killing a pregnancy that is already in progress. Please be sure to speak to your doctor regarding your plan for emergency contraception.

The Mini Pill: Designed originally to prevent pregnancy, it can also prevent an accidental embryo from implanting, again killing it.

There are also other birth control methods that may interrupt a pregnancy in progress. I strongly recommend that you speak with your health care provider to learn more about how your birth control method works if you have any questions on the matter.

CELIBACY

Celibacy is the act of choosing to refrain from sexual activities for self-determined periods of time. What does the Bible say about such matters?

For married couples, abstinence between them must be done only by mutual agreement, and only for brief periods of time so as to not tempt either mate into committing adultery (1 Corinthians 7:5). Marriage is not designed for long term celibacy because the two are expected to be "one flesh" (Genesis 2:24, Deuteronomy 21:13, Ruth 4:13, Ephesians 5:31). Becoming "one flesh" means having sexual contact (1 Corinthians 6:16). Spouses are not entitled to withhold intimacy from their mates without the other mate's agreement (1 Corinthians 7:1-5). This means you cannot withhold sex from your spouse simply because you are trying to manipulate him or her in some way; withholding of sexual intimacy between married couples must be mutual. Of course if your mate has an illness, or is injured, over-tired, or emotionally unable, you wouldn't require him or her to sexually perform as that would be showing a lack of love, and one is supposed to love and respect one's spouse (Ephesians 5:33). In other words, there should be a healthy balance in the situation.

Celibacy for unmarried people, though is a must. This is because having a sexual relationship without marriage is fornication, which is a sin major enough to keep you out of the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Galatians 5:19-21, Colossians 3:5-6). Therefore, celibacy is a requirement for those who are unmarried and who choose to remain unmarried.

What about groups who require celibacy from their clergy? Scripture clearly shows that required celibacy is a restriction that causes unnecessary temptations (1 Corinthians 7:2, 1 Timothy 3:2). There is no passage in the Bible indicating that a clergy person should be required to remain unmarried. As a matter of fact the Bible makes it known that Saint Peter himself (a.k.a. “Simon”) had a mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-31), meaning he had a wife. And since the Bible indicates that husbands and wives should be sexually intimate (as discussed earlier) it can be safely assumed that Saint Peter was NOT a celibate leader of the church. Other early church leaders were also known to have their own wives, as indicated in such passages as such as Acts 18:2 compared with Romans 16:3-4, and 1 Corinthians 9:3-5.

Therefore, a person can choose to remain single and celibate, or choose to marry without being relegated to celibacy, regardless of one's position in the Christian congregation. (1 Corinthians 7:6-8). In other words, there is no sin in choosing celibacy, and no sin in choosing to marry.

COHABITATION

For purposes of this chapter the word “Cohabitation” is defined as sharing a home with someone with whom you are sexually active, though not legally married to.

In many cases such couples do not consider their living arrangement to be sinful because they feel they are in a “committed” relationship and are therefore doing nothing wrong. The reality, though, is that this living arrangement is unscriptural because sexual activity without marriage is fornication, and the Bible shows that fornication is a sin which is major enough to prevent them from inheriting the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Galatians 5:19-21, Colossians 3:5-6).

Some cohabiting couples avoid marriage, usually with the reasoning that “it's just a piece of paper, it doesn't change anything”. The reality, though, is that the “piece of paper” changes many things, depending upon the law of the land in which the couple resides. For example, in many places unmarried couples are not allowed access to each others health care information – this can be terribly distressing during emergencies. In many cases an unmarried person cannot be added to the other person's insurance policies. In many cases the children of unmarried unions are denied inheritances and other legal benefits. In many cases the unmarried couple are denied the tax benefits that married couples enjoy.

On a more personal level this there is this unspoken idea that cohabiting as an unmarried couple frees each of them to exit the relationship at anytime one decides – which means it is NOT a real “committed” relationship (because true commitment doesn't seek a convenient, perpetual exit). In other words, if a cohabiting couple really truly feel they are in a committed relationship then they should have no fear towards legally marrying as it would completely seal that commitment without question. In contrast, avoiding marriage is nothing other than taking what you want without giving an honest payment for it.

FORNICATION

Fornication is basically defined as sexual activity with someone whom you are not married to. Repeating what has already been said earlier in this chapter, the Bible makes it clear that fornication is a sin so wrong that it is enough to keep such ones out of God's Kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Galatians 5:19-21, Colossians 3:5-6, Hebrews 13:4) AND...it's important to remember that adultery is also a form of fornication (Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9). The Bible shows that fornication is in the same league as idolatry – which is another major sin (Acts 15:20,29, Acts 21:25). The Bible also makes it clear that our bodies weren't made for fornication (1 Corinthians 6:13) and that fornication is a sin against your own bodies (1 Corinthians 6:18). On top of all this, the Bible also states that it is better to marry than to continue committing fornication (1 Corinthians 7:1-9). Clearly, in spite of your feelings for another person fornication is a sin that seriously jeopardizes your relationship with God.

HOMOSEXUALITY

For purposes of simplicity I'm going to use the word homosexual to indicate both gay men and lesbian women.

Putting it bluntly, under the Jewish Law Covenant homosexual behaviour was worthy of a death sentence (Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13). This abhorrence didn't end when this covenant was replace with the New Covenant as shown in that homosexual activity remained condemned under the New Covenant also (1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:8-11). The Bible tells us that homosexual behaviour is unnatural (Romans 1:26-27).

Some people feel that it is natural for them to be attracted to the same gender and therefore it shouldn't be wrong. The point they are missing is that feeling “natural” about something doesn't automatically make that "something" acceptable to God. For example, it is not acceptable in God's eyes for a paedophile to act on his or her “natural” desire to have sexual relationships with children. It is also not acceptable in God's eyes for zoophiliac to act on his or her “natural” desire to seek sexual relationships with animals. Likewise, it is not acceptable to God for a homosexual couple to act on their “natural” desires.

Although a homosexual couple may still feel “natural” in their attraction, the functions of human bodies prove that homosexual relationships aren't the intended point: It takes a male and a female to create more people; no other style of human coupling can produce this result. In fact, the whole point of having two genders is for the procreation, an activity that God ordained (Genesis 1:27-28, Genesis 9:1). Each gender is a half, and together they make a whole; this is why God said that a heterosexual couple is “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). It is as though the male is one half of the puzzle, and the female is the other half and together they fit together perfectly to create a whole and complete item. In homosexual relationships, however, you have two of the same puzzle halves; and thus they are unable to create a complete item.

When a person has a desire to do something which is against God's original intentions that is the time to pray to overcome the desire. I'm not saying this will be an easy, overnight deal. Obviously, this can be extremely difficult, and such things will not be easy to overcome; however with much prayer and supplication to God, it can be managed.

For example, I personally know a man who lived a gay lifestyle for most of his young adult years. He eventually became a devout Christian and it has now been more than twenty years since his last homosexual encounter. Currently he has three children and is in a happy marriage with a lovely woman. Although he dearly loves his wife and children he did confide in me once that he sometimes misses some of his former “activities”. It is a struggle he will always deal with, but God keeps him mindful of one thing: If he were to cheat on his wife it would constitute marital unfaithfulness – something that would be a major sin regardless of the gender of the lover. Because this man does not want to be caught up in the sins of adultery and fornication he is able to keep his perspective on the situation and not fall into his old habits.

Granted, not everyone's situation will be the exact same, but the point is that if you rely on God to help you tame your struggle then He will give you the tools you need to help you maintain your integrity even if you have a lifelong struggle. I implore you to continue in prayer, even when it is a lifelong struggle. If you fall down, don't let discouragement take you; pick yourself back up and pray for forgiveness in Christ's blood.

INCEST

Incest is sexual activity between close blood relatives and can be, but isn't always, consensual.

According to the Jewish Law Covenant it was a violation of what is natural for a man to be with his father's wife or for a man to be with his daughter-in-law (Leviticus 20:11-12,15). This law extended to forbidding the taking of one's own mother or stepmother (Leviticus 18:7-8, Deuteronomy 22:30, Deuteronomy 27:20). Siblings were not allowed be intimate together either, whether full blooded or half siblings (Leviticus 18:9,11, Leviticus 20:17, Deuteronomy 27:22). Grandparents were forbidden to be sexually active with their grandchildren (Leviticus 18:10). Nieces and nephews were forbidden from having sexual relationships with their aunts and uncles. (Leviticus 18:12-14, Leviticus 20:19-20). It was also forbidden to be with your brother-in-law or sister-in-law (Leviticus 18:16, Leviticus 20:21, Mark 6:18). Men were not to be with their mothers-in-law (Deuteronomy 27:23).

Now, although these were part of the Law Covenant, which was nullified by Christ's death (Romans 10:4), these things were still considered immoral (Leviticus 18:24-30) and immoral sexual activity is still considered wrong (Jude 7). After Christ's death the Bible instructed us to avoid unclean, loose conduct if we want to inherit God's kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21, 1 Corinthians 5:1). Therefore it is believed these things remain wrong even though the Law Covenant is no longer in effect.

Now, as we've seen, the Law said not to take a sibling. But a lot of you will notice that Abraham was married to his half sister, Sarai/Sarah (Genesis 20:12). Also, a lot of people notice that when Cain was banished he took a wife with him (Genesis 4:17). Since he didn't take Eve, he must have taken a sister, since Adam and Eve had sons and daughters (Genesis 5:4). Many are confused by this apparent discrepancy. However, taking a look at these situations we see three things:

  1. Cain and Abraham's situations happened long before God gave this Law Covenant to the people. A person is not in violation of a law if the law hasn't been yet been made.

  1. In the beginning it is apparent that God allowed these kinds of relationships, otherwise the Earth couldn't be populated.

  1. When the Law Covenant was given there was enough population to go around that it was no longer necessary for a person to marry a close relative.

Other people have noticed that the Bible doesn't mention anything forbidding the marrying of cousins – and this is true, it is not forbidden in the Scriptures. In fact, the Scriptures actually indicate that cousins married each other frequently, and with God's blessing (Genesis 24:4,15,67, Genesis 28:1-3, Ruth 2:1,20, 3:12, 4:13). Although most Western cultures stigmatize cousin marriage there are many cultures today, such as those found in the Middle East and certain tribal communities, who actually idealize it. Although cousin marriage is not the kind of marriage that I personally would encourage, it is not condemned in the Bible and therefore is not a sin (regardless of our personal feelings on the topic).

MARRIAGE

God made marriage to be an arrangement between a man and a woman for two purposes: The first is because women were created to be the other half of a man, a matched pair, two halves of a whole that belong together (Genesis 2:18-24). The other purpose is for bringing forth children, and though this is obvious by nature, it is shown at Genesis 1:26-28, Genesis 4:1,17,25, and Deuteronomy 7:13. It is not a sin to marry (1 Corinthians 7:36-38), which is supported in the fact that God officiated the very first marriage (Genesis 2:18-25). Marriage is meant to be a lifelong commitment (Romans 7:2, 1 Corinthians 7:39), and separation is supposed to be with a view to reconciliation with one's spouse (1 Corinthians 7:10-11).

 

MASTURBATION

God designed sexual pleasure to be a shared experience between a married couple as implied at Proverbs 5:15-19, which is self-evident in the build of the human anatomy. If, however, a spouse is practicing masturbation, then he or she is selfishly withholding sexual pleasure from his or her spouse. Selfishness is a form of greed or covetousness, and covetousness is equated with idolatry (Ephesians 5:3-5). Also, the Bible tells us to avoid unnecessary/covetous sexual appetite (Colossians 3:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).

What about mutual masturbation, such as in sexual foreplay with one's spouse? Since this would constitute a shared sexual experience, and presumably consensual, it seems that it would be an acceptable activity within the intimacy of marriage.

As for single people or unmarried couples, some believe that self gratification helps prevent them from committing fornication. Although this reasoning seems realistic there is one giant flaw: In order for an person to masturbate to orgasm they must imagine a sexually satisfying situation. Since the person is unmarried, this means he or she would be fantasizing fornication. This would mean cultivating an unnecessary sexual appetite, which the Bible condemns (Ephesians 5:3-5, Colossians 3:5). Fornication is a major sin (Galatians 5:19-21), and we are to avoid wicked thoughts when we can (Proverbs 2:22, 1 Thessalonians 5:22).

Another point on the matter is this: A man performing masturbation on himself is fondling his own male genitalia, and a woman performing masturbation on herself is fondling her own female genitalia. To fondle genitalia of your same gender for sexual pleasure is the very foundation of homosexual behaviour. It doesn't matter what's going on in your head, the physical act of self masturbation is completely homosexual, and as we've seen earlier on this page, homosexuality is a grave sin.

MISCELLANEOUS

Anal Sex:

This is the act of using the anus and rectum for sexual pleasure. Though there is no Scripture directly saying this is wrong it is obviously not the intended purpose of that part of our bodies. The construction of the tissues in these body parts are not made for the friction of fingers or a penis and thus can be easily torn or injured. Due to the ease of injury many sexually transmitted infections can be easily spread this way, as well as worms, parasites, and other such miserable things. Also, this type of activity would spread fecal matter onto other body parts, and all of this is unclean. It it my opinion that it is a part of the unclean activity that is referred to at Romans 1:24, Ephesians 4:19, and Colossians 3:5. Remember: Just because something can be done doesn't mean that it should be done (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Multiple Partner/ Orgies:

Some people believe that having threesomes or orgies are acceptable if all of the participants are willing. However, this would be against many Scriptures: First, this would require having sex with at least one person you are not married to – fornication, a major sin (Galatians 5:19-21). If one of you is married, then having sex with one you are not married to is adultery, also a major sin (Matthew 5:27-28, 1 Corinthians 6:9-1). An orgy would also include some form of homosexual behaviour, which is also a major sin (Romans 1:26-27). Clearly, such sexual activities have no place in the Kingdom of God.

 

CLOSING COMMENTS

Human intimacy is a difficult topic to discuss mostly because it involves very sexual, as well as controversial, topics. Because there are so many different points of view regarding human sexuality many people can become offended, confused, or apathetic about the whole thing. However, if we are truly trying to please God, we need to live by the Biblical standards of human sexuality that God outlined for us in Scripture, not adding anything more to it.

 


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