Sexual morality and the goodness of God

Last week I wrote about Robert George’s presentation at the CBHD summer conference. He expressed very clearly how important the difference is between seeing human beings as a unity of spirit and body and seeing human beings as non-bodily persons who inhabit and use non-personal bodies. We have seen one of the implications of that difference play itself out this week in the Supreme Court decision regarding same-sex marriage.

The acceptance of homosexual behavior by a large part of our society is one part of a change in our society’s understanding of sexuality that is rooted in the idea of our being non-bodily persons who use our non-personal bodies for our pleasure. Since the sexual revolution of the 1960s much of our society has lost the idea that sexuality is intended to be manifested in the whole person unity of a man and a woman in marriage and is the foundation of the family as the most basic unit in society. That idea is grounded in an understanding of human beings as a unity of body and spirit. That understanding of sexuality which is grounded in a Judeo-Christian understanding of who we are as human beings has been replaced with the idea that human sexuality exists primarily for the purpose of providing pleasure and the enhancement of emotional relationships, and secondarily may involve the production of children. The use of the sexual functions of the body as an instrument of pleasure for the non-bodily self has led to the idea that anything that a person finds to be sexually pleasurable should be allowed and not restricted. If something feels good we should do it. This sounds very liberating and it makes anyone who suggests that there is something wrong with this view of sexuality sound very oppressive.

However, this very self-focused view of sexuality causes significant harm. That harm generally is suffered by those who are weak and powerless, mostly women and children. This self-centered view of sexuality leads to women being used and abused. It leads to unstable relationships which end as soon as one of the partners decides that the relationship is not providing the pleasure desired. It leads to harm of children both by direct abuse and by leading to the breakup of two-parent families so that children are raised without one or both of their parents. It has also led to the use of abortion as a remedy when the pursuit of sexual pleasure produces a child that does not fit into what people have planned for their lives.

For two thousand years the church has understood that the only morally permissible sexual relationship is the one that exists between one man and one woman in marriage. Any sexual relationship other than that has been understood to be morally wrong and sinful. However, the church has also understood that this is not because God desires for us to be miserable and to ruin our pleasure. It is because God is our Creator and he understands what is best for us. He understands how good the sexual relationship that he created for a man and a woman united in the lifelong commitment of marriage can be and how important that relationship is for the welfare of the children that they bring into the world. He also understands how much harm can come to the weakest and most vulnerable when the sexuality that he created to be good is used outside of the way that it was intended. God’s moral law is grounded in his goodness. He has communicated his moral truth to us in Scripture and by writing it on our hearts for our own good. We would do well to listen.

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Dare HawesSteve PhillipsCarol Eblen Recent comment authors
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Carol Eblen
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Carol Eblen

Again, does the definition of “personhood” in Christianity and most other religions involve a unity of spirit and mind/brain/body that involves and demands that a choice be made by the human beings. the children of God, to be monagamous or not in the interests of the greater good. If we have the capacity to be polyamorous, we have the capacity to freely choose to be monagamous and to obey God’s commandments. Certainly, in erotic love, the ego is totally involved and this kind of love, unlike the love of children and family and friends and our fellow human beings involves… Read more »

Dare Hawes
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Dare Hawes

Very thoughtful, wise article, Steve. Keep writing. The world needs to hear. :<)