The following post is rated "R" for mature audiences.
We are having a discussion about marriage and divorce in another thread, but related to that discussion is a word from our Lord concerning God's intent for marriage. In this thread I would like to say something about human sexuality as it relates to marriage.
I want to start at the beginning where Jesus did, in Genesis 2. To set this up, I want to review events that lead up to this point in the account. After God creates Adam, he places him in a garden with trees and other animals. He gives Adam a few instructions such as, "don't eat from this tree", and "give names to these animals."
It has been said that God gave Adam this task, to name the animals, in order that Adam might realize something about himself. In order to give each animal a unique name, and in order that Adam might remember that name a week later, he was required to study each animal and classify it according to it's most salient quality.
In the process, Adam learned that animals come in pairs, and he didn't have his mate like the other animals did. "Hey, where's my suitable helper?" And so God waited until Adam figured out for himself that he needed one, before he gave him one. We pick up the story here.
21So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place. 22The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man.
23The man said,
"This is now bone of my bones,
And flesh of my flesh;
She shall be called Woman,
Because she was taken out of Man."
24For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.
25And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
The passage I underlined is the passage Jesus quotes in defense of his view of marriage and why divorce ran contrary to God's original intent for marriage.
For our purposes, I want to use this text more for what it doesn't say than for what it does say. I notice the complete lack of sex in this passage. While the male/female relationship implies sexuality, the sex act itself doesn't seem to be the central focus of this passage. It isn't even given a mention. The only way to find the sex act in this passage is for us to put it there. But while the sex act isn't mentioned at all, human sexuality is found in this verse at the end.
And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
This speaks to another aspect of human sexuality other than the sex act itself -- intimacy. The couple were naked and were not ashamed.
Whereas God created Adam from the dust of the ground, he created Eve from Adam's rib. In this way, God gave Adam a visceral picture of closeness, intimacy, and belonging together, with which he might associate with his new wife. In the same way that a woman experiences a close intimacy unique to the birth experience, "the baby came from me", Adam experienced with Eve, "she is bone of my bone."
Adam and Eve were both naked and not ashamed. To be blunt (cover your ears) Adam exposed his genitals to Eve and he felt no shame. And Eve exposed her genitals to Adam and felt no shame. The couple couldn't get any closer. All things were exposed and nothing was hidden.
And so, it would seem that becoming "one flesh" is more than the sexual act itself. It involves complete exposure to your mate. Nothing hidden, everything accepted at face value. Becoming one in flesh involves trust, acceptance, openness, exposure, vulnerability, and above all, intimacy. I am willing to open myself completely and unreservedly to my mate, and she to me. Sexual intercourse is one of many activities possible between two people who have already decided ahead of time to be "naked" without shame. Naked in the physical sense, but also naked in the emotional sense, and in the spiritual sense.
And so we have at least one clue as to way sexuality outside of marriage is wrong. To have sexual intercourse outside of marriage is to lie to your partner. You promise with your body what you never intend to keep -- a life of intimacy without shame.