In the last installment, I presented the guiding Biblical framework from which sexuality is to be understood and contrasted. I presented it in terms of Creation.
When God created man and woman, He created them male and female; the response was one of jubilation; this served as the basis for marriage; and sex is the consummation of that covenant. It was all good.
Then, in Genesis 3, things go very badly.
Eve, who knew better than to eat of the fruit of the tree, was deceived into eating of the fruit of The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam, who also knew better and was not deceived, consciously chose to rebel, eating of said fruit.
- The serpent was made a perpetual belly-crawler, and promised eventual defeat (in hindsight, many commentators look at this as a reference to Jesus on the cross.)
- Eve was promised painful childbirth.
- God promised perpetual conflict between man and woman. (“Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”)
- God cursed the ground, making the work of men perpetually difficult;
- All of Man was cursed with eventual death.
Among those punishments is a very poignant statement God made to Eve: “Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” This is often referred to as “Eve’s Curse”.
In a nutshell, that threw a monkey wrench into both interpersonal as well as sexual relations. Women would constantly aspire to the privilege, authority, and prestige of the men, and men would have an innate tendency to squash women like bugs.
We have seen this play out throughout history: whether it’s foot-binding in China; various forms of sex slavery; Islamic tribes that perform genital mutilation on women; feminist movements that promote goddess worship and fertility cults and various forms of witchcraft. Today, feminism has given us mass murder on a scale that would make Stalin blush, while Middle East cultures treat women like chattel, and in spite of this we have American teenage girls seeking to join radical Islamic groups such as ISIS.
In terms of gender relations, I would argue that the bondage-submission dynamic began with what we now call “Eve’s curse”.
That was the beginning of the corruption of sex. And it would get worse rapidly.
After Cain killed Abel and was forced to flee, we have this tidbit a few verses later:
And Lamech took two wives. The name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. Adah bore Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe. Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
Lamech said to his wives:
“Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
you wives of Lamech, listen to what I say:
I have killed a man for wounding me,
a young man for striking me.
If Cain’s revenge is sevenfold,
then Lamech’s is seventy-sevenfold.”
What began with eating some forbidden fruit would lead to murder in the first generation, and then, five generations later, we have Lamech taking two wives (making him the first polygamist) and committing double murder.
This is contrasted with the very next block:
And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.
The line of Cain–from murder to double murder and polygamy (which is an aberration of the marriage covenant)–differs markedly from the line of Seth, whose generation is tied to “people [beginning] to call upon the name of LORD.”
Things would get worse:
- In Genesis 6, the “sons of God” would marry the “daughters of men” and produce an evil generation that led to the flood. While some take that as angels marrying humans, I take that as descendents of Seth (believers) intermarrying with the sons of Cain (non-believers).
- After the flood, Ham disgraced his father by telling his brothers about his father’s nakedness. (No, he didn’t commit a homosexual act, as some commentators suggest. At the same time, an integral part of sex is knowing someone else’s nakedness. Ham’s sin was not in a sexual act, or even in stumbling across his father’s drunken nakedness, but rather in telling his brothers of his father’s indecent exposure, rather than keeping his mouth shut.)
- Abraham took his maid as a mistress and sired a child (Ishmael) with her, thus giving us perpetual mayhem in the Middle East.
- The men of Sodom attempted to rape the angels who were intervening for Lot’s family.
- Lot’s daughters, after getting their father drunk, had sex with him, got pregnant, and had children, giving us the Moabites and the Ammonites.
- Jacob took two wives (who were sisters), and also took on their servants as his mistresses and had children with them.
- One of Jacob’s sons would have sex with one of his father’s wives.
- In a serial scandal, Onan would be struck dead by God for disgracing Tamar via coitus interruptus; and Tamar–after Judah refused to marry off one of his sons to give her children–disguised herself as a temple prostitute, had sex with Judah (who was on a journey), and had a child with him.
- Dinah, a daughter of Jacob, was raped by Shechem. Levi and Simeon, in turn, slaughtered all of the men of Shechem after they were circumcised and promised safety.
Oh, and that’s just in Genesis!
Remember: in Genesis 2, it was all good.
Here we are, nearing the end of the first book of the Bible, and we have had multiple cases of polygamy, believers marrying non-believers, homosexuality, women fighting each other via mistresses, men offering their daughters to appease would-be rapists, multiple cases of incest, and even rape.
Suffice it to say that sin has clearly worked its way into the marriage bed.
My point here is that, in terms of depravity, what we see today has ample precedent in history. You will hear many voices in the world, appealing to “progressive” culture to be more “open-minded” to things that are clearly perverted, and churches are under constant pressure to cave.
Today, the big issue of sexuality for the Church–on the surface–is gay “marriage”.
And while the Church must preach and teach truthfully regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality, a larger issue under the surface exists: we have a large swath of Christians, who have had a pornified, corrupted erotica slammed down their throats from all angles, who, as they marry, are forced to reconcile their desires–which include normal libido and curiosity to explore (which is otherwise legit), as well as desires that are stoked by illicit and worldly media that are degrading to sexuality–with the goodness and high purposes for which God made it, which include a very positive erotica that, like Genesis 2, is presented in celebratory terms.
Yes, we will go there. And I promise to keep it clean. Next stop: The Song of Solomon.