The Seduced Slave Girl

What happens if a slave girl is seduced? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As we go through Leviticus, we come across this law in chapter 19.

“‘If a man sleeps with a female slave who is promised to another man but who has not been ransomed or given her freedom, there must be due punishment. Yet they are not to be put to death, because she had not been freed. 21 The man, however, must bring a ram to the entrance to the tent of meeting for a guilt offering to the Lord. 22 With the ram of the guilt offering the priest is to make atonement for him before the Lord for the sin he has committed, and his sin will be forgiven.

So what is going on here?

First off, nothing is said here about how the sleeping together came about. Most likely, it is not rape, but seduction. It also says nothing about who it is that has slept with the girl. It could actually be the master himself. It could be just a way of saying anyone who does this, including the master.

Why is the death penalty not put in place here? It is not because the girl is a servant, but it is because she is not married. She was to be redeemed and to be a wife and she hasn’t been and when men wanted to redeem wives, they generally wanted to redeem virgins.

When it comes to the money that is paid, it is not clear who it is that gets the money. Is it the master or is it the husband-to-be? I also think it’s worthwhile to point out the woman doesn’t have to have any penalty on her. Instead, it is the man who is to take responsibility. Even if this is seduction and it take two to tango, the man is seen as the one who has done the seduction.

Also, if the marriage was called off because of this, what happens to the girl? She remains in the household of the master and likely he has to keep providing for her. This would mean a master better think twice if he wants to be the one who is sleeping with the slave girl.

Also, how is all of this information coming about? We can seem to gloss over that idea, but if we are talking about finding out who did what and making proper restitution, what does that entail? That’s right. An investigation. This would be a matter that would be looked into.

Why is that important? Because this is nothing silent, but it is something that is public and the man would have been seen as having done a shameful thing. If the woman let herself be seduced, this would ultimately be her own punishment as everyone would know about what she did. If a man doesn’t want to see his love life come under scrutiny like this, it would be wise for him to just avoid interacting with the girl altogether. (For an idea of what that could be like, think back to any major affair that has happened whether it be Ravi Zacharias or Bill Clinton.)

Again, all this shows that the Bible treats sex and marriage seriously. We would be wise to do the same even if our laws are different.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Sexuality and Shrimp

How do we handle the law today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This is not an easy topic as thousands of pages have been written on the topic of the role of the law in the life of the Christian. Much of the epistles in the New Testament is all about this problem really as Paul and others have to quote the Old Testament often to establish their points. Jesus Himself in the Gospels had to explain how the Old Testament was being misunderstood so it is not a shock that we today can struggle with it at times.

For instance, we have all these rules on sexuality, but then we have rules on not eating shrimp. What’s going on with that? Shrimp is an abomination and so are two men sleeping together. Why do we forbid the latter and yet happily go to a place like Red Lobster and dine our hearts out?

As I’ve said, I should not be expected to be the final word and answer all questions, but I do want to give some general guidelines.

First, we must always remember that the Law was given to Jews in a specific time and a specific place. The Law was never given to the church in the sense that God directly covenanted with the church through the Law. The covenant with the church is done through Jesus.

However, this does not mean that we dispense with the Law entirely. Paul tells us in the New Testament that everything that was written was written for our benefit. Even if we are not bound by it, we can still learn from it.

Second, the Law often had meanings behind the surface level. Paul uses this in 1 Cor. 9 where he quotes about not muzzling an ox while it’s treading the grain. God’s principle concern is not with the ox, but with the idea that one who works should get to partake in some fruit of the work.

Let’s consider another idea. What about building something on the roof of your house to serve as a barrier? In this case, this was done because the roof was often treated as a separate room and people would regularly go up there. You build a barrier to make sure no one falls off and suffers injury or death. We don’t do this today because we don’t use our roofs this way, but if you have an apartment complex with a balcony of some sort, there will be a barrier to prevent falling.

So what about mixed fabrics and clean and unclean animals? The animals could be because some of them contained a mixture of different locales in that they were creatures of earth and water or water and air or air and earth. We might not know the reason entirely, but they did. Mixed fabrics were to avoid a similar mixture and remind the Israelites of purity. We are to take this as having moral purity.

Third, most all of us follow the Law to some extent. Last I saw, many atheists are not going out and championing murder since the Bible says “Do not murder.”You can be an atheist and think the idea of “Love your neighbor as yourself” is a beautiful command and should be followed, but it comes right between Leviticus 18 and 20 with its sexual rules. Atheists accusing Christians of picking and choosing can be just as guilty. Both sides can easily use prooftexts for their own benefit.

Fourth, we can see how the New Testament handles this. While John 8 with the woman caught in adultery was not likely written by the author of John, I do think it shows a real event in the life of Jesus. In it, Jesus never questions the statement of the law that an adulterous woman should be stoned, but he does say that if you want to play that game, how many of you deserve a punishment as well?

In 1 Cor. 5, we have a man sleeping with his stepmother. The couple could have had a similar punishment, but this time Paul says to remove the man from the church. It’s worth noting in that day the man could not just go down the block to another church. The exclusion was to make him come to his senses.

Paul as a good Pharisee knows the law, but while he still upholds that sleeping with your stepmther is wrong, he doesn’t uphold the punishment of the Old Testament. It’s not because he’s opposed to the Old Testament. It’s because he sees things through the lens of Christ now instead.

Several times in the epistles, homosexual practice and sex outside of marriage is condemned. There’s no hint that these have changed. Yes. I have read some of the revisionists trying to say otherwise and I just find their cases extremely weak.

Let’s also return to Leviticus 18. In the final section, God tells the people that for these kinds of practices, the people are being driven out. This means that they should have known better.

In the same way, in Romans 1, Paul speaks about general revelation and says “Because of that, people should have known idolatry was wrong.” Why? Looking at the universe, you should be able to tell that it was made by something greater than something like an animal.

After a vertical error, he then moves to a horizontal one. Just like people got the nature of God wrong, they got the nature of God wrong and same-sex relations were his prime example. We should be able to look and tell that male and female go together and no other combination does.

These are just some general guidelines. Does this answer everything? Of course not. There are many books on these subjects. For homosexuality in particular, I recommend Robert Gagnon and books where he does take part in a counterpoint discussion are some of the best.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Bestiality

Why does the Bible condemn bestiality? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

23 “‘Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.

As we continue through this section, we see this verse and it led me to thinking more about why some actions are condemned in our society today and why some aren’t. Our culture is becoming more of an anything goes culture and I don’t doubt that within a few years, bestiality will be being protected by some of the elite in our society. Time will tell if I’m right.

When I was married, my wife did tell me about a girl who made videos where she actually talked about sex with her dog. I think her name was Whitney, but while trying to find out, my search engine blocked out the results. Thus, I cannot guarantee this, but such a person did exist.

Now I did ponder this some yesterday about why our culture condemns this, but the verse before, we don’t have a problem with homosexuality. If sex with someone of the same sex is one of those barriers that we think needs to be taken down, why not go further and say the species doesn’t even matter. We’re already moving into pedophilia after all.

Now some could say that an animal cannot give its consent, as consent seems to be one of the main points today in sexuality. Whatever goes is okay provided you have consent, but why should this stop with animals? We who love our animals still treat them in ways that they definitely do not consent to. I can assure anyone that when I put Shiro in his kitty carrier to go to the vet, he does not give me his consent.

To go even further, every pet owner dreads the time when they have to go to the vet to say good-bye and have their animal put to sleep. As Shiro is getting older, I am dreading this time more and more when I think about it. If we can let our pets die without their consent, then why not go the step of bestiality?

From a Christian perspective, bestiality is the crossing of the species and going against the design of our bodies and nature. Humanity was made to be with humanity. We are lowering ourselves from rational animals in bestiality to just animals. Again though, I am sure before too long there will be defenses of bestiality being more present and honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if there are some out there right now.

A question now asked is how many of these laws apply to us today. That is an important hermeneutic question as when these verses are brought up, before too long someone brings up mixed fabrics or dietary laws. I plan on addressing this when we continue in this series. We’ll see you then.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Homosexuality in Leviticus

What does the Bible say about this topic? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Now we get to this verse:

“Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.”

For some reason in our culture, this is always a hard topic. My personal suspicion on this is that we live in a culture that wants to move away as far as possible from the Christian understanding of sex and in actuality, just make sex more meaningless and more of a hobby that people do together. If we give any essential qualities to sex, then we also have to have proper rules and morality for sex. It’s why I am sure bestiality and pedophilia is just around the corner. Time will tell if I am right.

Let’s state something upright. There are several works out there that are tempting to make the Bible not condemn homosexual behavior. They really don’t work well at all. This has been the standard interpretation for thousands of years and there is no new data around the text to have it say something different.

Now we could debate if some people are born with homosexual tendencies or not, but that’s not my purpose here. Even if we did grant that, many of us men are born with the tendency to pursue women and we have to control that impulse just as much. If any desire we have is condemned by Scripture, no matter how much it seems innate to us, we have to curtail it.

Also, contrary to what some people think, there are a number of people who struggle with same-sex attraction and yet marry someone of the opposite sex and it still works. Does it require a lot of work to make a marriage like that succeed? I am sure, but at the same time, that is the case with every marriage. All of them take work and that includes in sexual practice even with two people who are heterosexual.

One of the reasons is that gender really matters in the Bible. It’s not a social construct. At the same time, the Bible never says what makes a man a man or a woman a woman. Going back to Sam Andreades who I referred to yesterday, he does state that gender is best found in relationship. Women are the best at bringing out masculinity in a man and vice-versa.

Our bodies are different for a reason and come together the way that they do for a reason. Who we are is not an accident. The way we come together and reproduce is not an accident either. If anyone should have a thorough understanding of sexuality, it should be a Christian. Sex is not something that is outside of a Christian worldview and must be somehow grafted in. It is the idea of our creator and His invention. We have the Song of Songs in our book after all.

FInally, none of this is hatred of people who have homosexual tendencies anymore than speaking against adultery is hatred of people with heterosexual tendencies. On this end, I recommend Preston Sprinkle’s People To Be Loved.

And yes, we definitely need to show love to the homosexual community. We don’t approve of all they do, but we should celebrate their personhood. They too bear the image of God.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Sacrificing Children

Do we sacrifice our children to Molek? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

When we get to this verse in Leviticus, many in our society would think that this is not applicable to us. After all, we no longer sacrifice our children to pagan gods, and I’d say for the most part, this is true, but do we sacrifice them to secular gods? I contend we obviously do.

These are gods such as convenience, autonomy, sexual freedom, etc.

For us, we call it abortion today. It is one of the sacraments of our culture. It is one of the rare places where the science is ignored entirely and everyone becomes philosophical all of a sudden.

So what science is ignored exactly?

“Although life is a continuous process, fertilization (which, incidentally, is not a ‘moment’) is a critical landmark because, under ordinary circumstances, a new genetically distinct human organism is formed when the chromosomes of the male and female pronuclei blend in the oocyte.” — Ronan O’Rahilly and Fabiola Müller, Human Embryology and Teratology, 3rd edition. New York: Wiley-Liss, 2001. p. 8

“Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.” –Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th edition, Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003. p. 16.

“Human embryos begin development following the fusion of definitive male and female gametes during fertilization… This moment of zygote formation may be taken as the beginning or zero time point of embryonic development.” –William J. Larsen, Essentials of Human Embryology, New York: Churchill Livingstone, 1998. pp. 1, 14.

“Every time a sperm cell and ovum unite, a new being is created which is alive and will continue to live unless its death is brought about by some specific condition.” — E.L. Potter, M.D., and J.M. Craig, M.D. Pathology of the Fetus and the Infant (3rd Edition). Chicago: Year Book Medical Publishers, 1975, page vii.

“It is the penetration of the ovum by a spermatozoan and the resultant mingling of the nuclear material each brings to the union that constitutes the culmination of the process of fertilization and marks the initiation of life of a new individual.” –Bradley M. Patton, Human Embryology, 3rd Ed., (New York: McGraw Hill, 1968), p. 43.

“It is possible to give ‘human being’ a precise meaning. We can use it as equivalent to ‘member of the species Homo sapiens’. Whether a being is a member of a given species is something that can be determined scientifically, by an examination of the nature of the chromosomes in the cells of living organisms. In this sense there is no doubt that from the first moments of its existence an embryo conceived from human sperm and eggs is a human being.” –Peter Singer, Practical Ethics, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 85-86.

“Perhaps the most straightforward relation between you and me on the one hand and every human fetus on the other is this: All are living members of the same species, homo sapiens. A human fetus after all is simply a human being at a very early stage in his or her development.” –David Boonin, A Defense of Abortion. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2003) 20.

“A human fetus is not a nonhuman animal; it is a stage of a human being.” –Wayne L. Sumner, Abortion and Moral Theory, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), p. 10.

Actually, our age is worse than the pagan ages. They did a great evil in sacrificing their children, but they often did it for the good of the community thinking they would have a great harvest and saw it as a real sacrifice. When our children are sacrificed today, they are sacrificed more for individual goods than anything else.

Sometimes, I wonder if a future culture will look back on us and wonder what we were thinking by allowing abortion. How many lives have been lost due to this great evil? We have a modern-day holocaust going on and I look forward to when we realize that is happening.

So yes, we do sacrifice our children today, except we don’t consider it a sacrifice and it is not to a pagan deity, but secular ones.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Get Your Own Girl

How should you treat your neighbor? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So far in this list, we have seen a load of people mentioned who are somehow related to you. Now God goes even further and says to avoid your neighbor’s wife. This is something that is extremely relevant today as we normally do agree that you shouldn’t sleep with relatives, but somehow, we do have many people today who sleep with their neighbor’s spouse or at least pursue that.

This is especially the case in the age of social media. A friend told me sometime within the past year about going through divorce records in a court, though I don’t remember what for, and being surprised how many times the word “Facebook” showed up. The problem with this is that you can get easily attached to someone you haven’t met and since they’re a fantasy, they can be whatever you want them to be.

Ladies. Prince Charming will likely snore when you go to bed at night.

And guys, her hair will not stay beautiful and pristine when she wakes up in the morning.

Very few people will wake up one day and say “I think I’ll have an affair today.” It generally starts with something innocent. This is one reason why when I normally message a woman and I think it could be a long conversation, I will include her husband in it as well. I also have some rules set up for whenever I go on dates again.

The action of an affair with someone else’s spouse damages relationships across the board. In my DivorceCare group, we watch a video every week from DivorceCare and one lady does describe how her ex-husband was sleeping with her ex-best friend. I’m pretty sure this other lady was her best friend before this happened.

Even if someone is a skeptic of Christianity, I am sure they will agree with the passage in Proverbs that says that jealousy arouses a husband’s fury and he will not be bought off. He will not be pacified when he seeks revenge. He will refuse a bribe however great it is. There’s something about this activity that gets spouses engaged on a whole new level.

This should also tell us that sexual activity is not like anything else that we have. A husband might be upset if his wife plays tennis with another man or something of that sort, but once he finds out she has slept with someone else, at that point normally all bets are off. Who knows where this could go from here?

So what’s a simple solution? Easy. If you want to sleep with someone, make a lifelong commitment to them first and go through with it. Don’t hedge your bets and say that we’ll be together for now, but there’s no need to make a commitment. You or they can just run out at any time then actually. This is something especially women need to realize who really control the market. Have a guy give a lifetime commitment upfront.

For both sexes, once you are married, build up yourself and your own relationship. If the grass looks greener on the other side, water your own side and care for it more. Be very careful on social media as well. Marriage is a terrible thing to destroy even if it is necessary sometimes such as in abuse and adultery.

The alternative of destroying relationships is far worse.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Sex Rules

Why this long list? Lets plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Leviticus 18 seems really repetitive. The writer, speaking for God, goes through and lists a number of people one-by-one for the most part, tells who they are, and then says to not try to have sex with them. Many a reader could get confused by all of this. Wouldn’t it just make sense to say “Only have sex with your spouse.”?

One of the reasons I think this is done this way is because to say sex is the great obsession of our society is an understatement. However, our society is not the exception in this. I remember hearing before that we have even found cave drawings of women with exaggerated proportions. An early form of pornography perhaps?

There’s no reason to think Hebrew society was any different and especially if you have 70 people go to Egypt and then a few hundred years later even with high child mortality rates there’s a great number of them, we can easily guess how they spent their free time. Not only that, but after the wilderness wanderings and when they get settled in the land, promiscuous behavior is a problem. Heck. While they’re in the wilderness, promiscuous behavior is a problem.

This is a problem of human nature.

As a divorced man now, I realize that for the time being for me, sexual activity is off the table. Is that hard? Yep. Do I like it? Not a bit. Is it a temptation for me to want to break the rules? Yes. That can include anything with a woman in person or just watching pornography at home. I still abstain from all of those and sometimes, there can be strong temptations. I have already set up hard rules when I start dating again for how I will behave in certain scenarios.

This is a hard path to follow. I have no doubt that some people are non-Christians today because they do not want to follow Christianity’s sexual ethic. I am not saying at all that’s right. I will say it makes sense. We all to some extent love sin. That’s why we do it so often.

Notice something. It’s easy to look at this list and see all the negatives. No list is needed for the positives. God nowhere has to tell the listener “Go and have sex with the wife of your youth.” That doesn’t need to be said at all. There are no restrictions put on the married couple together.

He’s not opposed to that. He created the system. He designed all the parts. He made all of it to work together. Christians have a status of being seen as anti-sex when we should be seen as the most pro-sex people of all. Unfortunately, we have developed a reputation of being seen as prudes.

Sex is not evil. The body is not evil. Both of these are good things and God designed them to work the way they do and in a marital unit, to be able to enjoy the gift of sexual intimacy. We should mind the negative rules, but let’s not forget the positives that don’t have to be said here.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Discharges in Leviticus 15

Why are discharges treated so seriously? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It might seem odd in looking at marriage to go to Leviticus 15, but these are issues with regard to sexuality. Normally, the Bible is not that explicit concerning sexual terminology, though Song of Songs is exceptional in some ways. Many times, it uses euphemisms to speak of sexual activity or of sexual body parts.

Obviously, a discharge refers to something other than just going to the bathroom or else every man who is unclean after an emission would be pretty much constantly unclean, including the high priest. It more refers to emissions of a sexual nature that are likely outside of regular sexual activity. Sex isn’t dirty, but there are times to abstain to focus on holy aspects, as Paul advised temporarily for married couples in 1 Cor. 7 and sometimes would happen in the Old Testament in the wilderness wanderings when God was about to do something grand.

The same applied to a woman during the time of her period. For her, this is especially evident since she has a flow of blood and the loss of blood in this way was considered unclean. It’s worth noting this does not mean evil. It was no sin to have a period.

So now we have to ask a question that might seem obvious, but it is one worth thinking about. Why does God have all these regulations concerning the human body? Many of them also concern matters that were not sinful but would just happen over the course of time.

For one thing, the body matters. Many of us can treat the body as a negative. We refer to it as a prison. The body is something good and it is something that God will raise us up in again. Too many of us sing songs that are practically Gnostic where we compare the body to a prison. That doesn’t come from Jesus, but it comes from Plato instead.

Second, sex is something sacred as it is the connecting of two sacred bodies in the most intimate way possible. As a divorced man now, I am having to make the pledge that until I remarry again, I will be abstaining from sex. It is not because I delight in abstaining. It is not because I can celebrate and say “Whew! At least I don’t have to do that anymore!” It’s quite the opposite for me and for many other men who are divorced if not all of us.

So why do it? It’s the right thing to do. It honors God, our future spouses, and ourselves. Granted I have a future spouse, she will know that I was faithfully pure both inside of marriage and outside of it. Today, we often treat sex as a casual activity that you just do for recreation.

Christians are to hold to something different, but we are not to give the view that we are anti-sex. We should be the most pro-sex people out there. After all, God created this whole system and meant for us to enjoy it as well. He just wants to enjoy it in the way it was meant to be enjoyed and ultimately, the way that will provide us with the best joy.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Pregnancy and Uncleanliness

Is this pregnancy condition against women? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

In Leviticus 12, we have a rule about pregnancy. The woman who gives birth to a male will be unclean for seven days. The boy is circumcised on day eight and then the woman is unclean for thirty-three days. If she has a daughter, each of those counts is doubled.

Much like the case of cooking a goat in its mother’s milk, we don’t know the exact reason for this rule. At this point, for some reason, skeptics of Scripture like to jump up and down with glee as if having total understanding of the Bible shows it’s not divine. Why is never explained. However, just because we don’t know, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t know.

Some people might think this is sexist, but if it is, could it not be sexist against boys instead of girls? After all, girls when they are born are actually given extra time to be with the mother. Boys instead as soon as they are a month old are counted in the census. Could it be that maybe the girls are given extra time with their mothers because the mother especially needs to spend extra time with the girls because her future will be to majorly influence that girl to show her what she is to be as a woman?

Now I cannot prove this, of course, but if we are unsure as to which way to read something and one position makes the claim look sexist and the other doesn’t and there’s no overriding reason to choose one over the other, why should we choose the one that makes the Bible look sexist? If we are reading with the principle of charity in mind, shouldn’t we go with the one that doesn’t do that? Do you think I would apply the same to the Book of Mormon or to the Koran? You bet I would!

The last time I tried reading through the Book of Mormon, I would look up various items mentioned in there, like steel or scimitars and see if they were around then. If they were, then I would not make any note of this. I never finished this because it was frankly boring reading through the Book of Mormon again and other interests came on board. For the Koran, we normally point to Sura 4 to show that the Koran denies the crucifixion, but I read a Christian commentator who said early Muslims did not deny the crucifixion and this could be the text having Allah say to the Jews, “You didn’t kill Jesus. I was behind it all along.”

Now I cannot prove the reading of the Koran, but I do give it to show that I am trying to be consistent. Those who are skeptics of the Bible should try to do the same. Sadly, too many of them love to jump for the interpretation that puts Scripture in the worst light, which I find reveals very little about Scripture and reveals a lot more about them.

Don’t be like that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

 

Are Sex Rules Pro-Women?

Do all the stipulations in the Bible on sex benefit women? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

On yesterday’s blog, some commenters on Facebook thought that I had given the impression that in this society, women were only valued for sex. They were pretty much objects. One did rightly see I was trying to point out the sacredness of sex, but that didn’t come across that way.

So today, I want to clear things up as to why the Bible has these rules and if they are good for women or not.

Let’s start with something. I do think our society is led by men. That’s not necessarily a bad thing for women. When men are being men, they will look out for the women around them. I suspect there weren’t many feminists on the Titanic who were objecting when it was said “Women and children first!”

A man who abuses and/or uses a woman is not being a man really. He’s being less of a man. If you view yourself as a leader in society, your goal is to build up those around you and not to tear them down. Any man if he wants to can take a woman’s body. Not any man can take her heart. That requires that he be a real man and one she is willing to entrust her heart to.

So let’s look at some other realities. Are some men more tempted to just look at women as sex objects? Yes. Pornography is a great example of this. If anything has taught men to treat women as objects, it’s pornography.

In the ancient world, this would also be the natural temptation of men. After all, men by nature of the chemicals and hormones in their bodies tend to have very high sex drives. Not all do and in some marriages, the woman actually has the higher drive. We’re speaking of averages here.

A man and a woman would often get together immediately in an arranged marriage and then you could be introducing yourselves to one another and then sleeping together immediately as husband and wife. Why this way? Because sex is meant to be a bonding act. It releases scores of hormones and chemicals that bind the two people to one another.

This is one reason Christians safeguard this so much. Not because sex is anything dirty. After all, the joke is that many Christians are taught two things about sex growing up. #1. It’s dirty. #2. I should save it for someone I love.

Sex is in a sense like nuclear energy. If you use it the way it was meant to be used, wonderful things can happen. If you use it in a way it’s not meant to be used, Chernobyl can happen. Do we see this? Yes. Look at most any talk show on where they talk about who is the father of who and see it. Look at single mothers who have been kicked to the curb by a guy because he thought someone hotter came along or he didn’t want to get married. Sadly, look at our divorce culture where too many people don’t take their vows seriously and many times, one person is rejected and abandoned over it.

In sharing my own story of divorce, I have had men share stories with me that leave me thankful I didn’t go through that and I have heard stories in DivorceCare that are indeed horrendous. Even harder is the fact that so many men and women jump into relationships immediately before they are ready because of the intense loneliness. Some have said that being divorced is worse than the other person dying and I am inclined to agree. Death is normally not intentional. Divorce is.

The rules of the Old Testament also started with people where they were. Let’s face it again. Guys are very much driven by sex and our natural tendency will be the path of least resistance to get what we want. We were originally designed to use our drive for the good of the other. Now we often place the good of ourselves first and foremost. Women become just means to us. Even outside of sex, this is naturally how we tend to view other people. What can they do for me?

Women meanwhile live in a world where half of the people around them could overpower them if they wanted to for the most part. Yes. I realize that there are men who are not physically intimidating, including myself, and there are women who know how to fight well, but I am again speaking of averages. I will not claim to know what it’s like to walk as a woman in a parking lot at night, though I do walk out women who work at night where I work so they don’t have to go alone.

The Old Testament doesn’t expect perfection right away. Consider many of the rules as baby steps towards a better ideal. We have slavery at the start in the wilderness, but as time moves along and people become more and more capable economically, that starts to dissipate. Jesus Himself implies this when He says that Moses granted divorce because of hardness of heart, but this is not the way it was meant to be.

So God looks at sinful men and says that if they follow their natural instincts, they will pay a price. They will either have to be with the woman for life or at the least, pay a hefty fine. That’s to curtail the man’s strong desire. So if he wants to be with the woman then, what does he have to do? He has to work up and be a man and really impress the father enough that he says “Okay. I can trust you with her.” Many of us know that if we start acting a certain way towards someone, our feelings towards that someone can change. Lewis once said to not ask if you love your neighbor. Live like you do, and loving feelings will follow. Even if they don’t, you are still doing the right thing.

Within the past few years, I was at Celebrate Recovery and for the group sharing after, it was just me and one other man. He told me about how he doesn’t feel respected by his wife and XYZ and all this other stuff. I listened and then said, “You know, I’m hearing all of this stuff and I’m going to say something and it’s going to sound insensitive, but I think I need to say it.”

“Who cares?”

BAM! The guy said even the next week it was the slap in the face he needed.

After all, as I explained. You have a duty. You have a responsibility. You made a promise as a husband. You are to do that regardless of how you feel. Do your duty and let her work out her own issues.

The Christian call to a man is not to deny his sex drive. God made it for us and He made the woman’s body desirable to us for a reason. He built the engine. It’s instead to channel that into greater love for the woman. Saving sex for marriage is meant to say that you only get to love the woman this way after you make a lifetime commitment. There is no try before you buy.

This is also to make the woman feel safe. She can freely give herself to the man because she knows he has her best interests at heart. He has made the promise and he will keep it. Ideally, a woman will meet the needs of her husband sexually, and he will meet her needs as well, not just emotional, but every other need. Also ladies, if you have a good man, he delights in meeting your needs and wants to meet your needs.

I can safely tell you that when I was married, I loved doing things that I thought put a smile on her face. When our anniversary came, I tried to go all out every single year. I wanted to go above and beyond to please her. Some I remember well, such as taking her to the hotel we stayed in our first night for our first anniversary to recreate things. For the fifth, I took her to an Equestrian theater. For the seventh, a friend had given me $200 and told me to spend it on something fun explicitly. I spent all of it and even more on our anniversary which included eating out for every meal, getting her a PSP, and a singing telegram singing songs from our wedding and other songs.

For me, I just wanted to make her happy and have her feel loved.

Ladies. Please remember you are worth a lifetime commitment. Don’t give yourself to a man for anything less than that. Let him demonstrate his commitment by making the promise first.

God realizes our natural tendencies in Scripture and puts these stipulations in because He wants us to get the most out of what He has made. It is wrong to say God only cares about our happiness, but it is just as wrong to say our happiness matters nothing to Him. God created love and sex and marriage for us to enjoy it as well and we should. Marriage done right will have us living more holy lives and in those lives finding more joy in one another and in God.

As we go through Scripture looking at marriage and divorce, keep this in mind. We are talking about the sacred. Marriage and sex are sacred because they come from a God who is sacred and they involve two people who are meant to be sacred together and bring up holiness in the next generation.

I hope this clears up matters for readers and my apologies for any bad phrasing on my part yesterday.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)