Mar 11, 2023 2:39 PM
The Bible uses the word “fornication,” or “sexual immorality” as it’s often phrased in modern translations.
What’s immoral about sexual immorality?
The following is an excerpt from Chapter 6, “The Trap Closes."
It is worth pausing at this point to explain what is meant by the term “sexual immorality,” what used to be called fornication, a word derived from the Greek word porneia used in the New Testament. Sex (the act and all the feelings attendant to it) is not immoral, but neither is it morally neutral. There are both moral and immoral uses of sex—and almost everyone thinks so. It is a common but mistaken belief that the sexual revolution established the idea that anything that can be done may be done and everything is permitted.
There are people who express that philosophy; however, they usually only do so for a limited period in their lives, but then by their own admission they “grow up.” Even people who cheat do not want to be cheated on. The sexual revolution did not do away with morality but shifted its center of gravity from God to the self. This is all well and good so long as the self is cooperating (intentionally or not) with the wisdom God has embedded in his creation (see Chapter 2). The self, however, is not a stable platform for morality. The boundaries of self-oriented morality are indefinite, subjective, and tend to shift frequently. Wisdom, therefore, will seek to understand why God in his commandments blesses some kinds of sexual activity and prohibits others.
The guiding principle of sexual morality is not, as some might think, the seventh commandment: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” There is a more elemental principle involved. Jesus clarified it when he was asked about the issue of divorce. He directed his questioners not to a commandment, but to God’s purposes in creation: “From the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and be united to his wife; and they two shall be one flesh.” (Mark 10:6-8. See also Matthew 19:4,5.)
The last of all beings to be created, humans were made int the biological likeness of animals, yet also in the very image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26,27). At the very least that means that biology is not the whole story of our lives. We were given the ability to choose how to direct our biological drives—whether for better or worse. Moreover, according to Jesus, God decreed marriage as the primal institution of humanity. There is deliberation, choice, and commitment: “For this cause shall a man leave…and be united to his wife.” Thus the pairing of a man and woman is not merely a mating, even a mating for life. It is much more than that: “They two shall be one flesh.”
The marriage bond is the foundation of every other relationship and all social order. Out of it grow relationships between parents and children, brothers and sisters, relatives and neighbors, and so on. Sex is only a part of the marriage bond, but it is a crucial part, and also one that the possibly the most vulnerable because of the volatile nature of sexual desire. At its core, then, sexual immorality is an attack on the marriage bond: whether to weaken it before a marriage begins or even is contemplated; or to break it after a marriage has been made; or to discredit and devalue marriage as a social institution.
Copyright © 2015 by Garry D. Nation. All rights reserved.