Church of God, New World Ministries

Love, Marriage And Sex - Part Five

Was Sex Really Necessary?

Marriage and family life are necessary in humans because babies and growing children need the tender care, loving instruction, discipline and warm affection of a father and a mother.

But there is another equally vital need for the marriage relationship within the family and home. And this vital need required a right sexual relationship totally unrecognized today. So we ask: Could not God have devised some other means of generation than sex? And would not the marriage and family relationship be happier without sex?

The formulators of early Christian thought would have answered the above two questions in the affirmative. Referring to these founders of traditional teachings Edward Gibbon says, in chapter 15 of his famous The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: “The chaste severity of the fathers in whatever related to the commerce of the sexes flowed from the same principle – their abhorrence of every enjoyment which might gratify the sensual, and degrade the spiritual nature of man.”

Their favorite opinion, continues Mr. Gibbon, was that if there had been no “fall,” Adam would have lived forever in a state of virgin purity. Paradise might have been peopled, not by “degrading” sex, but by some harmless mode of vegetation.

Apparently God made a terrible mistake when He created sex. That is, in the “chaste severity” thinking of those Catholic fathers!

“By them” continues Mr. Gibbon, “the use of marriage was permitted only to the fallen posterity, as a necessary expedient to continue the human species.”

Mr. Gibbon speaks of these men, as “unwilling to approve an institution (marriage) which they were compelled to tolerate.” And, further, “Since desire was imputed as a crime, and marriage was tolerated as a defect, it was consistent with the same principles to consider as state of celibacy as the nearest approach to the Divine perfection.”

Poor souls! Ignorant of the biblical revelation that God is a Family – ignorant of the truth of the Kingdom of God – these men misunderstood the very God-plane relationship of the Eternal! The fruits of that teaching have been an indescribably enormous mountain of human woe and misery!

What was wrong about marriage, they reasoned, was not the ceremony or the state of marriage, but the use of sex in marriage! How much better would marriage have been, without sex? And that is the big question to be settled once and for all in this article! Was sex necessary for the God-plane marriage and family relationship? Could we not have had these without sex?

Why was sex necessary, anyway? Why not some intellectual way, free from passion and sex, of producing offspring?

This pagan concept was Satan-inspired (I Tim. 4:1-3). It simply means this:

Satan is an individual being, with no power to reproduce himself. Satan is deprived of family relationship. God, on the other hand, is the divine Family – Father, Son and those begotten by the Holy Spirit to be born into it. God has bestowed on mankind the privileges of family, and of reproducing our kind, bringing our human offspring into our human families.

Satan resents this! So Satan palms himself off as the god of this world (II Cor. 4:4). The true God – the Eternal Creator – pictures Himself, in His Word, as the divine Family, and bestows on man the privileges of reproduction and family relationship. Satan represents God’s system of reproduction as being wrong. He deceived the world for hundreds of years into believing marital love through sex is a corroding, contaminating thing.

Today, worldwide revolt has set in against the repressive “chaste severity” of the “fathers.” The formulators of the modern permissiveness see only one thing – that repression, passively adopted but not practiced by Protestants, became intolerable. The sex-is-evil attitude had to go.

The medieval concept down-graded the God-plane marriage and family relationship below asceticism. The “New Morality” threatens to abolish these divine institutions! Satan was subtilely deceiving the medieval world. He is just as cunningly deceiving the “New Morality” modern world today!

Instead of coming to the true meaning and purposes and right uses of sex, they blindly swung to the opposite extreme of declaring any use of sex is good – not evil! Therefore, says the modern revolt: “Let’s use it – freely – in or out of marriage – perverted or otherwise down with all restraints! Let’s live it up!”

So, in the present moral rebellion, labeling immorality “the New Morality,” marriage has lost whatever meaning or sanctity it had. Its very existence is threatened.

Now we have seen, in the preceding articles in this series, that there is vital and deep-rooted meaning to the marriage institution, and to the establishment of home and family life. But the big question of the present article is: Was sex really necessary for the high and noble God-plane relationship of the marriage state, and the institution of home and family? Could not these have been more enjoyable, more pure and clean, more righteous – and better for humanity – without sex?

To answer this big question about sex, we need to look further into the family relationship that constitutes the Kingdom of God, and the betrothal relationship between Christ and the Church.

God has given mankind the institutions of marriage, and family to prepare us for an eternity of happiness and joy in His Kingdom – His Family! That basis is love!

Of all the character attributes of God, the very first, greatest and most important is love! Above all, God is love (I John 4:8, 16)! The very first of the attributes of God – expressed in the fruits of His Holy Spirit in man – is love (Gal. 5:22). When this very God-life is infused within us, by His Spirit, it is “the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 5:5).

Thus, in first begetting us, God infuses within us the divine gift of His love! The divine Family relationship is a love relationship. The tie that holds the divine Family together is the tie of love!

To those thus begotten of God, converted by His Spirit, Christ says through John “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Sons of God. Beloved, now are we the sons of God (begotten), and it doth not yet appear what we shall be (when born): but we know that, when he (Christ) shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (I John 3:1-2).

Even now, converted begotten sons of God have spiritual fellowship with the Father and with the Son, Christ (I John 1:3). So the family relationship, both on the divine plane, and in the human type, now, it a love relationship – and God implants within His begotten children His divine love to equip them for that Divine Love Relationship.

Likewise, the betrothal husband-and-wife-to-be relationship between Christ and the Church is a love relationship.

Notice, again, God’s teaching that marriage on the present human level is to be a love relationship, just as is Christ’s relationship to His Church.

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh” (Eph. 5:25-31).

For what cause shall a man marry a wife? For what purposes? For that of love!

The betrothal relationship between Christ and the Church – of which marriage between humans is the type – is a love relationship. Husbands are to love their wives “even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself or it.”

But notice again! To Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, God gave sex as the cause for marriage – as did Jesus in Matthew 19: “He made them male and female, and said, for this cause” shall a man and woman marry (v. 4-5). Because of sex they shall marry.

So we have the two scriptural reasons for marriage – for love, and because of sex. These are not two contradictory reasons. They blend into one – to express love through sex.

Sex was created, not only as the means of reproduction and bringing about a family, but, in humans, as a means of expressing love in marriage.

So again we ask, just what is love? And again we answer, the world does not know!

There is more than one kind of love. The Greeks had three words for it – each with a different shade of meaning.

In today’s modern world, the meaning of love has been all but lost. It has been so romanticized, so confused with lust, that people carelessly call any sex desire or sex use love. Usually this is lust.

Today nearly all popular songs are falsely supposed to sing about love. Motion pictures, television, novels – all confuse and eroticize love and induce society to accept lust in the name of love.

The Greeks are more definitely expressive. They use three words that define love more accurately.

  1. First is agape, which is moral or spiritual love. This is the love God expresses toward humanity. It is the divine, spiritual love, supplied by God’s Holy Spirit. The natural and unconverted man does not have this love! But God longs to fill him with it –if he will surrender and believe!

  2. Second is philia and a related form, Philadelphia. This is the love of friendship – brotherly love, love of parents or child.

  3. Third is eros, which refers to sexual love between husband and wife. It means love, not lust. The Greek language uses a different word for lust. Eros, however, is a love expressed physically, not spiritually.

Just what, then, is love? If we had to define love in four words, we would say, “Love is an unselfish outgoing concern” for the good and welfare of the one loved. Love is primarily on the giving, serving sharing side of the fence, not on the getting, taking, factional, striving side. It is not selfish.

God is love. Consider how God expressed love toward us who are humans. Yes, even those who are hostile and rebellious toward God. “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Jesus Christ is God – one of the divine Persons who composed the God Family. Notice how Christ manifested love: “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us . . . . . when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rom. 5:8, 10).

How did Jesus Christ express His love for the Church? The scripture has been quoted above, He gave Himself for it!

Love is unselfish. It is not an emotion, though it may be expressed with an emotional content. True love combines the rational aspect of outgoing concern – desire to help, serve, give or share – along with sincere concerned affectionate feeling.

William Graham Cole, in his book Sex in Christianity and Psychoanalysis, gives an excellent analysis of love.  He draws an interesting distinction between true mature love and infantile love. The latter is primarily emotional, thoughtlessly selfish, seeking its own gratification. Like “puppy love.” It does not love another as he is, or for what he is, but as he is imagined or romantically desired to be.

“Illusion,” says Dr. Cole, “is the standard diet of infantile love. It is, as the poets say, blind, Cupid appears appropriately enough in diapers.”

Mature love, says Dr. Cole, is not blind. “It has progressed from pabulum to porterhouse.”

Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” That is a true statement, of which nearly all humans are ignorant. Carnal humanity is bent on getting, taking, having. The average person, selfishly, is primarily interested in gratifying the desires of his five senses, with no concern for others.

The five senses do cry out for gratification. We humans are composed of flesh – mortal flesh, matter. We can receive pleasurable sensations through these five senses. “In their chaste severity” the early “Christian fathers” deemed any pleasurable sensation or experience through the senses, to be sinful. That is emphatically not true! It depends on the attitude of mind. If it is covetous, lustful, selfish, it is sinful. But if not, it may be beneficial.

God even tells us, in His Word, that our senses should be exercised by use, so that we can distinguish good from evil (Heb. 5:14). Our senses were put within our bodies to be used, but not misused.

God created us so that we must eat food to live. He equipped us with the sense of taste. God gave us this sense so that we might enjoy the necessity of eating. We should, therefore, exercise our senses to distinguish true, natural, health-building food from those false foods that destroy health – and then give God thanks, and really enjoy the eating!

In like manner God made it possible for us to receive great pleasure and enjoyment of the most upbuilding and wholesome kind from the sense of sight. He gave us the faculty for appreciating the beautiful. But a man can misuse his sense of sight by looking lustfully at a woman.

God equipped humans with the sense of hearing. How much inspiring, uplifting, pleasurable enjoyment we receive from beautiful music? But of course, this sense, too, may be used for good or for evil. Glorious music was actually created in the archangel we call Lucifer. But when, in pride and greed, his whole character changed, and he fell from his estate of perfection to become Satan, he became corrupted and perverted in all his ways (Ezk. 28:13, 17). Satan is the author of perverted, discordant, degenerated modern music, of a wail, a dirge, a moan, a squawk or a rhythmic erotic fast beat.

In love, God equipped humans with the five physical senses, to supply man with wholesome enjoyment and pleasure! But the use of these senses can be turned in the wrong direction! The privilege carries with it the obligation of responsibility. This is part of the character-building process.

We repeat! Sin is not the thing – but the wrong use of the thing! God intended man to be happy! It is God’s will that we enjoy life – that it be pleasurable, satisfying, wholesome, rewarding! But God gave us minds – and made His Word available – to distinguish the true values from the false! Not to decide, in our own minds, what our selfish or lustful desires would like to make right –but to distinguish what God reveals He has made right.

The right use of the five senses brings enjoyable, pleasurable sensations that are uplifting, constructive, beneficial – not only to the self, but to others. The wrong and sinful use of the senses also may produce pleasurable sensations, but these wrong uses are psychologically, spiritually and physically destructive and harmful – not only to the self, but often also to others.

It is a matter of attitude! How may we humans know which use is right, and which is wrong? BY THE LAW OF GOD!

God’s law is a way of life. It guides actions and uses in a definite direction – always constructive upbuilding, beneficial. That way always is the way of love, the way of unselfish, outgoing concern, the way of sharing what is enjoyable.

Sin is the transgression of that way! Sin travels in the direction of vanity, greed – inflowing selfish gratification, hostility toward God and man. It wants to be served, not to serve. To be helped, not to help. To get, not to give.

The whole law of God is summed up in one word – LOVE! And it requires love expressed in action to fulfill the law (Rom. 13: 8, 10).

But this law-principle of love is subdivided into the two great commandments – love toward God, and love toward neighbor. The first four of the Ten Commandments define love toward God. The last six tell us how to love neighbor. Love toward neighbor is not altogether outgoing concern. It is also a sharing with neighbor – “Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself” of course that is a lot of love!

It is human to love your own self. That requires no effort – no character. But what is not human nature is to love your neighbor equally! That requires recognition by an intelligent mind of the true values – and it requires the exercise of will and self-discipline and character!

Now we are approaching the real answer to the big question of this article.

Consider! The law allows you to love yourself equally with your neighbor. But not God! It requires you to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength!

How, then, may a person love God? Actually, the natural unconverted man CANNOT! Take, at random, any man – any woman – you might meet on a busy street – or out on a country lane. Has he the ability to love God far more than self – with all his heart, mind, soul and strength? Does the average person love God that much? What’s the answer?

God’s Word answers, “We love him, because he first loved us” (I John 4:19).The we here is addressed to converted Christians. A human can only really and truly love God with the very love that we first must receive from Him! This is the spiritual divine love God gives us by the Holy Spirit! But we must first repent – surrender unconditionally to live God’s way – turn from our former contrary way - and truly believe in Christ, accepting Him as personal Savior.

When we love God, it is merely His own love, on a return circuit, flowing on back to Him again! God’s Spirit is active – flowing.

So the first great commandment – to be kept in its complete and true spiritual sense requires a love man simply doesn’t have! Of course, God longs to give every man that love, and fill him with it! But very few are willing!

Now consider two extremes:

  1. Love toward your neighbor is furthest from any natural affection – for instance, a recognized enemy. Here is Jesus’ teaching of fulfilling the law toward him: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for (not against) them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). Does the natural, unconverted man have that kind of love? The world doesn’t consider that teaching of Jesus very practical – because the world is empty of that kind of love.

  2. At the other extreme, two categories of neighbor closest to you are singled out in the New Testament for special love. One of these categories is one’s neighbors closest to him spiritually – his brethren in Christ. Many scriptures put emphasis on a special love for these. Here again, a love is required that is totally absent in unregenerate man. But, in that case, they are not brethren in Christ unless both are in Christ – have received God’s Holy Spirit! Otherwise they are none of His (Rom. 8:9)!

The other of these, singled out in the New Testament for special love is the neighbor closest to you physically – your husband or wife?

And right here is the big point, vitally important, that probably never before entered your mind!

Four categories have just been cited – love to God, and (of love to neighbor) your enemy, your true fellow Christians and your marital mate.

Man simply is not born with – does not have – the divine spiritual love required for the first three of those four categories! -  to love God, enemy and fellow Christian spiritually, in the manner the law requires! But when we come to the fourth category – marriage – we find an altogether different situation!

Even here, when, in the New Testament, the command is given to those in the Church, “Husbands, love your wives,” the word “love” in the original Greek in which the apostle Paul wrote it, is not eros, but is agape, which is the divine love that emanates from God!

The true Christian husband loves his wife, not only in the physical and natural sense possible for a natural, yet unconverted, person – but also with a special spiritual love!

But God well knew that an infinitesimal percentage of humans, from Adam and Eve to now, would be called by God and yield themselves to receive that divine love of God. And, even so, it is then mingled with the physical love God has made possible through sex!

Now we are ready for the answer to this article’s big question. We need, now, to understand some of the facts of life that few ever grasp!

God is a Spirit. But God did not create humans out of spirit! To have done so would have defeated God’s whole grand purpose! So man is physical flesh – made from matter, the dust of the ground!

Of the three kinds of love, expressed by the three Greek words agape, philia and eros, the natural man is capable of expressing  only the last two types of love. There is a certain selfish element in the philia love – love for children, parents or family. We may have this love for those of “our club,” “our team,” “our group.” That is actually, to coin a phrase, love of one’s own  self.” That often is a factional-type love, one of the “works of the flesh” of Gal. 5:19-21.

Why did not God design things so that married humans would love each other with God’s spiritual love –without the physical love of sex? Simply because God deemed it necessary to make man, for now, of physical matter.

In His divine wisdom, God knew that His supreme purpose required that man be made, first, on the material level – a physical matter. Being physical, we were made with the five physical senses.

It was God’s purpose that humans, unlike animals, angels or any other living beings, enjoy the blessings of marriage and family relationships – actual God-plane relationships. The marriage relationship, as explained, had to be a love relationship. But human, fleshy man is not born with spiritual love. Man’s comprehension of mind – is confined, naturally, to the physical level, through the senses. Unconverted man can express only physical love – and, in marriage through sex. The first man, Adam, was created – and we were all born – with one “human” spirit that imparts physical intellect to the brain. But man was made to need another spirit – the Holy Spirit of God. Yet only the few specially and individually called by God, have God’s Spirit, and with it the agape love.

Man is given a choice! So he had full ability to turn physical sex love in the wrong direction of lust. He has capability to discern – to choose and what he sows he shall reap! Making man a physical being, it was still God’s design to make possible our greatest happiness.

Of all the truly enjoyable experiences received through the five senses, perhaps the most intense and supremely gratifying – the very pinnacle of sheer exhilaration – is that received in the sex act of expressing love for the one who is dearest of all people on earth, and to whom one had been joined in blessed and holy wedlock by God Himself!

Sex was created to stimulate pure romantic attraction and love between a man and a woman properly mated for marriage: to inspire them with desire to share their lives, their problems, their trials and troubles, their hopes and successes together; to enjoy the planning and building together of a happy home; and to rear a happy family.

God designed sex to produce pure, righteous, clean, holy and rich blessings! He made it to be a loving bond that not only would inspire a properly mated couple to marry, but that would preserve that marriage in love. Sex should be the energizing magnet to draw constantly closer and closer together with increasing love a husband and wife – to heal over those little irritations, disturbances or misunderstanding that do occur.

    Yet, this bond that should bind the marriage tightly together is also the cord that, misused and perverted, severs more marriages than all other causes combined.  Misused, it can bring nightmarish divorces, wreck homes and lives, leave children without parents, spawn juvenile delinquents!

Let’s save sex for marriage. Let’s turn to the way of all the blissful joys and blessings God made possible, and intended!

  Web Site Artwork Credits
© 2023 Church of God, New World Ministries
P.O. Box 770 New Tazewell, TN 37824       (423) 626-0553