April 2, 2014

A Biblical View of Marriage and Sexuality

Sexuality and marriage have been distorted in our contemporary culture. This is a result of false religion which produces self-centred, self-gratifying perversion. But true biblical faith will lead to a proper, fulfilling and other-centred view of sex within marriage which reflects the beauty, sanctity and joy of God.

The agents of a revived paganism have their incendiaries laid within the public school curriculum, the media, the entertainment industry and throughout the corridors of political power and cultural life.  Adultery, fornication, co-habitation, homosexuality, bi-sexuality, pan-sexual androgyny and an ever-expanding list of other perversions are the norm.  Aborted children are offered as ‘sacrifices’ to the sacred feminine who demands total emancipation and self-realization.  ’50 Shades’ of the pornographic is everywhere marketed, trapping the young in debilitating addiction.  Gender identities are multiplied exponentially in homage to any sexual predilection.  Just as biblical marriage serves as a symbol and sign of the gospel, homosexual ‘marriage’ functions as the new sexual sacrament for the re-envisioning of God and human identity.  Christians are cast as ignorant bigots, or mentally ill resisters of this ‘new’ liberation from moral restraint, and persecuted.

But there is nothing essentially new here; it was all featured in the ancient pagan world.

Sex and the History of Christianity

Contrary to populist opinion, the scriptures everywhere encourage sexual intimacy in marriage as a God-given blessing.

Admittedly, some of the Church Fathers, under the influence of Gnostic, Manichean and Neo-Platonist philosophies, espoused an asceticism that reckoned sex a mere sop to materially-minded, less ‘spiritual’ believers.  But the Reformation’s refocus on Scripture saw the elevation of sexual intimacy and marriage.

The neo-puritanism of the Victorian era, marked by prudery and frigidity, was actually a product of the anti-Christian ‘Enlightenment’ and bore little resemblance to authentic puritanism.  Humanistic rationalism exalted reasoning and denigrated other aspects of the human person.  The enlightenment man, viewing himself as ‘incarnate reason’, patronized, degraded and subjugated women as irrational, inferior beings – mere ornaments.

This subtle contempt for women sparked the women’s rights movement which, while redressing genuine wrongs, morphed into radical feminism, setting the sexes in an antagonistic relationship. 

The twentieth century then, in reaction to Victorianism, experienced a radical pagan revolution in sexuality that abandoned former mores, including fidelity in marriage. 

The Biblical Vision of Sex and Marriage                                           

The attempt for man to be as God is clearly manifest in his rejection of God’s pattern for sexual expression.  Only as we understand the biblical picture of marriage as relational intimacy within diversity, can we begin to understand the beauty, sanctity and joy of sexuality as a reflection of the community of love in the Godhead.  True religion will lead to a proper, fulfilling and ‘other’-centred view of sex; false religion will produce self-centred, self-gratifying perversion.  As men and women seek to exalt themselves, the spirit of transgression becomes a religious principle; sexual vice becomes an object of worship.

But the Christian faith gives us a pure, satisfying and demonstrably stable and rewarding context for sexual expression.  Genesis affirms the equality and complementarity of the sexes.  We are told “it is not good for man to be alone” for we are social beings made in God’s image, with the capacity to love and to be loved.  The two become “one flesh” in sexual union, their consummated love the means to pro-creation.

“What God has joined together, let man not separate” Jesus declared (Matthew 19:4-6), but our culture today is seeking to separate, both socially and ontologically, what God has joined.   

Darwin, de Sade and the roots of today’s sexual revolution

The West’s departure from the biblical view of marriage and sex finds its roots in the falsely-labelled Enlightenment (actually a pagan revival) when a concerted effort was made to define everything in terms of man with his reason the measure of all things, including sexuality.  This project was greatly accelerated by two influential figures.

Charles Darwin oversaw the re-emergence of evolution as the way of defining man and the universe.

Socio-biologists and evolutionary psychologists (behaviourists) appeal to Darwinism in nominating sex and reproduction the principal determinants of human behaviour, freeing man to act according to the dictates of ‘nature’.

This biological determinism has led to radical moral relativism and the collapse of standards of justice, criminality, human responsibility and normative sexual conduct.  Homosexuality is justified on the basis that it is ‘natural’. 

The second figure who has greatly influenced the sexual revolution and spirit of the age is the Marquis de Sade, born 1740, the French aristocrat from whom we derive the term sadism.

Most of the things celebrated by de Sade are publicly practiced and advocated today.  One social critic sums up his influence:

‘The world of Sade is all around us.  It colours our media, television and the films.  It is an undercurrent in modern life…it appears everywhere in what Gallagher has termed our pornographic culture, in which sex is separated from the family and pro-creation and reduced to irresponsible pleasure… we miss the meaning of much of the 20th Century if we neglect the relationship between the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ pornography of our time and the spirit of revolution.  Its premise is also that of the Marquis de Sade: abolish God and law, reduce all things to equality, and man will then be free to enjoy himself.’[1]   

Conclusion: The way forward

Although the homosexuality promoted by de Sade is only one sexual sin amongst many, the activists’ influence in culture today has made it a front line issue in the battle for the preservation of not only freedom of speech but the very idea of normative human identity, sexuality, gender and family.  The relentless assault on the family in a culture of sexual license and homoerotic propaganda is producing a generation with no knowledge of family. 

We live in a dying culture.  Our calling, in the midst of this self-destructive impulse and will to death, is both to declare God’s righteous judgement upon sin and to speak the word of life, health, strength, truth and righteousness through the gospel, by which all things are made new.  Moreover, we must live it out consistently for our world to see clearly that there is a better way, a way that leads to life, health and peace, not death and judgment.


For a more detailed treatment of this subject please refer to Jubilee 2013 Spring.



[1] For a study of de Sade’s thinking and its effect upon our culture see, R. J. Rushdoony, Noble Savages: Exposing the worldview of the pornographers and their war against Christian civilization (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 2005).

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