After several great questions were posed in response to comments made about “sexuality” in my last post, I decided to dedicate another post to the issue.
Misunderstandings about the nature and purposes of our “sexuality” abound, and probably deserving of more attention than many ministries and churches can to give.
If you wish to better understand the context of this post, read “Don’t Pray Together and Other Bad Dating Advice for Christians” to get caught up on the conversation.
AS A MATTER OF FACT, I AM NOT A “DUALIST!”
There were several comments and emails that took issue with what I wrote concerning our “sex drive” (their words, not mine). Rightly uncomfortable, these discerning individuals were concerned that I supported the idea that our physical impulse toward sex was a/the determining factor in driving us toward marriage.
I intentionally chose to avoid the use of the term “sex drive” because, by locating our “impulses” in biology alone, we fall into a gross reductionism. Our sexuality is every bit as spiritual as it is physical, and to swing too far one way or the other would be to fall into an heretical dualism — with the spiritual being “good” and the physical “bad” (for Christians) and vice-versa (for Secularists).
As each camp reacts to the other, the pendulum continues to swing back and forth between extremes and perverts God’s purposes for sexuality. Our sexuality is both physical and spiritual — not 50/50, but 100/100.
I’M NOT A “DEIST” EITHER!
I do not believe that God is a purely transcendent “watchmaker” that meticulously crafted a giant machine of which we are a part, wound it up, stood back, and let it go. Likewise, I am not teaching that God created our sexuality as some kind of natural law under which we are governed. God does not wind us up, stand back and let us go with the intention of our pre-programmed sexual impulses accomplishing its intended purpose.
God is both transcendent AND immanent.
On the one hand, He is Holy and Sovereign, standing outside of His creation as its mighty Creator and Sustainer. On the other hand, He is a personal God who enters our world and invites us into an intimate relationship with Himself. Our sexuality is a reflection of both His transcendence AND HIs immanence.
SO…IS GOD A SEXUAL BEING?
With respect to the God’s transcendence, our sexuality testifies with the rest of creation that God is a wise, intelligent, sovereign, powerful Creator who has fashioned us with indescribable precision.
Simultaneously, we reflect the transcendent impulse with which the Creator moves toward us, His creation. He invites us to be connected to Him in close community — not because He is lacking in anything, but because He is lacking in nothing! God offers Himself to us out of the wellspring of His perfection. His act of giving himself away to others in the context of intimate relationship, as seen most definitively by the God-man Jesus, serves as the blueprint for our own relationships.
Moreover, the Bible is full of sexual language describing the loving impulse with which He pursues us and the intimacy with which we will know Him!
Consider Hosea 2:14-20:
14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. 15 And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
16 “And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal’… 19 And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.
“You shall know the Lord!” What does God mean by “know” Him? God means that God’s people will know Him with more than a cognitive knowledge. According to verse 16, He means that we will know Him as a man or a woman knows a spouse. I mean, there’s knowing…and there’s knowing! God wants us to KNOW Him! WHOA! Scandalous!
Therefore, the purpose behind our sexuality is two-fold: That we might know God and make Him known.
John Piper aptly conveys this reality when he writes:
“God created us in his image, male and female, with personhood and sexual passions so that when he comes to us in this world there would be these powerful words and images to describe the promises and the pleasures of our covenant relationship with him through Christ.
God made us powerfully sexual so that he would be more deeply knowable. We were given the power to know each other sexually so that we might have some hint of what it will be like to know Christ supremely.
Therefore, all misuses of our sexuality (adultery, fornication, illicit fantasies, masturbation, pornography, homosexual behavior, rape, sexual child abuse, bestiality, exhibitionism, and so on) distort the true knowledge of God. God means for human sexual life to be a pointer and foretaste of our relationship with him.“
Agree? Disagree? Anything to add? Leave your comments below.