Scripture: Song of Songs 7:11-13; Matthew 19:3-9
Our sermon series during the fall is called Parallax. A parallax is when two people are looking at the exact same thing, but they are seeing it in completely different ways. The goal of this series is to explore how this is true of the Bible. This Sunday, Judy and I will be preaching about whether God only approves of sex in marriage for the purpose of procreation or whether God deems our sexuality as something to be enjoyed outside of those parameters.
In the scripture from Matthew, Jesus is talking about marriage being between a man and woman. Marriage, in Jesus’ day, was very different from how we know marriage today in America. Humans first started marrying each other around 10,000 years ago (about the same time that humans began claiming land ownership). Marriage was not about love. It was about making your family stronger by forming alliances. This was still very much the purpose of marriage when Jesus was alive.
Once your child was married, the sole purpose of that couple was to produce children. The marriage was a license to procreate. This is why Jesus quotes from the book of Genesis: the two shall become one flesh, that concept of one flesh is referring to the procreative act because it is from the DNA of these two people that they create one flesh, their offspring.
Does this understanding of marriage still make sense in a world where our society has changed greatly regarding the normative behaviors concerning both sex and marriage? We no longer need to arrange a marriage to protect fortune or land or religion. Indeed, an increasing number of young people don’t feel any need to get married at all. Enjoying sex before marriage is no longer taboo as it once was and birth control makes it generally safer to be sexually active without marriage. Indeed, the scripture from Song of Songs celebrates the pleasure of sexuality. It also opens the door to the idea of being in a relationship anchored in love as opposed to an arranged marriage. The whole book is a song of deep love.
So which is it? Does God only allow for sex inside of marriage for procreation or does God allow for sex as a pleasurable experience with no procreative intentions outside of marriage? You’ll have to come on Sunday to find out! I hope you have a wonderful and restful weekend. I’ll see you on Sunday!