By Marc Engelhardt –
This post continues the recaps from Christ in Common, which is a discipleship discussion that takes place in my context. Christ in Common is a good example of how we purposefully approach the discipleship triad of Foundation, Worldview, and Practice. Remember, as recaps, these posts hit highlights of what the group discussed in person, so they are short and may seem to make some jumps occasionally. If you pull out the Word and study the Foundation mentioned, you should be able to fill most gaps.
Building off the first session, “Sex is not a Four Letter Word,” we now take a look at the effect that sex has on us. To do so, we start with Jesus being questioned about divorce in Mark 10:2-12. Jesus is asked about whether or not divorce is OK. The answer Jesus gives is that because of the hardness of their hearts, Moses allowed them to divorce. In other words, because of sin, Moses gave them a system of divorce to prevent further sin. Jesus makes it clear that divorce actually messes with the way God created the world to work. He then quotes a section from Genesis and adds that once the oneness God created happens, people are not to break that bond. He goes on to explain to his disciples that to bond with another person other than your first bond is in fact adultery. (The part about divorce and adultery is covered in a later session)
Jesus quotes Genesis, so we go there next. In Genesis 2:18-25, we see that there is no suitable helper found in creation for Adam, and he is alone. God says that isn’t good. So, God puts Adam to sleep, takes a piece of Adam, and creates Eve from that piece. The imagery here is wonderful: Adam is alone, so God takes part of him, making him in a way incomplete. God makes woman from that piece, so Eve (the first woman) is actually part of Adam.
The response Adam has when he meets Eve is that she is special like him, unlike the rest of the animals. Now he is no longer alone. The passage goes on to say that because Adam and Eve were made in this fashion, created for each other, from each other, the way the world works is a man and woman come together, start their own household, and hold fast to each other becoming one flesh. That last bit means to have sex. Jesus says all of this describes marriage as it was intended from the beginning.
In response to a question about marriage and divorce, Jesus gives great insight about sex. Sex is connected to marriage. It is part of the marital bond. The bond that sex creates between and man and woman is to be lifelong, because they have become one. To better understand this “oneness,” we talked about duct tape.
Duct tape is really sticky. In fact, when you stick duct tape to something, it is really hard to pull off, although it can be done. When it is pulled off, part of what the tape was stuck to is left on the sticky part of the tape. And part of the sticky part of the tape is left on what it was stuck to. Sex for humans is like duct tape. Sex bonds us to another, sticky side to sticky side. It is only supposed to happen within marriage because it makes us one with the other tape.
When the tape is pulled apart, part of us is left, and part of the other person is bonded to us. We are changed. The other person is changed. We are also a little less sticky than before. The more times tape is stuck down and pulled off, the more stuff gets stuck to it, the less sticky it becomes. The same happens for us in connection to doing sexual things with multiple partners throughout life. The real tragedy here is that when someone wants to have a marital bond with another after repeatedly sticking their tape to things, it is more difficult because their tape is full of junk from the past.
It isn’t just the act of sex that creates the bond. Sex is special. Sexual things create a bond and stick to our tape in different degrees. More on that in later sessions. For now, we have several worldviews with which to work from this foundation and the first is sex is linked to marriage because sex makes a man and a woman one. Sex can be separated from marriage, but not from the effect it has that is intended for marriage, which is the bond it creates. Taking sex out of the context of marriage creates all types of problems for us. At the same time, when used the way it is intended, sex reinforces the marital bond and is awesome.
Practically, then, sex is a relationship strengthener for marriage. It is about the other, so use it to strengthen your oneness. At the same time, we all need to be aware of what we are bonding ourselves to, since sex has consequences beyond the momentary physical enjoyment. For our own protection and the enjoyment of creation, it is best to save sex for our marital relationship alone.