“The Christian Interpretation of Sex” by Otto Piper

Otto Piper was a German refugee (married to a Jew) who landed in Princeton as a professor. He wrote this book in 1941. Here are some highlights: (remember he is writing in 1941)

“it has become a cheap pleasure, insofar as it is put on the same level as eating and drinking, and indeed must often serve as a substitute for other bodily enjoyments, because it is the only one that can be obtained gratis (the “roast joint of the poor”). It must also be said that it is already noticeable, after only two decades of experiment, that Society does not yet match its new freedom.”

He gives us a history. “Life and Nature are regarded as pervaded, and in part dominated, by supranatural forces,… The mysterious and “numinous” character of these forces demands the observance of strict rules in their usage, and makes contact with them dangerous and wicked at certain times or in certain circumstaances (“tabu”).

“The essentially complementary character of man and woman…The story of creation of Eve from Adam’s rib (Gen 2:21) makes it plain that…man and woman are regarded as essentially belonging to each other. Sexual intercourse is, therefore, not an accidental and temporarty event in life of two persons; rather, it institutes a genuine unity ordained by God for that purpose.”

“The essential differencde of the sexes…that in no respect can a woman be man’s equal, or man a woman’s.

“The change of nature called forth by sexual intercourse. Finally, it is the firm conviction of the Biblical writers that sexual union of man and woman brings about considerable changes in the nature of both parties…Marriage and family were therefore regarded as natural and essential bonds, and not merely as ethical or legal unions. Nor were they the products of the religious life, but the object and presupposition of religion…The inspired writers of the Bible knew from the first, and never forgot, that as far as the Divine Law was concerned moral elements were not superimposed on the life of nature and did not come in from without; they knew rather these genuine obligations of mankind were fundamentally rooted in the peucliarities of human nature as created by God.”

“The prophets, on the other hand, were taught by God that holiness is to be sought in the relations between God and man and thus must be of a personal character…The meaning attached to sex was enriched, in particular, by the metaphor, a commonplace after Hosea, of God’s marriage with His people. Thereby the relations between man and wife were lifted on to a higher plane. Similarly, it came to be understood that the core of sex relationships can be fully realized only when there is faithfulness and love; and this new understading reacted upon the relation between the worshipper and Yahweh.”

By Jesus’ day: “The Law rather than God Himself became the center of religious life, and holiness, or perfection, was interpreted as conformity with the commandments of the Mosaic Law…the main emphasis was placed not so much on the life relationship that sexual intercourse establishes between man and woman, as on single acts of sexual life that were commanded or prohibited, and on their favourable or unfavourable consequences in the actual experience of socail life.”

“Yet when Paul is enumerating the sins which will exclude us from the Kingdom of God, it is not by accident that he never omits the sexual sins, and almost always puts them in the first place. This fact does not show that he was “specially hostile to the body.” Rather it shows the insight of a man nineteen hundred years before the discovery of psychoanalysis, an insight which probed more deeply than the later into ramifications and abysses of human nature. Paul saw how any confusion in sex matters exercised a devastating influence upon the whole life of an individual and on his relations with his fellows. He saw how it enslaved the will more than do other acts…In the Pauline writings, and similarly also in I Peter, the entire scheme for regulating sex problems has another basis. It is there the combination of Old Testament therory, plus its further development in the prophets, with the new idea of Christ’s marriage with his Church. In this way, human marriage was put on a level higher than it had hetherto reached, while at the same time the provisional character of sex life was maintained. By this device the whole world of relationships between man and wife was made dependent on the single virtue of love for Christ; yet it was still possible to discuss the duties of sex life in detail.”

“Tertullian, and still more Augustine, regarded sexual desire as sinful in itself. It expressed the effort of the indiviual to disregard God’s will, and to satisfy earthly desire. Virginity, abstaining from every form of sex life, was therefore good and meritorious. The New Testament had taught that God occasionally might require believers to be eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, but that this was the perogative of certain individuals and only necessary in special circumstances. Nowhere in the New Testament is sexual abstinence viewed as a means of man’s salvation. In the Catholic Church suppression of sex life was regarded as a meritorious act, by means of which every believer could gain a special divine reward,…We must grant, of course, that the Roman Church has never been able to carry these ideas to their full logical conclusion. Its teaching on marrige and sex displays an obvious inconsistency, caused by the tension between ascetic tendencies and Biblical revelation. The Bible speaks of sex and marriage in too positive a way to allow any exegete to find in its pages a general command of sex asceticism…it (the Catholic Church) has regarded as a special favour of God when a person is enabled by the grace of God to restrain his sexual desires. Thus it is considered as certain that Christians who live in a state of virginity will receive greater rewards from God than married people.”

“In no other sphere of social life did the Reformation take up a more decisive attitude against the medieval Church than in regard to the question of marriage. Luther advised all monks and nuns to abandon their oath of virginity and celibacy, and he himself broke deliberately his own monastic vow because in his view it was contrary to the will of God as revealed in the Bible.”

“From the medieval viewpoint man, such as he is, is not good though perfectible. His life will be satisfactory, however, only when he abandons this natural life and, supported by the Church’s means of grace, enters into a spiritual sphere of life. This view considered the natural conditions of life as the main obstacle to perfection and felicty…The Reformers realized that such a conception of Nature and human life was incompatible wtih the fact that God Hismself had created them”

“marriage also attained new dignity; for since God Himself had placed sex desire in man no special sacramental grace was necessary to free marriage from the alleged sinfulness of the sex instinct. When the Church pronounced its blessing on a bridal couple it was no other that a solemn proclamation of blessing which God Himself had given to all marriage. In certain circumstances a valid Christian marriage might even be contracted without the presence of a minister of religion, or it could be solemnized by prayer offered by each of the parties without any special ceremony.”

“That is why we find contrdictions throughout Luther’s thought; on the one hand, a high estimation of the family, on the other, marriage conceived as a prophylactic against unchastity.”

“This meant, however, that, as in medieval Catholicism, sex life was again only tolerated, an inadequate appreciation which resulted in its being gradually forced into the background. It was enveloped in secrecy.”

“Five ideas are fundamental to the Biblical interpretation of sex:  1. In sexual intercourse two persons of different sex become joined in an indissoluble unity. 2. Sex is meaningful in itself, creating a specific kind of personal relationship. It does not require a justification by concomitant features, as, for instance, the posibility of propagation which it offers. 3. In sex life one attains knowledge of the inner secret of one’s own physical being. 4. In love sustained by faith sex attains its consummation and perfection. 5. Sex life is necessary and good, but not absolutely essential for a full human life.”

“There is the fact, however, that young people in particular when stirred by the first marked manifiestation of sexual attraction, mistake it for personal love. In such circumstances they are wholly indifferent to the personal worth, or worthlessness, of love, the proverbial saying rightly states that it renders blind the person affected. One of the main difficulties in many marriages, and a chief cause of the instability of many sexual relationships, rests upon this error.”

“Paul makes a very important distinction between the body (soma) and the flesh (sarx). ‘Body’ in Paul’s terminology is the whole constitution of our physical existence; not a merely passive recipient of food and environmental influences, but a self-determining, spontaneous Ego that forms itself (although in accordace with divine laws). The ‘flesh’ in turn is not merely the material that forms our physical body, muscles, nerves, sinews, bones and the like, but also the system of necessitations that areise from this fact, and that make themselves felt as impulses, desires wants and so on in the life of the Ego….But unlike ancient and modern psychology Paul does not identify sex with sexual desire. He distinguishes between sex that is an aspect of the formative will of man, and those sexual desires which aim merely at the satisfaction of the individual’s appetities. Hence he states that the body, and not the flesh, is the vehicle of sex. By this he means, in the first instance, that sex is a function of one’s total being, and not of the sex organs only. To modern readers this distinction between body and flesh may appear abstruse and practically useless. yet it is of utmost importance because it explains the fact that the two sexes differ not only bodily, but also in their mental habits. The mental differences between male and female are essential; they are not the result of incidental factors, such as education, social status or historical influences, and thus will never vanish. There is no room left for a mechanical egailtarianism of the sexes.”

“Paul on the contrary holds that while being a dual creature man is, nevertheless, a whole. There can be no rational life of man apart from his body; even in the life everlasting man requires a body, although the body of resurrection no longer will be one of mortal flesh. Thus the Biblical writers hold that it is impossible to separate a person from his sex; not only do we belong by nature to the male or female sex, but it is also inherent in our nature that sex should manifest itself in us as desire It is not the flesh the sex organs or genitals, which have sexual desires, but the self.”

“sexual sins are reprehended in the Bible not because they might harm the physical life of the individual, or impair the functioning of the sex organs, but because they are contrary to the purpose of sex as a formative, constructive force. Hence Paul can say that these sins defile the body, the whole natural existence of the individual. For sins are not merely momentary aberrations of our will. Once they have been committed they determine the whole further life of a person. Thus an indiviudal who indulges in sexual sins makes himself unable to live for the spiritual purpose for which he is created. As a result of his sexual sins, sins which originate in the body, this whole life is inevitabley subjected to desires arising out of his physcial constitution.”

“It is good for a man not to touch a woman.” The touch stands here for all the varieties of sexual relationship, because a lustful glance and sexual touch tend toward complete sexual union.”

“In the center of the Biblical interpretation of sex, we find the brief but nevertheless very pregnant saying: ‘They shall be one flesh’ (Gen. 2:24). Three main ideas are included in this expression: 1. By sexual intercourse a union between the two parties is established such as did not exist before. 2. It is a unity of the flesh, or of the body, of the entire sensuous selfhood of these persons. 3. The union creates a genuine unity, and therefore cannot be broken off.”

“Again, for the same reason, human will has no influence upon the genesis of this unity; and so the question whether I love the other partner or not does not affect the fact that this unity has been brought into being. On the other hand, if it is a unity first brought about by the act of sexual intercourse, it is different from all those unifying relationships into which we enter by birth…unity of family, reace, or mankind. It is of an altogether different kind from these to such an extent that it can enter into opposition to them: ‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother’ and shall cleave unto his wife.’ Gen 2:24”

“This unity must be understood as a unity which brings the entire natural life of the two persons into a state of mutual dependence, yet without their losing their own individuality in consequence.”

“The Bible is unambigous in saying that woman was created because God saw that it was not good for man to be alone (Gen. 2:18). The fact that the man receives a female companion, and not another male, shows that sex character and the sex desires are regarded as significant and valuable primarily from the standpoint of fellowship.”

“But the mere desire to have children could never stimulate sexual excitement. What binds the two parties together in sex intercourse is not that intention but the mutual pleasure which they find in each other.”

“That is where the real difficulty comes in about sex-teaching for the young – the fact that no other person is able to give them the knowledge desired or can alleviate their troubles. The consequence inevitbly is that the time between the development of the sex instinct and marriage is a period of peculiar difficulties and temptatins, for the only possible solution of the problem is one tha is inadmissible, the exercies of the sex functions. Three points are peculiar to knowlege obtained by sexual experience: a. it is strictly personal knowledge, b. its subject matter consists in the mutual relationship between the two parties, c. it is knowledge of an inner secret.”

“In sexual intercourse there is a mutual self-disclosure by means of which both pesons are put into the condition of mutual intuitive knowledge…What was impossible to communicate by means of words is transmitted by the mutual affection concomitant to sexual union.”

“The inner secret of sex is a mystery and not merely something private…Thus in factuality and even its transcendent character can be noticed by everybody, but its meaning remains obsure to all but a few privileged persons to whom an adequate understading has been granted by God. Even they, however, will be aware of their inability fully to penetrate into the unfathomable depths of the divine purpose underlying it. For this reason a mystery, or inner secret, must be protected not only against being shared improperly, but above all against any violation of its sacred character. This is probably the reason for the instinctive oppostion which a woman originally shows towards any sexual approach on a man’s part. She knows that the inner secret is her own property, and that she has to protect it for that very reason. In the case of the man the recognition of the inner secret is expressed in the respect with which he approaches the woman of his desire. It is a respect which is her due, not on account of her character, her achievements, her bearty, and the like, but becaue she is a woman. Chivalry shown towards women is not primarily protection given to her on account of the relative weakness of her physical frame, but awe felt for the mystery of her womanhood.”

“Because the secret of sex is such an inner secret, it cannot lose its sacred character. It may be desecrated and abused and God knows how often that happens, but wherever and whenever such things are done, those concerned always have a feeling that it ought not to be so.”

“Once a person has acquired sexual experience the metaphysical problem of one’s personal existence loses its urgency. Its place is taken by problems of personal conduct, social philosophy and questions about the world and mankind in general, until the experience of approaching old age and death force the metaphysical problem of one’s life again to the fore.”

“The mystery consists in the fact that as a male (or female) I can be nothing by myself. It is only by union of two persons of different sex that their physical existence is made meaningful. thus the unity of the flesh consists in the fact that the two persons have mutually revealed to each other the inner secret of their bodily being, and that by means of this knowledge they are now permanently and inseparabley bound together. They interpret each the other.”

“It would therefore appear that what in the first instance makes the unity of mankind questionable, the fact of the differentiation of the sexes, is converted by sexual relationship into the possibility of a unity which goes far beyond what is otherwise possible between individuals. …This is the paradox of the mystery of sex: I am created not to be an isolated individual, but rather part of a couple; and the couple has greater dignity than the two individuals as such because only through their union can they achieve what the single individual is unable to do. By sexual contact I learn that by myself I am, and I must always be, a fragment; only my partner enables me to gain my own completeness…The fact of sex makes it impossible for a person to be content with his own selfhood; he must seek a partner of the opposite sex.”

“There are three functions that the woman as woman discharges in the sexual relationship, namely, those of lover, companion and child-bearer. But on the man’s part there are not found the corresponding identical functions of lover, companion and begetter. The relation between the sexes is not of a symmetrical but of a complementary kind. For it is the very nature of the mystery of sex that two beings, in themsleves different, become a unity. In the process of sexual relationship, the man becomes conscious of himself rather as paying honour to the one who loves, as guide of a companion, as guardian of a childbearer. This is not to say that the man does not love, desire companionship or wish to be a father; but by these activities his function in the reciprocal relationship is not adequately expressed. The man is in the first instance the one who pays honour to a woman who loves. Paul calls the woman the honour of the man (I Cor. 11:7). It is, indeed, no accident that in reference to sexual relationship of human beings we customarily speak of feminine honour and its loss, but not of masculine.”

“If a man robs a girl of her honour, i.e., treats her as only an object of satisfying his lust, he loses his own honour. This is not meant primarily in a social sense, for he only rarely loses the respect of his fellows in so doing. One’s honour is very much more closely connected with one’s nature. It is possible to detect from her looks and posture whether a woman is honoured by her husband or not, and whether a husband loves his wife. Honour is a radiance which shines out of a person’s whole appearance. The fact of sexual honour makes the recprocity of the relationships plain: it is a woman’s part to protect her honour as the honour of her husband, and he dishonours himself when he robs her of her honour.”

“A woman who has no wish to be honoured because she is a woman, who regards a man only as one who brings her pleasure, destroys for herself the significance of sex intercourse. Feminine pride is, therefore, not simply pride in being a woman – possibly, indeed, a feeling of superiority to the other sex – but pride at being able to love a husband in such a way he is compelled to show her honour.”

“Finally, the woman’s part as child-bearer has its complement in the man’s part as protector. Propagation is not an act which determines the nature of the man to the same extent as child-bearing determines that of the woman. For begetting is a single act, whereas motherhood is an enduring condition.”

“This power of personal love to recognize the essence of the other person naturally must make itself felt also in the sexual relationship as soon as love and sexual attraction fuse together. In that case sexual relationship, although its nature is not changed thereby, nevertheless provides deeper insight into the inner secret of the unity of the flesh. It is this type of love that poets never tire of singing and praising and which is the dream and the hope of millions of young people in every age.”

“Because in sexual intercourse the two persons shall become one flesh, it would be absurd if the pair where to hate each other. He who loves his wife “like his own flesh” solves the problem not for himself alone, but for the two of them. For the solution of the sex problem it makes a great difference in what way the partners treat one another. Whoever thinks only of self and pleasure prevents not only himself, but also the other from attaining genuine knowledge of his or her physical being. Psychopathologists tell us, for example, that the seduction of children or the rape of a modest girl has pathological results in their future sexual consciousness and feelings. Becasue the one person in the first sexual coition had thought only of himself, a cariacature of sex life, and frequently also of the male sex as a whole, is stamped on his victim. Similarly, in many women, what is known as coldness of feeling (sexual frigidity) is only a conseuquence of the loveless manner in which a man had sexual intercourse with them for the first time. The contrary holds good where genuine love, love which is concern for the other, dominates the two persons; the one opens up to the other the entire depth of that after which his own sexual desire is striving.”

“In our analysis of sex relationships we encountered three different forms of love, namely sexual sympathy, personal love and Christian love. These are not three different instincts, but different degrees of the primitive human or animal instict of sympathy in its application to sex life. The differences are based on differences in the power of the soul. When the sexual desire so prevails over the soul that the soul can hardly make itself felt, we encounter sexual sympathy. Personal love comes into being when the soul rouses the instinct beyond the limits of a simple state of bodily attraction into the region of what is personal. Finally, where personal love reaches its own limits because the attitude of one or other of the partners is out of harmony with real values, there Christian love reveals its power. Where it reigns neither neither the sexual attraction nor the respect for the personality of the other party disappears. A new feature enters, which was not to be found in the other two forms of sympathy and which would not have been developed if love had only increased in intensity. The new element is the certitude that even in the sex relationship of man and wife we are ordained children of God.”

“For here we have one of the most characteristic differences between the two sexes; whereas a man’s desire is awakened by the mere aspect of any part of the woman’s body and often by her mere physical presence or her scent left in a room, the sight of the masculine body makes no similar impression upon a woman. What arouses her are rather the enticing, desiring, promising glances of men. In order not to call them forth, in the apostle’s opinion, she must be veiled.”

“The demonic character of sex cannot be overcome by the woman alone. This can be done only by means of the man’s affections; but here again it requires Christian love. Personal love on the one hand, moral strength and rigourism on the other may suffice in individual cases to overcome the temptation that proceeds from the woman as the sexually attractive sex. But such efforts are not effective enough to secure the monopoly of matrimony as a social institution. Hence. a non Christian society can choose only between prostitution and promiscuousness. In the first case, we have an order of society in which custom demands of the majority of women certain limits in appearance in public and in clothing; in this way they are protected against the demons. On the other hand, the remainder possess a freedom which, however, is combined with a loss of social standing. In the second instance, the restrictions have been abandoned, and the consequence is a lack of any special respect for a woman’s sexual honour. The two forms may be traced plainly through the whole history of mankind; both are to be found alike in primitive and in civilized society.”

“Only when she feels herself respected as a woman is she in a position to overcome her condition as a prostitute which is a caricature of her womanhood…we find in the story of the woman taken in adultery (John 8:2-11) he was able to administer an unanswerable rebuke to the elders; as a consequence of their own lustful and desirous glances they were guilty of the same sin as that into which the woman had fallen. In addition, he was able so to deal with the woman that his words made an impression upone her. She felt that here was one who understood the stress of sexuality, and who had overcome it for himself. As a consequence, she regained through him a woman’s sef-respect.”

“One of the essential characteristics of the sex relationship is the exclusiveness of the association which it sets up. Since sex connection fuses the two persons into a unity, neither of them can have a similar relation to any one else.”

“The idea of chivalry, for intance, means that a man invariably treats a woman, just because she is a woman, with respect and readiness to help; and that a woman has learned to trust a man and to value him for his capacity as a man, and not to regard him merely as an object of sexual desire.”

“From Hosea onwards, whenever this metaphor was employed, it was the idea of God’s love as shown in this conjugal relationship, that was in the foreground. At a time when it was legally permissible, and even customary, to dissolve a marriage on account of adultery, God’s love was felt, by contrast, to be stronger than legal considerations. Just as this love caused Hosea to hold fast to his marriage with his adulteress wife, so Yahweh would remain faithful to his covenant with Israel. Moreover, even as early as Hosea we find the idea of mutual knowledge analogous to sex knowledge (‘Thou shalt know the Lord,” Hosea 2:20) connected with this metaphor.”

“He lays particular stress upon four ideas within this realm: 1. the indissoluble unity of Christ with the Church and all its members (the same term, namely ‘cleave,’ which describes sex unity, is used, in I Cor. 6:16, of this relationship). The members of the Church are not bound to him merely by the bonds of affection, or in their thoughts; they have reached a real unity with him. 2. The love of Christ, which cannot be set aside by human sin. He loves them as whom God has chosen for him. 3. Within the limits of this relationship Christ plays the part of the husband, and the Church that of the wife (‘a chaste virgin,’ II Cor. 11:2). Hence, in faith, we know in the same way as we are known (I Cor. 13:12), corresponding to the mutuality of sexual knowledge: we know ourselves in God as God Himself in us. Therefore, the Chruch recieves His spiritual gifts as the woman recieves the man’s seed: and therefore again these gifts are not lifeless treasures to be laid aside in a drawer, but germs from which new life proceeds: the fruits of the Holy Spirit. 4. Christ and the Church cannotbe thought of separagtely from one another.”

“Further, the man receives his significance as the head of the wife from the male role of Christ in reference to the Church. Finially, on this basis alone is it possible to understand the difference in rank of the two sexes. Thus marriage of Christ with the Church makes it plain that the relation between the sexes cannot be allowed to rest upon the arbitrary personal taste or inclination of the parties, but, as a reflection of the divine nature, it is based on an objective, hierarchical order.”

“Similarly it is not rare in this realistic age to find girls who feel obliged to marry a man, or at least to give him their love, because, as they think, he cannot control himself and his feelings. They hope that their love will save him. This sentimental idea, however, leads almost without exception to disaster in marriage; such a man is simply not helped, primarily, by eroticism and sexual sympathy because this only encourages him in his self-centeredness. He finds in it only a pleasure, not the responsibility which is implied in the reciprocal character of marriage.”

“The process of sexual attraction is not something natural that incidentally has to serve some remote divine purpose but is a divine gift in itself. God uses it in order to bring men nearer to their own destination. Its value consists in the fact that through it God draws the separate individual out of his isolation and in a compelling manner sets him in relation to another. When God Himself says of Adam that ‘It is not good that man should be alone’ (Gen. 2:18), at the very beginning our Bible points to the danger which lies in the mere fact of human individuality. Nothing in God’s creation exists for itself; everything exists for everything else.”

“Rather, the inner contradiction is based in man’s sinful will which comes to expression in every department of life. Hence sexual desire or sexual pleasure is in no respect either better or worse than our other instincts or capacities. But it is correct to say that original sin comes to more conspicuous expression in sex life than in other passions such as hatred, greed, anger, the reason being that in our sex life the whole of our physical, concrete self comes to expression, and not merely some individual function as is the case with those other passions. It is this comprehensive all pervading character of sex, on the other hand, by which our physical life is enabled to regain its sanctity.”

“The exclusive desire for sexual enjoyment leads to a hedonistic conception of life; work is then despised, or it becomes a mere means of obtaining the possibility of pleasure.”

“Because the sexual intercourse of two persons means that they become one flesh or one body, the sanctification of the one spouse extends itself to the other. Hence Paul (I Cor. 7:4) and Peter (I Peter 3:1) say that even the unbelieving spouse will be sanctified by the believer…Hence, by an inner necessity, the sanctification of one spouse leads to a transformation of the sex life of the other. It follows that the sanctification of the body is not occasioned by the sex act as such, but by the transformation of sex life. Hence one person my sanctify the other by his sex even where sex intercourse is purposely avoided. There are persons who carry a pure atmosphere about with them. By their respectful and reverent attitude to the other sex such persons have a directly cleansing effect upon the relation of the sexes.”

“The unclean person is not only perverse in himself but also a danger to his neighborhood. His mere nature and existence bring confusion and poison into his environment quite apart from the way in which he exhibits his natue or conducts himself.  That is the reason why Paul deals so unconditionally with the question of the person who s committing incest (I Cor. 5)…Hence the Bible bases its valuation on sex upon two fundamental ideas: 1. sex compels the separate indiviual to overcome his isolation, in which he was incapable of fulfilling his place in God’s creation; and 2. by virtue of sex the Christian believer has the possibility of sanctifying his own body and that of his partner. In the operation of these two functions, human sex life, which in any case is an organic part of God’s plans, becomes at the same time a means of blessing for those who possess it.”

“And finally even the most fiery passion, even the most devoted love, will never disclose to a person of the one sex what it is like to belong to the opposite sex. This mutual ignorance of the sex quality of man and wife cannot be overcome even by the most intimate self-surrender. For this reason, during hundreds and thousands of years, the sexes have sought over and again to come close together – and yet the misunderstandings between them will never completely vanish. The experience of these limitaions is a warning against setting an absolute value upon sex. The Bible ascribes a posittive value to sex, but does not give it religious significance.”

“Hence the real problem of Christian life is not to eradicate sex influence from the higher realms of life; rather it is so to shape and direct sex through the will of the heart which has been sanctified by God, that, just as is the case with every other human quality, it helps to fulfill God’s purposes.”

“On the other hand, it is important that women of today should be made aware, on the basis of the Biblical view of the nature of sex, of the possible ways in which they may be able to live a womanly life, even without marriage and sex relations. Whenever we find such women already endeavoring to discover and to exploit such new possibilities their efforts deserve the most respectful recognition.”

“It makes no essential difference to the Biblical view what legal forms the marriage assumes,…”

“The Christian conception of what is right in sex matters is summarized in four virtues: love, fidelity, accord with nature and chastity.”

“The core of the mystery of being one flesh does not consist in the fct that I, as an individual, become one with some other person of the opposite sex, but that the fragmentary character of my life has been brought to completeness by means of union with that other person. There can be no knowledge and understanding of this mystery, however, where Christian love is lacking. In such instances it is really natural that in sex life a person is constantly on the lookout for a new partner; for one’s life lacks that feeling of complete satisfaction that originates in the understanding of the inner secret of sex. People then vainly hope that intercourse with another person will yield what they were unable to obtain from the first partner.”

“The blessing which God grants me, through the person whom I love, consists in the fact that the nature and character of that person make it possible for me to develop powers in my own nature which hitherto had lain fallow.”

“Another characteristic of genuine love is that a married couple have time for one another in spite of the duties of profession or home…For love is not merely an association of two minds, but of two concrete persons with their problems cares, and doubts; with their anxieties and joys; with their longings and needs of warmth and nearness and of being understood.”

“The different status of the two sexes in sex intercourse is seen in the fact that Christian love in the woman’s case appears as obedience towards the husband; whereas, in the man’s case it is expressed by respect for the woman and readiness to assume responsibility.”

“Finally, Christian love alone is in a position to endure the sufferings and the disappointments which are inseparably connected with sexual fellowship.”

“But in our own lives we find that the sex fellowship between two persons is full of contradictions, that occasions for misunderstanding work everywhere, and that, in consequence of the difference of the sexes and of physical nature which is individually varied, the divinely founded unity comes to unbroken expression in rare moments only.”

“True love compels us to take on ourselves, for the sake of the beloved, the pain of sacrifice, or self-denial, and of some extra work.”

“His apparently unfriendly attitude towards us will not make us question his love; rather we shall interpret it as an indicaiton that something is not in order in our mutual association. No one causes suffering or pain to another simply because he likes to give trouble…Genuine love not only causes us not to give pain to our partner in cases where we ourselves have been hurt, but also makes us inquire into th cause of his own attitude.”

“The bond which sex intercourse between them has forged must not be allowed to break. Faithfulness is the line of conduct through which we declare that the beloved person has a more decisive significance for our life than any one else, including our parents.”

“Faithlessness destroyes the nature of a person, for it is an attempt to undo what had been the fulfillment of one’s own personality.”

“We are not dealing with a temporary sensual enjoyment as the famous theory of “a glass of water” asserts, but with a permanent change in the being of both persons.”

“She owes this crucial change, not to the purely external processes of sex union with a man’s body, but to the circumstances that an entirely unique person, this man in particular, made her into a woman. Her physical existence then fulfilled its purpose. Faithfulness to this man is therefore the necessary consequence of the fact that, through him, she will always remain a woman. Every act of surrender to another man would only sacrifice the inner secret of the orignal bodily unity, without adding deeper meaning to her sexual being.”

“Infidelity degrades the value of what we possess in the fact of sex unity; it pays too little regard to the deep meaning of sex and the personal dignity of the other, and the final consequence is quite usually a disregard for, or a false estimation of , the world, and a sense of contempt for mankind.”

“The wife must ever and again bring herself to the attention of her husband as a woman, in order to free him from the fetters of business details; and the man must from time to time help her by special marks of attention, in order to overcome the monotony which she finds in and around herself . They owe this to one another for the sake of the unity of the body.”

“The public vow of faithfulness made to the new party at the wedding now has the significance of an act of repentance. It means that, notwithstanding former faithlessness, the individual making that vow intends to regard the other party as if that pary alone were the one to whom faithfulness was due. ”

“Such naturalism measures the value of life by the intensity of passions and the degree of vitality of a person. Consistent advocates of this view will hold that every sexual urge has a right of satisfaction, if it is strong enough to overcome all inhibitions. At one time Nietzsche was the protagonist of such a philosophy, and many minor spirits have since followed him on that way. But this kind of naturalism is unable to make a clear distiction between man and the brutes, and thus it debases the value of human life to the animal level. Moreover, by its intrinsic logic this naturalistic philosophy is finally driven to moral anarchy.”

“Too long a period of continence, when the parners have to live together in the same place, changes love into bitterness and hate.”

“The Onanist attempts to solve the sex enigma by merely imagining the presence of a partner,…Onanism strenthens one’s inclination to live a self-centred life instead of regarding life as a gift which one has received on behalf of other people.”

“Homosexuality contradicts the very mening of sex. When one of the two persons in such a case undertakes or attempts to undertake the sex function of a person of the other sex this does not lead to any understanding of what manhoood and womanhood signify to each other; rather, the case is repugnant to sense in so far as they do something for which they do not possess the natural qualifications.”

“The sex relationship does not consist merely in the sex act so called, but passes through a long gradation of glances, contacts, and small acts of fondling, right up to coition.”

“Mental lustfulness, lustful thoughts, and the play of imagination are just as much an expression of our atitude towards the other sex as are bodily movements. Chastity is therefore, in general terms, the attitude of mind in which, in our dealings with the other sex, we consciously refuse to have anything to do with unclean things.”

“The value which I place upon another person is higher than the importance of my own stormy desires.”

“In the intercourse of the pair with each other, there frequently may be a lack of respect for the inner secret of sex and for the actual significance of the partner as being the prson who in an exclusive way makes one’s own fragmentary existence into a whole.”

“All that in the previous chapters has been said about the significance of sex holds good for any kind of sexual relationship, both inside and outside legal marriage. The institution of marriage, nevertheless, points to an insufficiency of the sex relationship, its intrinsic instability. For to conclude a formal contract of marriage always implies a certain lack of confidence: the purpose of the contract is to bind the other party so that he or she cannot separate simply uder the influence of a sudden whim.”

“If people did not feel instinctively that their licentiousness was incompatible with the purpose of sex we should not find the institution of marriage in one form or another at all times and in all types of social orgainziation.”

“The divinely ordained purpose of marriage is to maintain the significance of sex.”

“Many people today dispute the assertion that marriage ought to be a lifelong bond. They want its duration to coincide with the duration of mutual love and affection between the two parties, or to make it to depend on the degree of sexual satisfaction it offers. In so doing, however, they ovelook the unity which sexual intercourse creates. By sexual intercourse, as we have shown, both I and my parner are changed as persons.”

“Individual differences never appear in the Bible to be hindrances. They are regarded as constituting parts of the task to be solved by marriage…Although two persons have fallen in love, they may have no idea that marriage is a matter of mutual service and that it includes tolerating the peculiarities and oddities of the other party, and for this reson erotic love frequently finds itself in difficulties, or, after disputes, it comes to an end.”

“Most unhappy marriages rest on a lack of goodwill, a lack of mutual consideration, and a lack of mutual respect…The greater the role that sexual affection plays before marriage the more certainly will each of the two parties be blind to the other person’s peculiarities and thus unable to obtain real knowledge of him.”

“The Biblical concept of sex life contains a blessed and liberating element, for it gives us courage to reassert that sex is a preciaous thing in spite of the sins which are connected with it. By faith, however, sex life becomes different from what it was. It is transferred into a higher relation; it ceases to be merely a matter of a purely natural character. Rather it is seen as something which serves the divine purpose. This fact confers nobility and value upo it…”

“The offer of remission of our sins rather means that in a life which seems to be a blind alley God offers us an unexpected way out, an opportunity to start life afresh. This possiblility is the most incredible thing that can be imagined.”

About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
This entry was posted in A Pastor, Biblical, Books, Health and wellness, Marriage. Bookmark the permalink.

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