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For some people this moral restraint might be an external burden, but some people, regardless of faith, may genuinely want to be good neighbors and good citizens. Christians should speak openly about these problems, offer alternatives, and be careful that the moral authority of the churches not be subverted. To avoid confusion we must be clear that there is a difference between what we believe to be a sin before God and what should be a crime in the eyes of the state.
Many sins should not also be crimes before the state; otherwise whole populations would be in prison. Think of lust, greed, pride, and hatred. And many legal requirements in a responsible state merely serve good order without being based on an action being sinful or not sinful. Should we drive on the right hand side or the left hand side of the road?
The state must decide, though neither decision by the state is sinful. In person Jesus addressed some sins in the realm of marriage and sexuality primarily in a spiritual manner, not invoking government law enforcement. But this example of Jesus must not be distorted to avoid compliance with important laws which protect people from sexual abuse.
This is the reasoned articulation of biblically informed moral convictions in public life. Obviously, this is closely related to the entire apologetic task given to Christians, to give a reason for the hope that we have See 1 Peter This is part of the distinction between law and gospel. And in parts of global society, some themes in Christian ethics are seen as irrational or as contrary to human wellbeing; this is especially true with regard to biblically informed ethics of marriage, sexuality, and family.
The task of ethical apologetics is urgent to bolster the entire credibility of the Christian faith in private and on the global stage, to improve the Christian contribution to the social use of the moral law, and to assist with regard to the conviction of sin for those seekers on the way to the gospel. And it is a help to believers to hear that their response to the law of God is supported by good facts and reason. Within the evangelical community, we have multiple models of ethical apologetics that we see as complementary, not as contradictory. In the following appendices, we offer three models of ethical apologetics related to the ethics of sexuality, marriage, and family.
The first uses a method of correlation, answering one of the philosophical questions that stands behind some of the sexual chaos of our time. Other philosophical questions could be addressed in a similar manner. The second appendix uses a method of direct or intuitional perception of moral duties and moral values. This method can also be used in other areas of ethical apologetics related to sexuality and relationships. The third appendix uses a social science method that seeks to document the social consequences of different policies and principles.
This method is especially suited to application to government policies, but it can also be applied to a wide range of questions and situations.
We offer these three models to inspire fellow Christians toward greater efforts in this area, not as a final word on these subjects. Why should we consider it moral to eat lunch with somebody of the same sex but immoral to have sex with that same person? Why should we be permitted to go to a movie purely for pleasure but not have sex purely for pleasure? They may not fully agree with these ideas, but they have nicely summarized some very common opinions and questions of our time.
Does your God just want to take all the fun out of life? As a Christian I believe that our truly big questions are answered by the Bible. This means that in regard to understanding our sexuality, we should look for answers that are informed by the Bible. However, before jumping to answers, it may be wise to ask a counter-question — really a question about the questions.
This counter-question should be as follows: Observers of modern secularism point out that, because of secularization, people are often left with a reductively naturalistic interpretation and experience of life. If all that exists is what is natural or physical, the only experiences one expects to have will be physical 7 Jeffrey Olen and Vincent Barry, Applying Ethics: A Text with Readings, fourth edition, Wadsworth Publishing Company, , p. The Sexual Revolution was closely tied to the development of secularism.
The best support for this counter- question or critique of the Sexual Revolution comes from reading the writers and philosophers who were supporters of secularism and the Sexual Revolution. One of the most articulate philosophical supporters of the Sexual Revolution was Alan H. Goldman thinks false views of sexual morality arise from the silly idea that sex is properly something more than physical contact, whether love, communication, or anything else.
I am not the only person who thinks Goldman put the wrong title on his essay. He has a reductive understanding of sexuality, meaning his understanding and experience of sex are reduced to much less than sex was meant to be.
His philosophy would support what many call sexual freedom, but the cost of this freedom is astonishingly high: the loss of everything human about sex. I find this price far too high.
Might there really be something so different about sex that it requires special rules? The secularist loss of an understanding of sexuality is also evident in the writings of Jean Paul Sartre.
This means there is no proper pattern or scheme of life that people should follow or that gives meaning to life; we are forced to choose freely how we want to live. In the realm of sexuality, this means it is impossible to say that monogamy is better than polygamy, polyandry, or constantly changing relationships. We are condemned to freedom. However, this does not close the topic. In his novel Nausea, he shows that people use love and sex as a way of searching for meaning in life, though this effort is not always successful. For Sartre knows that love and sex can easily become meaningless, manipulative, or boring if meaning is not brought into the relationship.
However, their overall perspectives are remarkably similar regarding sexuality. They agree that sexuality has no necessary meaning or distinctive content that would lead to particular moral rules governing sexual relationships. They also agree that there is no fixed pattern for responsible sexual activity, whether heterosexual monogamy, homosexuality, polygamy, or continuous fluctuation.
In this way, they would both support the Sexual Revolution and reject any traditional Christian perspective on sexuality. I am left wondering if the quest for sexual freedom has cost us a large part of our humanness. Recently I was moved to tears by a reality show on a German television station.
On live television, the couple received the report from a genetics laboratory that her current partner was not the biological father. The tears the young couple shed were not just the result of the foolish choices of immature people. Their foolishness and immaturity were supported by a culture that says sex should be treated like any other activity, not much different from having lunch with someone. Their lives embodied a message we hear all around, in schools, in books, and in the media.
Might we be ready to receive some wisdom from the past and from on high? Is there no better way? The Bible gives profound answers to the question of what is so different about sex that it requires special moral rules. The biblical commandments about sexuality are not arbitrary rules from a fun-hating deity; they are designed to protect our humanness. This perspective leads to a much richer understanding and experience of the closest human relationships. This is a very substantial alternative to the reductive naturalism that says that sex is only about physical contact.
How is having sex with someone different from having lunch with that person? Briefly stated in other words, sex requires special rules because God created us in such a way that marriage and sex fit together in a particular way. This is what we see in the pages of the Bible and in everyday experience. A crucial biblical text is Genesis I will make a helper suitable for him. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.
So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. On the one hand, this word means to cling physically to something. On the other hand, this word is used to describe tight bonds of loyalty and affection. Clearly, this word is describing deep, heartfelt commitments of loyalty and affection that endured through good and bad times. In Genesis 2, it is not immediately obvious if this word refers to Adam and Eve physically clinging to each other or emotionally bonding to each other.
In relation to God, we should understand a sacrament to be a symbolic action instituted by God that serves as a sign and seal of the covenant of grace between God and his people. A sacrament confirms both His grace to us and our faithful loyalty to Him. Sacramental language has a distinctive feature; because of the close association between the symbolic action and the meaning of the symbol, the names of the action and the meaning of the action are freely mixed and transferred.
Standard biblical examples are Genesis ; Matthew ; and Titus However, on a human, interpersonal level, it was a sacramental action signing and sealing a covenantal bond. Because of the way we were created, sex is one of our strongest forms of nonverbal communication; sex is a promise of affection and loyalty, not only to each other but also to the children who may result from the relationship.
The physical union is a sign of a more comprehensive union, including spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of life. This is what makes sex so different from casually having lunch or coffee with someone. Sex communicates promises of a very significant nature, whether or not the couple is aware of it.
Direktan link. Two coincidences determined her scientific career, which have fundamentally changed the way of our knowledge and our adequate and enlightened way to deal with our children today. Karin Grossmann Germany. Her lifelong collaboration with John Bowlby as a profound authority of childhood suffering and his insistence on evolutionary-biologically oriented empirical testing have laid a firm foundation for her work. Journal of Youth and Adolescence , 36 6 :
It is not wise to try to separate sex from the process of bonding inside a marriage or from the children who may be conceived through that bonding. Our answer to this question today can easily be prejudiced by our tendency to think that only physical objects can truly be real. Since marriage is not a physical object that one can touch, some tend to think it is not real or a real thing.
Without thinking, a person may be comparing marriage to something like a coffee cup, a window, or a streetlight. This is a serious mistake that influences how we act. However, the Dutch niet echtbreken and German nicht ehebrechen translations are a little better, since both of these Bible translations refer to not breaking a marriage. This way of talking has a significant advantage, since it says more clearly that a marriage is something real that can be broken, though obviously the way in which a marriage can be broken is quite different from how one breaks a cup or a window.
So what is marriage, this thing we must be careful not to break? This way of describing marriage invites a comparison with other God-given structures we call creation orders, such important realities as work, government, and worship, through which God organizes our lives. It also means that marriage is not exactly something that we create; it is something that already exists, with some defined rules and boundaries, before we ever enter into it.
We should also emphasize that marriage is a lifetime covenant between a man and a woman, and this covenant is publicly declared so everyone can know that a particular man and a particular woman stand in this lifetime covenant. Those who think marriage is just a piece of paper have confused one part of the public declaration of the marriage the legal part with the covenantal reality that is being publicly declared. In the original creation, the only thing that was not good was that Adam was alone. God corrected this deficiency by creating Eve and by creating marriage.
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Marriage is a creation order with a lifetime covenant as its internal content; sex is an interpersonal sacrament that confirms and communicates this covenant in a nonverbal way. Though it may be hard for us to think this way, marriage truly is something real, even though it is not a physical object. In addition, it has some enduring characteristics that we cannot change; it is monogamous, heterosexual, and exclusive, and it lasts a lifetime. It can be compared to the law of gravity, which is also very real, though we cannot see it directly.
However, the likelihood of people getting hurt by ignoring the reality of marriage is much greater than the likelihood of getting hurt by trying to ignore the law of gravity. Most of us just accept the law of gravity, whereas some try to ignore the reality of marriage.
Once we grasp something of the close connection between sex and marriage, it makes sense to ask about the purposes of sex and marriage together. This really should be one question, rather than separating the purpose of sex from the purpose of marriage. Of course, many people think of the purpose of sex as being pleasure, emotional release, or bonding, while they see the 14 A covenant is both similar to and different from a contract. A contract is usually very specific, well-defined, and limited in scope, such as a contract to rent an apartment or do a particular job.
In contrast, a covenant may not be so well-defined, since we simply cannot know what may come our way in a lifetime. This separates matters that more properly belong together. One of the first purposes of marriage is companionship. Adam, Eve, and most of the rest of us find it is simply not good to spend our lives alone. Most of us need a life partner. Our work, our toys, and our pets are simply not enough. Companionship is the primary thing we should both seek and seek to preserve in marriage. We read that Adam and Eve were naked but not ashamed. Their comfortable physical intimacy contributed to a very wide-ranging unity of their lives.
People today are quite aware that sex can be very pleasurable. What needs to be added to that is an understanding that the pleasure of sex is different from other types of pleasure. Some pleasures can be enjoyed almost as much alone as with other people. This is obviously very different from normal sex. Other pleasurable activities, such as a sporting event, a concert, or a movie, are usually shared with other people. Nevertheless, in most of these pleasures, the people with whom we share the pleasure are all together relating to something else, the sport, music, or film, which gives them the shared experience.
Our attention, emotionally and mentally, is focused on the sport, music, or whatever brings us together. However, sex is different in the important sense that it is the other person who gives pleasure, not some other entity or event. Our attention is totally focused on the other person.
Sex is much more clearly an interpersonal event or experience than are our other normal forms of pleasure. The pleasure, sometimes intense, could be seen as a gift of God specially added to the companionship, a distinct type of pleasure that helps confirm and strengthen the covenantal ties between a husband and wife. In the wisdom of God, the context in which children should normally come into the world is this context of bonded, loyal companionship and love. The companionship that men and women need forms the right situation for children to get a start in life.
This is not to say that a childless marriage is not a proper marriage. And this is also not to say that sex always has to be intended to lead to pregnancy or even to be open to pregnancy.