Why did God create us as sexual beings but forbid us to have sex outside of marriage?

I am a single 26-year-old and have been wondering about this question: Why did God create us as sexual beings but forbid us to have sex outside of marriage? For those of us who are single, I’ve been wondering why God would forbid us to have sex, when others are allowed to have it (those who are married) and our bodies were created such that we are able to have it. Thank you in advance! I’m a big fan of your podcast!

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@Holly_Lawson interesting question. I have my ideas on this topic but will wait on others to share and see if they align with my idea. As this is close and personal for me.

@Holly_Lawson Great question :slight_smile: I think there are a few points to keep in mind when thinking through this topic:

  • sex was created for a specific purpose - to bond together two people in a life long committed relationship - the two shall become “one flesh”. Jesus cites this statement from Genesis when He speaks against divorce without just cause.
  • sex was never meant to define our identity. There is no sex in Heaven and both Jesus and Paul were celibate. Sex is not necessary to live a fulfilled, joyful life.
  • sex alters our brains - both pornography and extramarital sex actually change the way our brain is wired and make it harder to set our minds on “things above” rather than things below. In Romans 12 we are called to renew our mind - part of that has to do with the way we use our body. In 1 Cor 6 Paul recognizes this fact.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 - Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

I really like this quote from Tim Keller. He points out that the love of Christ is sacrifical - it is agape love. He quotes a woman who found Jesus’ love and had been in sexual relationships previously. This is what she said. You can watch the “Counterfeit gods” sermon below for fulll contntext.

Every other man had come into her life and said, “Your life for mine” but Jesus had come into her life and said “My life for you”. Tim Keller

I think that beautifully sums it up. The sacrificial love of Christ is what fulfills us, not the eros love of another person.

Counterfeit gods: Tim Keller

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I’m a huge fan of the podcast myself, so like you, I’ll be eager to hear what Vince, Jo, and Michael have to say :smiley: While we’re waiting…

While your question has specifically to do with sex, the underlying theme is universal to EVERY aspect of human existence. Whether we’re talking about sex or food or work or even conversation, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it, and all of them stem back to whether or not it agrees or disagrees with some aspect of God’s nature and the purpose for which we were created. As Paul put it to the church at Corinth, “whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God”.

So apply that thinking to sex. More than any other act a man or woman can engage in, sex makes us vulnerable. We are literally naked before our partner, totally exposed in both strength and weakness. Warts and all, you might say. When we share, we share with the most physically sensitive parts of our bodies, the places where we can be injured the easiest – both physically and emotionally. So while sex is an act of intense pleasure, it’s also an act where you demonstrate extreme trust.

Now, the writer of Hebrews tells us that “marriage is honorable (precious) in all things, and the bed undefiled”, suggesting that sex is meant to be a blessing to marriage. And it is. When it is kept holy, it is the most intimate sharing that can happen between two people, precisely because they are (ideally) sharing a part of themselves with their spouse that they have never shared with anyone else or ever would. Granted, this isn’t always the case. I know for me it wasn’t, much to my regret.

So consider all that is lost when we engage in sex outside of marriage. You lose the intimacy, because what you share with them, you’ve already shared with someone else. You lose the exclusive value, cheapening both what you have to offer, and what your spouse ultimately receives. You lose the awe and wonder of the act – the excitement – because rather than holding it in high regard, you normalize it, make it common.

Ultimately, sex outside of marriage reduces it to an act of pleasure. And this may be the greatest damage done to it, and is certainly the source of all sexual sin, because if the point of sex is pleasure, whose pleasure are you ultimately seeking? Yours. That being the case, who are you ultimately doing it “to the glory of”? You. Not God.