By Balajied Nongrum
The slogan of today’s culture can be reduced to just six single syllable words, ‘if it feels good, do it’. Peter Singer of Princeton University once said, “Sex raises no unique moral issues at all…Decisions about sex may involve considerations of honesty, concern for others, prudence, and so on, but there is nothing special about sex in this respect, for the same could be said of decisions about driving a car”. For Singer, sex is merely a physical act and that it has no moral implication whatsoever. Sexuality is reduced to the mechanical act of driving a car. This view denies the existence of any wholistic desire to be in union with the other person. Sexual relationships are understood as something that are merely ‘physical’ detached from anything ‘emotional’. In other words, it is a physical relationship with no strings attached.
However, the Biblical portrait of sexuality within the boundary of marriage is the most intimate form of union which is not only meant to be physical or ‘mechanical’ but personal and wholistic. It is a relationship which is covenantal and not commercial in nature. For the former is secured by legal means and this is personal and far more binding, whereas, the latter is based on the notion of profit and loss, hence, can become more manipulative and burdensome. The covenantal relationship challenges one to be vulnerable physically, only if one is willing to be vulnerable in the wholistic sense in all the spheres of life such as legally, socially, spiritually, financially etc. On the other hand, the commercial, or for that matter, the mechanical sexual relationship, in essence, expresses the willingness to be vulnerable with the body but not with the whole self. Nancy R. Pearcey once wrote, “Biblical morality asks us to be consistent in what we say with our bodies and what we say with the rest of our lives. To tell the truth with our bodies”.
Furthermore, the first time the Bible speaks of sex, it uses the mysterious imagery of union between body and personhood. The two, meaning male and female ‘shall become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24b ESV). Surely, ‘one flesh’ does not connote a physical union alone but speaks of a union which is again wholistic, i.e., mind, body, soul and spirit. True, while this was the divine intention, but interestingly enough, it does not stop there. For this union goes on to give rise to an institution, the family. G. K. Chesterton puts it well, “Sex is an instinct that produces an institution…That institution is the family; a small state…” which again includes a host of many other functions. If you were to visualize the family as akin to a house, then Chesterton further argues that “Sex is the gate of that house…But the house is very much larger than the gate. There are indeed a certain number of people who like to hang about the gate and never get any further.”Today’s culture, with its poor view of sexuality refuses to see beyond the gate, hence short-sighted and unfulfilling. The Biblical view, on the other hand is not only farsighted and fulfilling but it offers a positive view of sexuality as the gateway to other meaningful avenues of life.