What's Wrong With Sex Before Marriage?
It is the 21st century after all … surely God wouldn’t make you say something so outdated!
What is wrong with sex before marriage? How about: ‘What is wrong with anything?’ or ‘Where do you get the moral code by which you live your life?’ For example: ‘I do what I feel is right’ or ‘society decides what is right.’
For Christians, right and wrong are not purely up to the individual but a higher standard. The Creator is also the moral lawgiver. So when I say that I believe that sex is designed to be expressed within marriage, I am not setting myself up as judge and jury, deciding to make life difficult for single people – I am trying to follow the Maker’s instructions.
It may sound strange, but this question is a vitally important one for many in the search for God. Sometimes sexual and moral issues provide their main objection. The atheist and writer Aldous Huxley wrote quite openly about this:
‘I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently I assumed that it had none … For myself … the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation … from a certain system of morality. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom.’ (Huxley, Ends And Means pp.270-3).
This is not to say that ethical objections to Christianity are insincere. I have met many close to becoming a Christian who have asked, ‘If I become a Christian, do I have to stop sleeping with my boyfriend?’ This is a real question, which cuts to the heart of meaning and happiness.
It could be re-phrased: ‘If I become a Christian, do I have to give up the one thing in my life which brings me happiness?’ Our answer therefore needs to deal with the question of happiness. Jesus promised blessing or happiness to those who followed in His way. Here we are talking about a real, dynamic relationship with God which offers us satisfaction at the very deepest level – it does not shrink from suffering, but gives us the promise of God’s nearness and blessing even when life is tough.
From another perspective, it could be that our friend is genuinely sceptical about Christ because of the out-of-date ideas about sex that Christians have. How can sex be wrong? It may come as a surprise that the biblical view of sex is extremely positive. God thought of sex – He gave us this wonderful expression of love for another. A whole book of the Old Testament is devoted to extolling the beauty of sex and showing God’s delight in what He has made pleasurable and good.
The early chapters of Genesis tell us that God created man and woman and, seeing what He had made, declared that it was ‘very good’ (Genesis 1:31). Genesis shows that God designed this wonderful thing to be expressed within a lifelong marital relationship between one man and one woman.
The divine image is expressed as both male and female, and therefore equally human. As they are joined together as husband and wife their unity and diversity is expressed. ‘So a man will leave his father and his mother and be united with his wife, and they will become one flesh’ (Genesis 2.24). Here we have a blueprint for human sexual love – through the sexual act comes a new kind of intimacy. This is called being ‘one flesh’ – designed to be exclusive and faithful. Both Jesus and Paul pick up on this in the New Testament, emphasising the beauty of monogamous marriage.
In this way, the question can be responded to by looking at the preciousness of sex. God designed it to happen in a safe, committed context of love and devotion. According to the Maker, this is where sex is at its best.
*This article has been edited with kind permission from Amy. The original, fuller version can be found here; Follow Amy on Twitter @amyorrewing.