Parenting 3: Sex Science, Society and the word of God

Posted by on Jun 3, 2016 in Blog: Doing sex God’s way

Parenting 3: Sex Science, Society and the word of God

There are many lenses through which we can view sexuality. How we integrate these will affect our attitudes, values and behaviour towards ourselves and others. This becomes our worldview.

We will explore the three main lenses, science, secular society and the word of God; and discuss how our integration of these in our worldview affects sexual desire, limerence (falling in love), and sexual intimacy (attachment or bonding).

  1. Lens of science:

Brain imaging, neurochemical mapping and genetic studies have given us a look into ‘how things are’ at subcellular, chemical and genetic levels. If this is the dominant lens through which I view sexuality, I will say ‘I am made this way’; ‘my chemistry determines my behaviour’. In other words – ‘I can’t help myself’.

This is false on a number of levels.

Firstly, science tells us that social and environmental factors, play a significant role in how our biology is expressed.

Neuroplasticity is the process in which your brain’s neural connections (synapses) and pathways are altered as an effect of environmental, behavioural input and even recovery after injury. Neural connections that are no longer necessary or useful are removed-pruned and necessary ones strengthened: The brain works on a use it or lose it principle. So what we feed our brain will affect the wiring set by biology.

Epigenetics is the study of external or environmental factors that turn genes on and off and affect how cells read genes. So, maternal factors when the baby is the womb, even the behaviour of ancestors could affect our gene expression.

Secondly, as humans, we are rational beings, created with a sense of right and wrong and the ability to make choices and exert self-control. We are far more than a helpless ball of hormones pushed along by some crazy inherited genetic code. We are our biology – we are also, more than our biology.

  1. Lens of society and culture:

Research from America [1]reveals the degree to which Americans pledge allegiance to the “morality of self-fulfilment,” a new moral code that has all but replaced Christianity as the culture’s moral norm. The morality of self-fulfilment believes ‘The highest good is ‘finding yourself’ and then living by ‘what’s right for you,’’. This reflects the tremendous amount of individualism in today’s society.

When this self-oriented, pleasure driven, narcissistic lens is applied to sex, then sexual behaviour, who you have sex with or identify yourself as – even your very biological sex is malleable to your personal preference.

It is your right to do with your life and your body whatever pleases you. Because the here and now is all there is anyway’

Sexual Integrity becomes unique to each individual based on that person’s background, values, and life-situation. And nobody, can or should try to tell you what your personal version of sexual integrity should look like. To do so is bigoted – even evil.

Ultimately: It is about ME – MY values – MY desires – there is no objective truth.

  1. A Biblical Christ focussed lens:

The Bible has good news about sex: God is for it! He invented it! So we can embrace both God and sex. God invented sex, and blessed us with bodies that are built for sex and brains wired to feel sexual desire and sexual pleasure. And in placing us in a family and in a community of people, God gives us a way of living out our sexuality in relationships.

Let’s go to where it all began, to the book of Genesis and the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. God created all the plants and animals. Then he said (Genesis 1:26), ‘Let us make man in our likeness … ’ (The ‘our’ here is the Trinity—God in three persons as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and yet one God.) God wants us to enjoy life-giving relation-ships of total intimacy, trust and honesty because he is himself a relational, life-giving God.

In the next verse we learn that this couple in the Garden of Eden had a unique and complementary character (Genesis 1:27). ‘He [God] created them as male and female.’ So they were perfectly gendered as male and female. We can assume that Adam would have had a perfect body with just the right amount of contoured muscles and wonderfully structured and functioning genitals. Eve would have had the perfect hourglass figure. Beauty and physical pleasure are good. God invented erections and orgasms, and blessed us with bodies able to experience them.

Adam and Eve would have been totally comfortable as male and female. OK, it helped that they were the only two humans in the world, so they had no one to compare themselves against. But the point is: Adam knew he was a male and Eve was a female; Eve knew she was a female and Adam was a male; and they were both happy with that. They weren’t stressed about who they were: they accepted themselves, their bodies and their identities as God had made them.

And they both knew they were there for each other. Adam was delighted to be with Eve. ‘Finally’, he said. ‘Her bones have come from my bones. Her body has come from my body.’ (Genesis 2:23). You can expect that he was totally in love with her, turned on by her, and absolutely committed to her. God wanted it that way because he had created them. Now that’s romance—Garden of Eden style.

Then God gave them the command (Genesis 1:28) to ‘have children. Fill the earth and take control of it’. That was a command to have sex and make babies. They didn’t even have to get naked—they already were! And they were totally comfortable with it. God gave them the gift of sex to make them ‘one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24)—to bring the two together in such a close relationship that they thought and felt and acted as one.

A Biblical lens shows us that love and sex go together. And the perfect, safe and trustworthy place for this one-flesh, ‘naked and no shame’ sexual relationship is in marriage. To marry someone is to publicly promise, before God, each other and our friends and family to be there for them, and care for them, for the rest of our lives.

A look at the science and secular views of gender though the lens of the Bible, allows to recognise how far we have drifted from the God given purposes for our sex life.

A critical look into our own values, attitudes and behaviours will challenge us to explore  how much we reflect God’s plan in our lives.

Do we lead a challengingly counter-cultural life that points others to Jesus? Or have we as a church begun to see sexuality and gender through the lenses of science and culture? Are we influencers of the world? or just blind followers?

We have a choice – choose wisely.

1 Peter 2:12 ‘Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.’

 

[1] The End of Absolutes: America’s New Moral Code, Barna Group Research Releases in Culture & Media • May 25, 2016. Downloaded from: https://barna.org/research/culture-media/research-release/americas-new-moral-code#.V00ZNpF97IV