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Sexual Mores, Society And Cultural and The Dominion Mandate
© 02.11.20 D. Eric Williams


According to Genesis 2:24, the unique manner in which woman was created explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. The uniqueness of woman's creation is that she was made from the stuff of a preexisting living creature: Adam. No other creature was brought into being this way. The birds of the air, sea creatures and the creatures of the land were all created of inanimate matter. Adam too was created in this fashion. He was formed from the dust of the ground and had life given him by the breath of God (Genesis 2:7).

Unique Creation, Unique Relationship
Thus, woman is unique in creation. The Bible says the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the LORD God took out one of the man's ribs and closed up the opening (Genesis 2:21). The Hebrew word commonly translated as rib is tsela (tsay-law') and is an architectural term sometimes used to describe the side of a house or room. This seems to indicate God hewed much more than a rib from Adam's side when creating woman. Instead, it appears God scooped out a major portion of Adam and used that in creating Eve. Indeed, some medieval Jewish commentators suggested God split Adam in two and used one half to create woman.

There are several important points that arise from this singular act of creation. In the first place, it alerts us to the fact that men and women are one in their origin. They come from the exact same "stuff." For readers of the Bible, this should heighten Paul's admonition to husbands to love their wives as they love their own bodies (Ephesians 5:28).

Additionally, there is a connection between men and women that does not exist in same sex relationships. As we will see in a moment, this connection is designed to be an exclusive relationship fully realized in the marriage covenant. Nevertheless, even apart from the commitment of marriage there is an attraction between men and women that is distinctive. Although a man or a woman may have friends of the same sex, those friendships cannot fill the particular need established at creation.

For, God acknowledged it is not good for the man to be alone, saying, I will make a companion for him who corresponds to him (Genesis 2:18). At that point, God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals but found no helper just right for him (Genesis 2:19-20). This vignette alerts us to the fact that Adam required a companion in order to fulfill the creation mandate. Obviously, part of that was to be fruitful and multiply, something every other creature could accomplish because a creature and its mate was brought into being simultaneously. But it was more than that. What Adam lacked was a helper suitable to him who would participate in the government of creation (Genesis 1:28). Thus, the creation of woman in this particular fashion tells us she is called as man's equal in fulfilling the dominion mandate. This does not preclude differing roles; equality and function are not synonymous. It does tell us man and woman require each other in order to be the humanity God intended as his vice regent.

(This does not mean a single man or woman is incapable of participating in the kingdom of God. Indeed, Paul suggests celibacy gives the follower of Jesus Christ unique advantages in realizing the kingdom in their life and arena of activity. Nonetheless, from the very beginning God intended that man and woman would be joined together as one flesh in the government and stewardship of creation.)

Now, in the Genesis account and in the New Testament references to the creation of woman, the unique generation of woman and her relationship to man is tied directly to the sexual bond. Thus, the biblical justification (apart from the Mosaic dispensation) for strict prenuptial celibacy and monogamy after marriage is found in the unique means of woman's creation. Again, as it is variously translated, "this explains why a man leaves his father and mother," or "this is the reason why a man leaves his father and mother" and "is joined to his wife and they become one flesh." Truly, we might say "re-become" one flesh. As Paul says in his letter to the church at Ephesus, "This is a great mystery" (Ephesians 5:32). In fact, it functions best as an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. That is to say, the joining together of a man and woman in sexual intercourse unifies humanity in a way no other relationship can. And this profound wholeness of a man and woman in a covenant protected sexual union is an emphatic illustration of the union we have with Jesus Christ. This does not mean we have an erotic conjugation with the Lord Jesus; it means the oneness (re)established in the act of sexual coupling hints at the close bond Jesus creates when he brings us into fellowship with himself. Paul has this in mind when he refers to the Christian as a new creation, one who is in Christ.

Sadly, modern Christians do not understand the importance of sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. The rate of prenuptial promiscuity among Christians is virtually identical to that of non-Christians. This is so because Christians tend to view sex in a non-Christian, unbiblical manner. Indeed, more than one Christian has told me "it's just sex" when admonished concerning their immoral behavior as an unmarried person. That viewpoint is thoroughly unbiblical. It is the same false point of view Paul confronted when writing to the church in Corinth. So, "sexual relations involve more than a physical act - they join the two persons together. ...the one who cleaves to a prostitute is one body with her. ...the unholy union with a prostitute is a wicked perversion of the divinely established marriage union."1 Truly, to view sexual promiscuity with indifference "is a violation of the whole Christian view of persons."2

It is interesting the Bible never says anything directly about the dissolution of the bond created between a man woman who engage in sexual intercourse. Paul does affirm that the death of a spouse breaks the bond so that a surviving member of the union is free to remarry (Romans 7:3). Also, Jesus asserts that sexual immorality on the part of a marriage partner allows for divorce and remarriage on the part of the innocent party (Matthew 19:9). Even here Jesus is not talking directly about the dissolution of the previously established bond.

Paul's letter to the church in Corinth is referenced above and in that letter he censures the men of the Corinthian church for their lackadaisical attitude concerning sex with prostitutes. As Paul wrote, don't you realize that if a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? For the Scriptures say, "The two are united into one" (1 Corinthians 6:16). One would think this would be the appropriate time for Paul to tell the members of the Corinthian church how that illicit bond might be broken. He doesn't do that.

It seems the reason the Bible does not talk about how a person might dissolve the one flesh bond created in sexual intimacy is because it is not possible. The words of Christ cited above imply the covenanted bond is damaged due to sexual sin but we cannot ignore the primary thrust of his comments: from the beginning they were created male and female, So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate (Matthew 19:6). This does not mean one cannot be forgiven for sexual sin. Yet, forgiveness is not the same as the nullification of consequences. A good example of this principle is found in the life of King David. When David mandated a census of Israel's fighting man, he and indeed the entire nation suffered consequences even though God extended forgiveness to the King (2 Samuel 24:10-25).

Earlier in David's life concerning the sins of adultery and arranging the death of Uriah, David confessed to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord" (2 Samuel 12:13). What happened next is often overlooked. Nathan replied, "Yes, but the LORD has forgiven you, and you won't die for this sin. Nevertheless, because you have shown utter contempt for the word of the LORD by doing this, your child will die" (2 Samuel 12:13b-14). Indeed, the prophet had earlier affirmed,

Now therefore, the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.' Thus says the LORD: 'Behold, I will raise up adversity against you from your own house; and I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun. For you did it secretly, but I will do this thing before all Israel, before the sun'" (2 Samuel 12:10-12).

These are only two of many examples from Scripture concerning the consequences of sin. Certainly, forgiveness in Christ is a reality: if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness (1 John 1:9). But, again, forgiveness is not the same as a nullification of consequences. How much more so when the sin in view is a violation of the created order concerning the relationship of a man and his wife?

Thus, to indulge in sexual promiscuity is to invite consequences. The sex act joins a man and woman together; moving on to other sexual partners one after another causes a rending each time this takes place. "A person desiring a casual sexual encounter may not want to become one flesh with their partner; but in some spiritual sense, they do. Part of their being is given to that person, and it means there is less to give to the Lord and to the partner God intends for them. In the Biblical understanding of sex, there is no such thing as 'casual sex.'"3 Sexual promiscuity results in mental, emotional and spiritual damage that cannot be ignored.

By God's design, a "neurochemical bond" is created when a man and woman have sex.4 This is simply a physical and emotional manifestation of a spiritual truth. Accordingly, "oxytocin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that promotes bonding, is joined by vasopressin, a hormone that influences feelings of possessiveness and jealousy, and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can fuel the more obsessive aspects of romantic love."5 These hormonal events take place even during "casual sex" and the sexually promiscuous find attachment to their latest hook-up an ever present problem.6

Moreover, the very fabric of society is torn when the created order of one man and one woman joined in a lifelong union is ignored. According to a study by Oxford social anthropologist J. D. Unwin completed in 1936, sexual activity unbound by strict prenuptial celibacy and monogamy after marriage, "always led to the collapse of a culture three generations later."7 Unwin arrived at this conclusion after studying "data from 86 societies and civilizations to see if there is a relationship between sexual freedom and the flourishing of cultures."8

Unwin interpreted his findings from the standpoint of Freudian psychology and believed the dissipation of energy in sexual gratification led to cultural decline. "In other words, psychological researches reveal that the placing of a compulsory check upon the sexual impulses, that is, a limitation of sexual opportunity, produces thought, reflection, and energy. Now the evidence is that a cultural advance has been caused by a factor which produces thought, reflection, and social energy and that it occurs only when the sexual opportunity has been limited. I submit, therefore, that the limitation of the sexual opportunity must be regarded as the cause of the cultural advance."9

Hence, according to Unwin, civilization flowers when the population practices strict prenuptial celibacy and monogamy after marriage because the energy that would have been spent in pursuing unlimited sexual gratification is turned toward activities promoting the common good. Citing Freud he writes, "'We believe that civilization has been built up by sacrifices in gratification of the primitive impulses, and that it is to a great extent for ever being recreated as each individual repeats the sacrifice of his instinctive pleasures for the common good. The sexual are amongst the most important of the instinctive forces thus utilized: they are in this way sublimated, that is to say, their energy is turned aside from its sexual goal and diverted towards other ends, no longer sexual and socially more valuable.'"10

However, the Bible indicates a different cause and effect process. The development of civilization is not evidence of a redirection of "sexual energy" but of the blessings enjoyed in adhering to God's law (Deuteronomy 28:1-14, 1 Timothy 4:8). God established the foundation of society in the creation of man and woman as the image of God. Indeed, creation brought into subjection and improved upon is accomplished through the foundational creation of unified humanity, one man and one woman joined in lifelong union.

Again, woman was created as a help-meet suitable for man. Her presence and participation is required in order to accomplish the task God gave to humanity. And her presence and participation is realized in the united humanity of one woman and one man in a committed relationship until "death do us part." Sexual promiscuity defies the God ordained norm and declares God's design for society as illegitimate. It is to say there is no significance in the creation of one man and one woman in the beginning. It is an attack on the most fundamental mandate given mankind; the responsibility of dominion as unified humanity. To the degree this is ignored, the prevailing society will reflect not order but chaos. Truly this is a satanic scheme to destroy the very engine of dominion and disrupt the process of bringing each life and arena of activity under the lordship of Christ.

When this fundamental order is rejected, the ramifications are felt in the personal relationships of men and women and ripple outward. It takes one of two forms: either the participants become wholly self-focused - seeking personal pleasure above all else or they struggle with overcoming the jealousy suffered by one who has been denied opportunity to join with one woman as a partner suitable for him. In a sense, a man married to a promiscuous woman is unnaturally joined with every sexual partner she has had.11 And so, "when we learn that another person has experienced the deepest, most hidden parts of our spouse, we feel cheated. We feel as though we've been robbed of something that should only belong to us. We actually feel violated by sharing our spouse with another person, even if it happened a long time ago."12 Indeed, this jealousy of a man for his bride is part of the image of God in a man - a God whose very name is jealous (Exodus 34:14, cf. Exodus 20:5, Deuteronomy 4:24, 6:15).

The only means of overcoming the damage of sexual promiscuity is found in Christ. Even then, the couple dealing with the damage of sexual sin will experience its consequences to one degree or another. In this they must stand with Paul and declare that in their weakness the strength of Christ is revealed.

Where Do We Go From Here?
Unwin's research showed that a civilization shunning prenuptial chastity and strict monogamy in marriage experienced cultural collapse within three generations. God's word tells us the Almighty visits the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate him (Exodus 20:6, 34:6-7, Numbers 14:18, Deuteronomy 5:9-10). The correspondence here is interesting and simply reminds us that unless the gospel of Jesus Christ penetrates and overthrows a culture, it is eventually doomed to destruction.

Moreover, God's promise to visit the iniquity of the fathers on the third and fourth generation of those who hate him should not be seen as an automatic outcome pressed upon hapless humanity by a vindictive God. Instead, it ought to be understood as an expression of mercy. In other words, God will not allow the abasement of a people to exceed a certain point.13 Those who hate God will generally teach their children to do the same, and their children will do so as well.14 However, God does not allow this to continue beyond a third or fourth generation. Because he is a merciful God he will intervene to stop the cycle of rebellion. In other words, God generally brings judgment and renewal after three or four generations of rank rebellion in order to limit the damage humanity inflicts upon creation. This does not mean a civilization will certainly be "christianized" after three or four generations of rebellion; it means an ungodly civilization will not be allowed to spiral into unending chaos. At some point God will bring that period of destruction to a close, typically within three or four generations of its genesis.

The Scripture also indicates a civilization that honors God and then turns away from Yahweh will typically experience judgment within three or four generations. At that point, God pours out his Spirit in revival and evangelism - and this often times after severe judgment (Genesis 15:16, Deuteronomy 2:34, 7:2, 16, Revelation 21 and 22 after chapters 1-19 and etc.).

As we see in the history of ancient Israel and Judah, the third and fourth generation countdown has an identifiable starting point. For example, King Manasseh of Judah has done many detestable things. He is even more wicked than the Amorites, who lived in this land before Israel. He has caused the people of Judah to sin with his idols (2 Kings 21:11). With the exception of his grandson Josiah the next four generations of Judean kings followed in his footsteps. Even Josiah ignored the clear Word of God at one point resulting in his premature death (2 Chronicles 35:20-24). Eventually, God brought Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian armies against Judah. The land was subject to Babylon for many years and in time Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed and the people carried into exile. All of these disasters happened to Judah because of the LORD's command. He had decided to banish Judah from his presence because of the many sins of Manasseh (2 Kings 24:3).

While it is true the United States has never experienced a "Christian Golden age" it is also true a noticeable shift away from a Christian foundation began some 55 years ago. The counterculture of the 1960s led to the decadence of the 70s and 80s. Since then popular culture has become increasingly sexualized and perverse. In the last 10 years it seems the floodgates have been opened and every form of perversion is practiced and celebrated. In the midst of this sensual chaos, God's standard for sexual behavior has been abandoned by the majority. The church at large is nearly as bad as the world in this regard. While "evangelical Christians" may not fully embrace the homosexual, transgender, polyamorous etc. propaganda, their level of participation in "extramarital sex" is very similar to that of the world.15

As noted above, Unwin's research concluded that sexual activity unbound by strict prenuptial celibacy and monogamy after marriage, "always led to the collapse of a culture three generations later." Thirty years constitutes a generation16 so if we locate the beginning of the sexual revolution in the USA with the Griswold v. Connecticut, case in 196517 the third generation will end in 2055 and the fourth generation in 2085. To put it another way, the third generation after the beginning of the current sexual chaos will be fully realized in 35 years. It is hard to imagine the cultural degradation that will result from 35 more years of moral decline.

Nonetheless, all is not lost. There remains time for followers of Jesus to reverse the cultural decay. This will require repentance and obedience on the part of the church. Believers must repent of their worldliness and of their willful ignorance concerning God's moral standards. The church must reject emotionalism and end times heresy that cut the ground from beneath efforts to bring one's life in arena of activity under the Lordship of Jesus Christ in obedience to the Dominion mandate. Those who claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior must build their life upon God's word and seek to obey his commands so his blessings are realized in this realm. Truly the church must understand that while God's grace precedes our obedience, our obedience is a prerequisite for enjoying the full benefits of election (Deuteronomy 19:4-6, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 2:14, 3:8, James 1:18). In other words, we do nothing to procure our salvation but we must do something to enjoy its benefits. As Paul wrote,work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear (Philippians 2:12b).

Special attention should be given to teaching our young people the grave importance of living in obedience to God concerning sexual activity. They must be taught that one man and one woman in a lifelong covenant relationship is the only acceptable course. Christians (young and old) must be instructed concerning the tremendous damage done when men and women ignore God's standards for sexual purity. The truth is, the last two generations of Christians have accepted the world's sexual mores and contentedly fiddled while the culture around them has burned. It does not matter if a majority of professing evangelical Christians have toed the line when it comes to sexual behavior. A large percentage of people who claim Christ have not done so and the "marginally righteous" have turned a blind eye to the rapidly degenerating state of affairs in the church and the world.

To expect society to flourish while ignoring the God ordained mechanism for cultural husbandry is foolish. No doubt there are many sins this generation is guilty of - chief among them the worship of false gods. Nevertheless, it will be impossible to turn the tide of chaos apart from repentance and renewal in the realm of sexual ethics. It is not possible for humanity to fulfill the creation mandate short of widespread obedience to the God's plan of one man and one woman in a lifelong sexual relationship. Without it, there is no godly offspring, there is no appropriate governing of creation or reign over God's creatures (Genesis 1:28, Malachi 2:15). Unless the followers of Jesus Christ begin to teach and practice biblical sexual ethics, Western civilization will fall. Time is short - but there is time enough.
____________________________________

1. W. Harold Mare, 1 Corinthians, The Expositor's Bible Commentary, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 10 (Grand Rapids MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1976), 225.

2. Kenneth Chafin, 1, 2 Corinthians, The Communicators Commentary, ed. Lloyd J. Ogilvie, vol. 7 (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1985), at 1 Corinthians 6:16 as found in Rick Meyers, (2003-2019), e-Sword (Version 11.1.0) [Software], originally retrieved from https://www.e-sword.net/.

3. David Guzik, 1 Corinthians, Enduring Word Commentary, (Enduring Word Media, 2014) at 1 Corinthians 6:16, as found in Rick Meyers, (2003-2019), e-Sword (Version 11.1.0) [Software], originally retrieved from https://www.e-sword.net/.

4. Lea Lis, "My Hormones Made Me Love You," Psychology Today (Sussex Publishers, February 7, 2020), https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-shameless-psychiatrist/202002/my-hormones-made-me-love-you.

5. Ibid.

6. "How to Have Sex Without Falling in Love," wikiHow (January 10, 2020), https://www.wikihow.com/Have-Sex-Without-Falling-in-Love), wikiHow is a "wiki," similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. To create this article, 25 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time.

7. Kirk Durston, "Why Sexual Morality May Be Far More Important than You Ever Thought," Quest, December 1, 2019, https://www.kirkdurston.com/.

8. Ibid.

9. J. D. Unwin, "Sex and Culture Condensed," ed. Kirk Durston, Quest (Google, December 1, 2019), https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mYpLDHbhwqUmzFBe6hOEgW1wTfplL8SF/view)

10. Ibid

11. University of New South Wales. "Semen secrets: How a previous sexual partner can influence another male's offspring." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/10/141001090238.htm (accessed February 9, 2020). This study "take(s) (the idea of non-genetic inheritance) to a whole new level - showing a male (fly) can also transmit some of his acquired features to offspring sired by other males," (Dr Angela Crean) says. "But we don't know yet whether this applies to other species" parenthesis added.

12. Joe Beam, "Dealing With a Spouse's Sexual Past (Or Your Own)," The Christian Post, November 6, 2013, https://www.christianpost.com/news/dealing-with-a-spouses-sexual-past-or-your-own-107973/).

13. Umberto Moshe David Cassuto, A Commentary on the Book of Exodus, trans., Israel Abrahams, (1967, Skokie, IL: Varda Books, 2005), 440.

14. Peter C. Craigie, The Book of Deuteronomy, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament, ed. Robert L. Hubbard, vol. 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1976), 154.

15. "Effects of Religious Practice on Sexual Behavior," Marripedia (Marriage and Religion Research Initiative, January 30, 2017), http://marripedia.org/effects_of_religious_practice_on_sexual_behavior

16. "Generation." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, February 11, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation.

17. In the Griswold vs. Connecticut case, the United States Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a Connecticut law "that prohibited any person from using 'any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing conception.'" "Griswold v. Connecticut." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, January 13, 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griswold_v._Connecticut.


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