What Is the Bible’s View?
THIS generation has seen the world caught up in a “sexual revolution.” People are clamoring for freedom to have sexual relations with whomever they wish and in any way that they choose.
The pressure to engage in premarital sex today is powerful in many places. In some areas a woman may be expected to prove her ability to bear children before marriage. In other locations “convenience” is the reason why many couples live together without being married. “Wife swapping” and “group sex” are now popular with many. Homosexuality among both males and females continues to rise.
Conflicting attitudes toward sex cause uncertainty for many individuals. A college girl tells of a typical problem she encountered on a date: “He would say, why not? I would spend half the date trying to explain to him what was so special about morality. Then afterward I would ask myself, why not?”
Might you, too, have wondered “Why not?” as to sexual relations outside of marriage? Do you know the Bible’s view of this matter? Certainly no one knows more about the purpose and correct function of sex than Jehovah God, man’s Creator. Hence, what does God’s Word say about sexual relations?
Jehovah God created the first human pair “male and female.” He gave them reproductive powers, with the command: “Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth.” (Gen. 1:27, 28) So the Bible did not condemn proper sexual relations. This is the way the human family would reproduce their kind, and God purposed that they have pleasure in doing so. But under what conditions was this reproduction to take place?
Genesis chapter two shows that, after creating Eve, Jehovah proceeded “to bring her to the man.” Then God said: “That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he must stick to his wife and they must become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:22, 24) So God married Adam and Eve and purposed that marriage be the arrangement within which they and their offspring would use and enjoy their God-given sexual powers. (Prov. 5:15-18) Marriage would provide a basis for the economic and emotional security of family members.
The Bible refers to all sexual relations outside the marriage bond as “fornication” (including sodomy and homosexuality). The Scriptures command: “Flee from fornication,” for “no fornicator . . . has any inheritance in the kingdom of the Christ and of God.” (1 Cor. 6:18; Eph. 5:5) This is the most important reason why people should avoid fornication.
Is Jehovah’s law forbidding fornication harsh and unreasonable? Actually it reflects God’s love for mankind and his wisdom. How so? For one thing, the Bible recognizes that other persons are involved besides the two who may feel a passion for each other. If the couple engage in fornication, how will their conduct affect those who love them? Could reproach be brought on the family name of either one? Will loved ones suffer mental anguish because of their immoral act?
God’s prohibition of fornication also protects any children that might result from sexual union. A child’s security and development emotionally, intellectually and morally depend greatly upon the stability of his home environment. Children vitally need the influence of both parents, especially during the early years of their lives. Will this need be met in a relationship in which each parent feels free to “walk out” on the other?
Some who condone fornication feel that use of contraceptives will permit them to enjoy sexual relations without the responsibility of children. But birth-control methods sometimes fail. Unwanted pregnancies often end up in abortions. Do you feel that the momentary pleasure of fornication is worth taking such chances?
A powerful reason to avoid fornication is found at 1 Corinthians 6:18: “Every other sin that a man may commit is outside his body, but he that practices fornication is sinning against his own body.” This is literally true. How so?
In contrast to sexual relations with one’s marriage mate (if that one is chaste), fornication often exposes one to venereal disease. Early in 1973 the World Health Organization warned that the world is now “in the grip of a virtual venereal disease [VD] epidemic,” and this “despite the fact that treatment is effective and diagnosis reliable.” The term “venereal disease” (so named after Venus, Roman goddess of love) includes many different types of infections, the most common of which are gonorrhea and syphilis.
Venereal disease can be devastating, especially to women, who often show no symptoms of the disease until it is too late. During 1972, in just one country, over 100,000 hysterectomies were directly related to gonorrhea. Venereal disease can also bring about insanity, blindness, brain and liver damage, and sterility, and can even result in death.
Do you wish to risk such dangers for a few fleeting moments of pleasure? Dr. Harold Thomas Hyman, M.D., urges: “Avoid promiscuous intercourse. You have no means for discovering, in advance, what distress, expense and misery you are letting yourself in for.”
What about the claim of some that sexual freedom brings greater personal happiness? Writer William Satire points out: “The unmarried state of people living together is less a mark of independence than a mark of uncertainty; less an expression of the strength of mutual respect than a confession of the weakness of people to commit themselves to each other.” Can a relationship built upon “uncertainty” and “weakness” provide security? In your own experience have you found that pleasure seekers who are unwilling to accept responsibility are happy?
The research report entitled “Sexual Revolution: Myth or Reality” explains that, in spite of greater sexual freedom today, “evidence abounds that anxiety about sex still persists . . . Large numbers of people continue to consult psychiatrists about sexual problems, sex crimes are steadily increasing.”
Women who become involved in “affairs” often suffer from severe emotional problems. A psychiatric counselor observed: “There’s a lot of self-deception. The woman will rationalize and think she can carry the thing through. But after the affair is over, she’ll feel shot down, that she’s a fallen woman.” Some individuals even commit suicide if their partner leaves them.
The Word of God plainly states: “God is not one to be mocked. For whatever a man is sowing, this he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7) “Sowing wild oats” through fornication benefits no one. On the contrary, it has caused an unprecedented epidemic of physical, mental and emotional disorders throughout the world. How wise and loving is God’s command: “Flee from fornication”!—1 Cor. 6:18.