In the previous three posts we talked about how we can establish firm foundations in your heart, in your marriage and with your children. We are now ready to move onto the four principles of how we communicate godly sexuality to our children.
Our first principle is that God created our sexuality and declared it to be very good.
So why is it good? Let’s take a look in Genesis:
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” … God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.
(Gen 1:27-28, 31a NIV)
First we see that our sexuality (“male and female”) and sexual intimacy (“be fruitful and increase in number”) were created before the fall and therefore they were made pure, unspoilt and therefore good.
Is that the only reason it’s good? Well we know that everything was made through Him [Jesus] and for Him (Col 1:16). Creation is an extravagant love gift to Jesus from the Father and so it is good because the Father only gives good gifts (Lk 11:13; Jas 1:17).
But in addition we see that:
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. (Rom 1:20a)
So God’s divine nature is made known through creation or as David says “The heavens declare the glory of God…” (Ps 19:1). Hence Creation is good because it brings glory to God as it speaks of how amazing He is.
But unlike the animals who were simply called into existence by God’s spoken word, all of our bodies were personally formed by His hands (the word “formed” in Gen 2:7 is used of a potter with clay). and declared “very good”
So why do our bodies, our sexuality and our sexual intimacy give Him such pleasure and glory? Because unlike animals we’re made in His image and so our sexuality is theographic (not pornographic) as it reflects the glory of our Trinitarian God.
Let’s look at six ways how…
Firstly our sexuality reflects the community of the Trinity.
Since God is a community of Father, Son and Spirit and we are made in his image (Gen 1:27) this is why God said “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Gen 2:18a) and He says “I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Gen 2:18b). Like man but not like man – male and female in His image (Gen 1:27).
But we are not only male and female as God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Gen 2:7) and God’s breath represents the Holy Spirit (eg Job 33:4; Jn 20:22) .
So we are also a trinity (male, female and Spirit) like the God we image* .
Secondly our sexuality reflects the oneness and intimacy of the Trinity.
Jesus prayed for us “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you…that they may be one as we are one” (Jn 17:21-22; see also Jn 14:10; 17:11) .
So there is unity, oneness and intimacy in the Godhead. Since we are made in the image of God, man was first made one (Gen 2:7) and then from that oneness man was made two (Gen 2:21-22) but designed to become “one flesh” again (Gen 2:24; Mt 19:6a):
Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame. (Gen 2:22-25 NIV emphasis mine)
And hence Adam wants to re-unite with the missing part of himself that the women embodies and become whole and completely himself and be the full image of God.
We’ll talk about this much more when we look at the second principle.
Thirdly, our sexuality reflects the love of the Trinity.
In Jn 17:24 we see that the Father (the lover) has been eternally loving the Son (the beloved) by the Spirit (eg Rom 15:30) and so John declares that “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 Jn 4:8). So we are created as lovers in the image of God. Adam (the lover) was made to love Eve (the beloved) by the Spirit.
Again we’ll talk about this much more when we look at the second principle.
Fourthly, our sexuality reflects the delight and joy found in the Trinity.
God made our sexuality and intimacy to be pleasurable as it reflects the delight and pleasure experienced within the Trinity† .
In fact the bible is the story of three marriage celebrations: Adam & Eve at the beginning, the marriage supper of the Lamb at the end and the marriage song of Solomon in the middle:
Your breasts are like two fawns, like twin fawns of a gazelle that browse among the lilies. … Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue. The fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain. Your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree, with myrrh and aloes and all the finest spices. You are a garden fountain, a well of flowing water streaming down from Lebanon.
She: Awake, north wind, and come, south wind! Blow on my garden, that its fragrance may spread everywhere. Let my beloved come into his garden and taste its choice fruits.
(Sgs 4:5, 11-16 NIV)
Here we see them celebrate and enjoy God’s good gift without shame. This is the way God made it and He is pleased when His children enjoy His good gifts: “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim 4:4).
Fifthly, our sexuality also reflects the joy of the Trinity in creation.
Our Three-in-One God was complete and needed nothing but he chose to create life out of love for His Son (eg Col 1:16) to share that love, and that creation was a joy and delight. We can see this in the angels shouting for joy (Job 38:7b) during creation. This joy and delight was also experienced in the Trinity, for example Jesus personified by wisdom at the Father’s side in Proverbs:
Then I was constantly at his side.
I was filled with delight day after day,
rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world
and delighting in mankind.
Since we are made in his image – a husband and wife are complete but they too desire to have children to love. And we mirror the joy and delight in the Trinity by creating life out of our sexual intimacy.
Finally, our sexuality reflects the ultimate ecstasy of our union with Christ
Jesus is “the Desire of all nations” (Hag 2:7 NKJV) and the pleasure of our marriage consummation is meant to be a shadow of our ultimate ecstatic union with Christ:
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready”
Then Christ and the church will become “one flesh” (See Eph 5:31-32)‡ and our souls will be satisfied as with the richest of foods (Ps 63:5).
We will not find ultimate satisfaction in our spouse (or any other part of creation) as it is only in Jesus that we will find the end to all our deepest longings. Amen.
* Note that the number three is also the Hebrew number of completeness. You can see this in the Hebrew language which doesn’t have a word for more or most. So if something was more holy you would say “holy, holy” and if it was the most holy you would say “holy, holy, holy”. Saying it three times indicates the entirety of something. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this ties in with the Trinity.
† If you’re anything like me you might struggle with this point. God having fun – surely He’s sombre and only interested in serious things? But we see this joy and delight throughout the bible. God ordains celebratory feasts in His law. David speaks of joy and pleasures at God’s righthand (Ps 16:11), God rejoices over us (Is 62:5 or Zeph 3:17b), Jesus was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard (Lk 7:34) and was full of joy (Lk 10:21) and wants to give us life to the full (Jn 10:10) and faced the cross for the joy set before him (Heb 12:2). The fruit of the spirit is joy (Gal 5:22), the Kingdom of heaven is righteous, peace and joy (Rom 14:17) and when Jesus returns its a wedding feast (Rev 19:7). And in creation we just see the duck-billed platypus and we know. And we in His image are gifted with a sense of humour.
‡ If anyone asks you “what is heaven like?” the theologically correct answer is “better than sex”. I recommend the excellent book “Fill these hearts” by Christopher West. This whole area will become the subject of our future “Godly Desire” blog.