May 6, 2015

The Bible and Homosexuality IV: Sexual Comparison and Contrast

Ah yes, the infamous English Composition 101 exercise of comparing and contrasting or the Comparison/Contrast Essay for short. I will loosely (and poorly) put it to not-so-great effect now. 

To be able to see why homosexuality (and other sexual immorality) is unacceptable behavior as compared to Scripture it is incumbent upon us to get a generalized picture of what the Bible considers righteous or moral sexuality. Please understand that this is comprehensive in scope and is meant only to provide a launching board for the remainder of this series which is meant to focus on the sexually immoral nature of homosexuality. This post will give us a point of contrast.

Proverbs 5:15-20 ~ Drink water from your own cistern and fresh water from your own well. Should your springs be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be yours alone and not for strangers with you.  Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be exhilarated always with her love. For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress and embrace the bosom of a foreigner?

This teaching in Proverbs 5:15-20 is applicable to us today and is extremely relevant to this series. It is advice being given from Solomon to another male (probably his son). In a secondary sense it is being written to all believers. Just like today, some cultures in the past dwelt in/on power and geopolitical expansion and that is what drove that society. Some cultures were driven and controlled by class warfare, some by military warfare or militancy alone. Our modern culture appears to be driven by sexual impulse and is highly sexualized (Holtam 593). Our morally ambivalent society is about making the individual happy and comfortable. We can now have unsolicited soft core pornography send directly to our mailboxes in the form of lingerie catalogs and our children can get their hands on it before we even know it’s there...and its legal. We can no longer turn anywhere without constantly being barraged with some type of sexually questionable material.

We cannot just focus on the “wife of our youth” as Solomon advised in his God-given wisdom in Proverbs 5. More often than not many men and women in this day and age (culture) are focused on immediate need gratification and self-need. These impulsive, lustful, sexually oriented factors are just as damaging to marriage and proper sexuality as open warfare. When they bridge the chasm to same-sex lust and homosexuality the damage becomes twofold as there is a compounding of sin as we will see in Romans 1. Self-focused people whether they are heterosexual or homosexual care nothing for other’s needs and this type of mindset is not conducive to heterosexual monogamous relationships or heterosexual monogamous marriages.

There are two overall ideas in this, Solomon’s Proverbs 5:15-20 passage: (1) is water/fluid and (2) sexual desires. More specifically it is water “control” and “morality” or properly controlled sexual desires. It is referring to chastity or restraint of some form. All the analogies of water alluded to here are allusions to controlling the water. There are cisterns, wells, springs, streams and fountains. These are the preferred methods to control water and keeping it from “scattering abroad” or creating “streams in the streets” (not preferred). The streams in the street imagery is ironic because that sounds a lot like a parade. These water metaphors are placed adjacent to the passages on proper or improper sexual desires. The verse implies that proper sexual relations are in a “control/constraint” of marriage because of the terms “wife of your youth.” We see in this small passage in Proverbs in Solomon’s God given wisdom that true sexual desire is properly (and best) fulfilled in a marriage setting as God ordained in Genesis 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

The proper control itself for sexuality is the marriage. 

Without the marriage the constraints are torn off. The marriage itself therefore is the boundary or control in this passage. Move outside this boundary and things become sinful, messy and uninhibited like, “streams in the streets.” Instead of clean, pure unadulterated water, your water becomes muddled, dirty, polluted and confused. It is even stated in Deuteronomy 23:9–14 that human waste was to be buried away from human dwellings. The benefits of doing this today are widely understood but they were not always practiced especially in poverty-stricken areas outside of areas governed by Jewish laws. History is therefore filled with epidemics of typhus, cholera and dysentery linked to the careless dumping of human waste into streets and rivers. Water left to run freely in these types of  streets would run through and mix with all the pollution in the streets. The terms parallels and metaphors here are rich and I see them all over this short passage. 

Simple juxtaposing of words and a clever use of words essentially tells us proper sexuality is within the confines of marriage. If we put the sex in lieu of the water references in this passage like water, springs and fountains the meaning of this passage becomes obvious (Ross 929-930, Wiersbe-Wisdom and Poetry 408-409).

Verse 20 asks us why we should be intoxicated with forbidden woman and the bosom of an adulteress (in the context of a male asking). These are predominately sensual or physical allurements that draw people in, mostly for selfish and self-gratifying reasons. The truth is they can be heterosexual or homosexual allurements as all desire and lusts outside of marriage are unbiblical. Marriages are not selfish relationships governed by selfish motives as Ephesians 5:22-33 clearly illustrates. The mindset needed to engage in proper sexual relations in marriage and the mindset needed to engage in extramarital or homosexual relations are diametrically opposed.

We are now in Generation “I” or “Me” and it has pervaded all of society simultaneously except for a small remnant or holdouts (Christians) that refuse to be assimilated into the culture like a mindless horde of sexually over-stimulated drones. There is still small remnant that holds moral values (sexual included) in high esteem and honor God not only with their mouths but their bodies and actions also. With these thoughts in mind from Solomon, I will begin to move into what the Scriptures have to say about homosexuality in my next post. This is where the tires will meet the road on this topic and it is where this entire introduction (in the first four posts have led to).

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