And it was declared to be very good (Gen 1:27) as our sexuality images our Three-in-One God.
Now, the lie that the world tells us is that we’re just clever animals. Therefore sex doesn’t mean anything; it’s just an ordinary act to meet a biological urge.
The truth is actually the complete opposite and the opposite of ordinary is holy.
Holy means “set apart” and totally different from the ordinary; hence we have holy-days, ie holidays, which are different from our ordinary (work) days.
The way Hebrew communicates more and most is by repeating the word. So:
- holy holy = more holy
- holy holy holy = most holy
Which is why God is referred to as “holy holy holy” (Is 6:3; Rev 4:8) as He is the most holy.
So the flip side of our the goodness of our sexuality imaging God is that it is also holy.
However, if you’re anything like me then you have probably heard a message of “sex being holy” as a synonym for a heavy talk where all the consequences of not keeping it holy are made clear. Is that it? Is holiness just a reaction to the evils of the world?
No! This view comes from a misunderstanding of our the nature of our Holy God. Yes, holiness means being set apart and since God is holy He is set apart from me and the world…
“…but there our troubles begin, because naturally I think I’m lovely. So if God is ‘set apart’ from me, I assume the problem is with him. His holiness looks like a prissy rejection of my happy, healthy loveliness…the reality is that I am the cold, selfish, vicious one, full of darkness and dirtiness. And God is holy – ‘set apart’ from me – precisely in that he is not like that.”*
The Father is perfectly loving and intimate with His Son and so much so that compared to our love for our children, Jesus says:
“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Lk 11:13
This is one reason why Jesus was so angry with the religious Pharisees – as they misrepresented the nature of our loving and gracious God; they made Him into a angry, judgemental nit-picker.
So over this and the next post we’ll look at just two aspects of our sexuality that reveal something of the holiness of our God. And it is my prayer that you get captivated by the “beauty of the LORD” (Ps 27:4).
Firstly it has been set apart by God to reflect the inseparable oneness and intimacy of the Trinity.
“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” Jn 14:11
There is an intimate oneness in the Trinity and as the Body of Christ we are meant to be an earthly physical representation of that oneness – in the same way that Jesus was a physical representation of the Father so that whoever saw Him had seen the Father (Jn 14:9).
Jesus prayed for the disciples that:
“they may be one as we are one” Jn 17:11
And he 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
Since we are the Body of Christ – we are meant to be the physical representation of Christ and as such our unity and oneness will show the world (Jn 17:22, 23) that we are like Jesus who was one with the Father.
Similarly, since male and female were created in the image of God (Gen 1:27) they are a physical representation of the nature of our Three-in-One God.
Hence we saw that 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) to image our God (Father, Son and Spirit) who is Three but one.
But it is a mistake to think that our soul (which is often thought to be our intellect, will and emotions) and spirit are somehow separate from our bodies. This dualistic thought has Greek not Hebraic origins (see our video on YouTube here). This would mean that the real us is our soul/spirit and not our body. The Hebraic worldview is holistic: there is no separation between the spiritual and physical worlds and there is no separation between the physical self and the soul/spiritual self (which of course mirrors the idea of the Trinity being one – even with Jesus now eternally made flesh). Our bodies are physical expressions of our soul/spirit and we would be incomplete without them – which is why we too will have a bodily resurrection rather than becoming angelic spirits‡.
Now given that we are integrated beings, when we become “one flesh” there is a joining or bonding not only of our bodies, but also of our soul and our spirits.
The physical joining is obvious – God designed men and women to fit together perfectly.
On the next level there are a number of God designed chemicals to create an emotional bonding: oxytocin (which creates that feeling of bonding and trust), dopamine (a reward hormone which causes the brain to make connections to crave this cocaine-like rush) and PEA (a stimulant like ecstasy or speed).
But unlike the animals there is also a spiritual joining by God Himself:
“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mt 19;4-6
Paul also talks of this spiritual joining in 1 Corinthians 6 and says that:
“do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, ‘The two will become one flesh.’ But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.”
We, who are “temples of the Holy Spirit”, have our spirits joined to anyone we have had sex with**. Some Christians can think this is far fetched††. I can only testify to the tangible effects I have seen when praying with people to break (ie loose – see Mt 18:18) these “soul ties”. There is a severing that not only sets people free from previous relationships that they “couldn’t get over” but also changes them to be more whole and complete and thus more able to be joined properly to their future spouse.
This is why the Hebrew word for sexual intimacy, יָדַע (yada’), is literally translated as “Adam knew Eve” (Gen 4:1). Unlike the Greek worldview where “to know” something is merely intellectual, the Hebraic/Biblical view of “knowing” is always experiential. There is a deep experience from this “one flesh” joining that connects us in no other way. And in its pure form there is “no shame” as there was complete openness, acceptance, intimacy with nothing hidden.
So we see that, as Rabbi Shmuley Boteach says, “Sex is the ultimate bonding process” which God is involved in to create a vision of His Holy Self: male, female and Spirit as one like Father, Son and Spirit are One‡‡.
This oneness is so complete and so intimate that Paul says:
“he who loves his wife loves himself” Eph 5:28
Since there is this joining then what affects one affects the other.
The best example I have experienced of this deep joining is when my wife was undergoing a sozo prayer session. I was in another room and found myself undergoing all sorts of emotions from jubilation to fear and back again. When we met together after her session she discussed the journey of healing that the Spirit led her on and it coincided exactly with the emotions that I had been experiencing.
Sex is certainly not ordinary.
*Quoted from “The Good God: Enjoying Father, Son and Spirit” by Michael Reeves. I cannot recommend this book enough if you want to end up on your face in worship of our beautiful Three-in-One God.
†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) – indeed the Hebrew words for breath and spirit, רוּחַ and נְשָׁמָה , both can mean spirit and breath. And spirit and soul are not the same thing – otherwise the word of God would not be able to divide between them (Heb 4:12).
‡The best book I’ve found so far on helping distinguish between dualistic Greek and the holistic Hebraic/biblical view is Harold R. Eberle’s “Christianity Unshackled“.
**Another biblical example of this effect would be Shechem who after having sex with Dinah found his soul “cleaved” to her (Gen 34:2-3).
††Although it is very well known to Satanists, witchdoctors and occultists who use the joining to gain control over people’s spirits. It seems that we Christians having been blinded by society/Satan and do not realise the power of this joining.
‡‡Some of the ideas presented here were first inspired by “Sacred Sex” by Tim Gardner. It’s a good start but if you want to delve deeper into this whole area then Christopher West’s exposition of Pope John-Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” is an absolute must.