What the Bible Says About Gender, Marriage, Fornication, Adultery, Rape, Incest, Homosexuality, Bestiality, and Prostitution

What the Bible Says About Gender, Marriage, Fornication, Adultery, Rape, Incest, Homosexuality, Bestiality, and Prostitution January 30, 2018

Sex In the Teachings of Jesus and the New Testament

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In the New Testament, we find that the design of God in creation for human sexuality is simply assumed, as is what constitutes a violation of God’s design. “Jesus understood the stories about the creation of humans in Gen. 1-2 not merely as descriptive but also as texts that supplied a prescriptive model for subsequent human sexual behavior (Mark 10:6-9; Matt. 19:4-6, 8b). This is clear from his remark ‘From the beginning of creation it was not so’ (cf. Mark 10:6; Matt. 19:8). It is also clear from his back-to-back citations of Gen. 1:27 (‘The Creator “made them male and female”’) and 2:24 (NRSV: ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined [attached, glued] to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’). Jesus did not emphasize the openness of creation to change but rather a binding standard that critiqued all postcreation compromises. Malachi (2:15-16) may be making a similar normative allusion to Gen. 2:24, though there are difficult translation issues: ‘Did he [God] not make [you/them] one? . . . Do not act faithlessly against the wife of your youth. If one hates and divorces . . . , he covers his garment with violence.’”[32]

Ultimately, Jesus intensifies sexual ethics. Contrary to the Jewish context of easy-divorce in his day, Jesus warns that illegitimate divorce and remarriage is adultery (Matt 5:32). This would also preclude polygyny (several wives). “The underlying principle is that having two wives rather than one constitutes adultery. If this applies even when the husband thinks he has dissolved the prior union, then it certainly applies to a union not yet dissolved in the husband’s eyes.”[33] Jesus also included lust as adultery of the heart (Matt 5:28). “Jesus expands the reach of God’s will, from regulating outward behavior to interiorizing the demand as well.”[34] Other issues such as homosexuality (Rom 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:9, 1 Tim 1:10; Jude 1:7) and prostitution (1 Cor 6:15-16) are mentioned in the NT as well. The intent for all those in Christ is purity and redemption from sexual sin (1 Cor 6:9-11; Eph 5:3; 1 Pet 4:1-4).


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