The cover of our journal for this month shows a young man who seems to have had enough of people telling him what not to do. I am not sure how climbing to the top of a stop light with a "Don't Walk" sign on it solves anything, but sometimes you do just want to climb above the fray and sit and watch everyone else fight the daily battle of life. Many young people today see Christians and the Bible as an antiquated system of what they cannot do. A significant number of the e-mails that we receive from people who are struggling with their beliefs come from people who do not think the Bible prohibitions make any sense--premarital sex, cohabitation, recreational drugs, homosexuality, non-nuclear families, abortion, euthanasia--the list of things that people feel the Church stands against goes on and on.

Much of the concern here is rooted in the fact that what might have been a problem 2,000 years ago is not considered to be a problem today due to the advances of science, medicine, and social acceptance. Pregnancy, for example, is no longer a major issue in the minds of many people due to birth control and abortion. A common statement to us is that pregnancy is no longer necessary in sex, and sexually transmitted disease can be avoided if sexual expression is done with care. The idea is that Christianity is simply denying people one of the basic joys of life, and is out of date.

The response of the Christian community in the past has been to throw scriptures and numbers at these arguments. The scriptures are cited as coming from God, and thus beyond question. The numbers have been used to show what has happened in the past in terms of disease, suicides, mental breakdowns, and social problems. The lessons of the past cannot be ignored, but people still believe that they will beat the odds and that the march of modern science has invalidated what has happened in the past as a means of deciding what should be done in the future.

 In this discussion we would like to approach the question from a different perspective. Rather than focus on the negative things that might happen if we engage in the activities that we have been listing, let us look at the positive things that come from not engaging in these activities. The question here becomes a question of control. What drives your decisions? How do you arrive at an understanding of why you do what you do? Is the basis of your decisions logical and functional, or are you just climbing another stoplight with a different set of prohibitions?


Why is it that when you are hungry you do not always go to an all-you-can-eat buffet? Why would you go to a nice restaurant where you probably would not get nearly as much food, but where you will have some ambiance? Why do we shop for different kinds of food rather than just buying something that is cheap, easy to prepare, nutritious, and filling and eat that at every meal? The answer for most of us is that eating involves more than just being satiated. We want more than just to stop the gnawing pain in our stomachs. We are interested in the smell, the taste, the atmosphere, the companionship, and the uniqueness of our experience.

Our food appetite is probably the simplest of our appetites. Our sexual appetites are far more complex. While evolutionists try to explain all sexual conduct in terms of survival and passing on one's genes, the fact is that there are massive emotional and psychological concerns in our sexual conduct. When sex involves multiple partners there is competition, concern for performance, comparison, security issues, and personal issues. If you assume that man is just an animal, and that all sexual conduct is identical to what happens in dogs, cats, hogs, horses, and cattle, you have an incredibly shallow view of sex. The abundance of chemicals and devices designed to improve one's sexual performance is an indicator of how our culture has relegated sex to physical mechanics and away from what really matters.

In the biblical framework, man and woman were portrayed as becoming one through their sexual relationship (see Genesis 2:24). The body of man and woman is pictured in the Bible as the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 3:16-17) and the unity of man, woman, and God is couched in the beautiful oneness of sexual relations. Being really fulfilled in a sexual relationship does not come from an orgasm or an ejaculation. Those responses are a satiation of our physical desires, and they are pretty much independent of who or what our partner is. The sexual conduct of humans throughout the ages has been abysmal because immediate satiation in an animal response is as far as many people think.

God has called us to one partner in a life-long commitment, because that is what will bring us real fulfillment. The commands to avoid adultery, incest, fornication, homosexuality, bestiality, and all the other forms of aberrant behavior the Bible addresses, is because God wants us to have what is truly the best for us. When we reduce our bodies to animal behavior, and are concerned only with satisfying the immediate need for release, we lose one of the most beautiful things God has designed for us. This is not a matter of control, it is a matter of having a great blessing that God made for us.

I find many times when I discuss this with college kids that they are incapable of comprehending what I am talking about. Real fulfillment is something they cannot visualize. Having absolute security where there is no comparison, no competition, no need to hide anything, and no need to worry about performance is not within their ability to comprehend.


When God is eliminated from the picture, and one's moral foundation is based on something other than God's commands, what is available? The basis our culture has given for making choices is naturalism--the science and engineering tools that are available to us. Those who embrace naturalism rely upon scientific discoveries to bring answers to life. Sex is enhanced by scientific tools and chemicals. Recreation is produced by the same things--including recreational drugs. If using LSD, alcohol, or marijuana will bring pleasure to us, and if we think we can do it safely, why not do it? Those opposed to Christianity charge that the use of these things intelligently and in an informed way bring great pleasure, and that the biblical condemnations of these things is a control device that must be eliminated in our modern age.

The Bible tells us that our bodies are the temple of God and are not to be abused or used in a denigrating way. In 1 Corinthians 6:15-17 we are told that engaging in sex with a prostitute is uniting the prostitute with the spirit of God. In something as complex as the human mind and body, believing that we can always know the consequences of our actions is ludicrous, but that is not our focus here. When we engage in the use of a drug, we have given up the control of our life to some measure, and perhaps totally. We are no longer fit, and we are in a synthetic, artificial condition that is not permanent. People who use drugs for recreational purposes virtually always have to move to another drug or to a higher dosage. Why does that happen? The answer again is that fulfillment and satisfaction and a permanent high does not come from that type of activity, and control is relinquished to something far removed from our own abilities.

So who is in control of your life? Are you? Living God's way is not just meeting the demands of some egomaniac in the sky, but living a system that brings the maximum joy, fulfillment, freedom, and peace. Come down off the stoplight and live life fully and completely--with all of the things that the God who created you wants you to have.

--John N. Clayton

Back to Contents Does God Exist?, MayJun09.