Whether she’s a “must read” (http://www.heartsandmindsbooks.com/); or whether she wrote a book that “has done more harm than just about any other book… this decade” (http://www.easumbandy.com/). It was that woman’s fault. I had a nice idea for an article for the NZ Baptist. Bible teaching. Easy and straightforward writing for a professional in the field. Then Paul Windsor gave me a tape of Marva Dawn. One throwaway remark, and I was “out of my mind”, or at least my mind was out of its comfortable biblical rut.
I listened to the tape in the car, so I can’t quote her exactly, but she said something about us Christians not speaking enough about the joys of sex and marriage. We get caught so often, warning people about the dangers, that we get painted into the corner that makes people – even our own children - believe that God is anti-sex.
That notion couldn’t be further from the truth. Sex and marriage was God’s good idea. It was one of God’s first good ideas, right at the very beginning…
“Since I am love,” God said, “I want creatures who can love me.”
“We want creatures who can love each other, just like we do.” Said each of the Trinity to each other, “and love us the same way too.” They added.
That was how sex and marriage got built into creation from the start: difference and reproduction and love. Sex is modeled on the godhead (Gen 1:27):
So God created humans in his own image,
in the image of God created he him;
male and female created he them.
It’s quite clear the very “image of God” is in our being as male and female.
Or as the Bible’s second chapter puts it: God said, “It’s no good for humans to be alone” (Gen 2:18). And, when God had made woman, the Bible concludes: “that’s why a man leaves his father and his mother, and clings to his wife: and they become one flesh.”
Sex is dynamite, and marriage is an unstable cocktail of explosive emotions, but God designed it to be fun and to be fulfilling. God designed it to be making love too. That means that as a couple who are united in a faithful marriage relationship relate sexually (as well as in every other way) they “make love”. Love grows in a good marriage. The two become one, and depend on one another more and more.
Sex is dynamite, and - just like dynamite - when it’s misused, the results are a horrible disaster. But when it’s used right it’s powerful stuff.
The trouble is, we’ve got so hung up on warning people not to light the fuse at the wrong time or in the wrong place, that we’ve forgotten to explain how to do it right.
People need to hear of the delight of being able to depend on someone else. In this dog-eat-dog world, we need to say to them there’s immense strength to be drawn from the power of two. That someone who knows me (often better than I know myself) is looking over my shoulder, even putting my interests before her own – just like God! - is a source of immense strength.
People change. Because old friends change at a distance from us, often those friendships weaken. Husbands and wives change too, but if all goes well the answer to the Beatles question: “When I grow older… will you still need me?” is “More than ever. To know you is to love you!”
Now of course, you can’t escape the statistics, marriage is on the rocks. Marriages are breaking all the time. Many people are better off out of relationships that - far from mirroring those in the Godhead - become pure hell. Of course we should be putting more work into helping people in this pressure cooker world. Yes it’s great that youngsters are not rushing into marriage, but thinking twice. But it is still true that there are few things better in this world than a good marriage. And it’s time we said so.
For too long we’ve kept quiet about the joys and delights of a faithful relationship that depends utterly and trusts completely. It’s time to speak. To join the godhead and declare “it’s good, it’s very good!”
© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2002
All material on these pages is protected by international copyright, however I am very willing to consider requests to use all or part of any piece. The use of small quotations is (of course) fine, just give as reference (at least) my name and the URL (e.g. Tim Bulkeley http://eBibleTools.com/angels/).
The other site Tim runs Postmodern Bible - a hypermedia (hypertext and multimedia) Bible commentary project