inTro

Human Tension

Read This Week’s Passage: Genesis 2:18–25

Human Tension

Human beings were made to connect on a social level. Though this may sound elementary, this may be one of this current generation’s greatest needs—social connection. Rates of alcoholism, drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, and even first premarital sexual encounters are all declining with Millennials and Generation Y. While the initial reaction may be to rejoice at these statistics, the rates of depression, mental illness, and other forms of despair are on the rise. The great irony is that social media promised a level of connection never seen before in humanity’s history. With the explosion of internet connectivity, social media apps, and other digital connecting apparatus, it is tempting to think that digital socialization can replace the need for real human interaction. But rather than satisfaction, more psychological and stigmatized social behaviors result from too many of these non-analog substitutes.

Though animals provide great companionship, they still lack the basic functions of what a human relationship provides. Even though they provide oxytocin every time we come home, a component of our humanity is still unfulfilled. Human beings have components of intelligence, emotional resonance, complex communication, creative empathy, higher functioning joy, multifactorial pleasure that features physical stimulation, intellectual intricacy, emotional density, social involvedness, and so on, to say the least.

Whether it is an animal, thing, piece of technology, or a screen, anything that replaces a human being for sexual intimacy is considered a heinous sin by God. It is not the act or the object itself but the disregard we have for our human selves and the Creator of the human body and its corresponding sexual experience that is abhorrent. As the engineer of intimacy, God sought for humanity to reach the apex of the experience through a human-human interaction.

When combined with the principle of differentness in opposite genders, the principle of sameness in humanity provides a tension that becomes the foundation for the optimal sexual experience.

inScribe

Journal

Write out Genesis 2:18–25 from the Bible translation of your choice. You may also rewrite the passage in your own words, or outline or mind-map the chapter.

inGest

It Is Not Good

Genesis 2:18–25 is the first instance in the creation account where something is not ideal. The previous verses depict a literal Edenic picture, with no flaw. One could not ask for more of an idyllic scene. Verse 18, however, records God stating an observation of incompletion. “It is not good . . .” This saying recalls the “it was good” motif found in the previous chapter. Clearly the author was intending the audience to respond with forehead-leaning interest.

Though God stated that a “helper comparable” would be created, the animals were brought to Adam instead, in the immediately subsequent verses. Then God asked Adam to name them. Why would God do this? Imagine someone saying that since you were hungry that they would bring some soup. After you wait a while, this someone comes and says, “See, I bought you some tires.” Clearly God was building anticipation and creating a scenario where Adam would also recognize this need for himself, as God saw it. We clearly see His goodness, gentleness, and wisdom here.

After Adam named the animals, they are unsatisfactory to meet his needs. Verse 20 highlights that “there was not found a helper comparable to him.” After this recognition, God creates Eve out of a side bone of Adam, the rib. This new being would have the same bones and the same flesh, basically inferring the same nature as Adam.

Contemporary psychology attempts to compartmentalize sexuality into parts—spiritual fulfillment; physical pleasure; intellectual satisfaction; emotional resonance; an agent that is giving, and an agent that is receiving. When sexuality is no longer considered a gift from God and His counsel is no longer heeded, then various permutations of sexual behavior occur, resulting in the imbalance of these parts. Call it sexuality deconstructed, and under the moniker of creativity and innovation, new forms and combinations are experimented with, so that a supposedly higher form of satisfaction might be discovered.

For example, some forms of sexuality incorporate mere pleasure, but no participation, emotion, or relationship (i.e. virtual, voyeuristic, pornographic categories). Nothing of the individual person’s nature is needed at all because it focuses the simplistic aspect of pleasure within the sexual experience. Others incorporate relationships and pleasure, but outside the realm of exclusivity, security, and vulnerability (i.e., extramarital, polygamous, polyamorous, and even pederastic categories). This results in no commitment, no shame, no courage, no security, and no faithfulness—all of which negatively impacts the emotional, intellectual, and even physical components of sexuality. Anxiety, fear, apprehension, and angst linger in the human psyche. Last, there are deviant sexual relationships with non-persons (i.e. bestiality, digital intelligence, necrophilia categories) that emphasize the superiority of the protagonist and trespasses against the sexual experience of the husband and wife as two equal individuals.

We have seen each week that there are important principles comprising the biblical definition of premium sexuality. We have established that sexual intimacy cannot be experienced as a monad. Its intensity can only be experienced in an exclusive bond in marriage without fear of the relationship’s end. It consists of a dual plurality becoming one in body, mind, and heart.

We will see (in next week’s lesson) that premium sexuality as defined by God must incorporate the ingredients of opposites (two opposing genders), but, for now, we simply observe that the opposites must have the sameness of nature (two human beings). Human beings are more than just anatomy, where the mechanics of body parts fit. It is about communication between two human beings, neurological compatibility, physiological communication, hormonal resonance, simultaneous cerebral stimulation, emotional harmony, and a whole bunch of other complex and multifactorial elements that God intended for a premium experience, blessed under the banner of holiness.

As unpleasant as the topic may be to some in various cultures, sexuality will continue to be redefined and reevaluated on a foundation-less basis as the Second Coming draws near. Rather than leaning on preestablished culturally accepted values, we must look to the Bible for clear answers when it comes to sexuality and its related issues. One practice that is unacceptable in one age or culture may become completely normative behavior in another. This is what makes the Bible a clear foundation for humanity regardless of time, as well as its countercultural power to redeem us from human-centric ideas that result in substandard sexual experiences that God never intended for humanity.

inTerpret

Crowned with Glory and Honor

The human being has different characteristics. First it is a creative being. The creative process can be defined as that which is unknown becoming known or discovered. In other words, it is not the act of artistry in itself that is creative. Rather it is through the medium of artistry that colors, shapes, or sounds that were once random and unknown are then ordered and processed in a way that becomes known to the human individual and later to other audiences. This is a great attribute of God, who literally creates something out of nothing (also known as ex nihilo). While humanity cannot create anything out of nothing, it nevertheless has other creative abilities akin to its Maker, such as art and music, but also civilizations, biological reproduction, imaginations, and spiritual devotion.

Along those lines, the human being is also a spiritual being. Though social scientists assumed religion and all forms of spirituality would be extinct by the end of the twentieth century, we find the opposite today. Religion is more robust if not more forceful than at the beginning of the modern era. While atheistic ideologies have sought to disconnect humanity from the divine, it is impossible to disconnect humanity’s desire to communicate with, interact with, and cogitate on the supernatural. John 4:24 says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” This desire to see what is beyond the seen is fundamental to the human identity. Worship then is a natural human need.

The Greek concept of logos was an impersonal force that provided order and logic to the ancient world. This sensibility was the basis for Greek thinking and an underlying operating system for the Greek worldview. The apostle John then shocks the Greek world in John 1 by saying that the person of God was this logos. That which is not understood can then become understood through the knowledge of God. Proverbs provides the Hebrew counterpart in its emphasis of the wisdom of God and the knowing of this wisdom. Human beings were made with logic, rational thinking, order, and reason in their programming. It is so much so that Jesus even says we are to love the Lord God with all of our mind in Matthew 22:37. Clearly humanity was created to be intelligent!

Deuteronomy 30:11–20 presents a passage that assumes that human beings are moral beings. God created humanity with the capacity for obedience, value, duty, freedom, goodness, and natural laws. How moral humanity can be is another story, but inherent in human thinking is that good and evil exist. Even in circles where morality is denied, it is difficult to have any meaningful discussion without a value system. Similarly, God also created humanity with a purpose (also known as teleology). Isaiah 43:7 states that humanity was created to reflect God’s glory. Placed a little lower than angels (Psalm 8:3–8), human beings were created with an intention, direction, and an objective. Given dominion over the earth, both men and women were to showcase God’s character, His authority, and His name to all other living creatures.

Last, as previously discussed, humans are relational beings with communication essential to its core. Underlying the commandments to love God and to love humanity is the presupposition that humanity has the relational ability to love at all.

If each sphere is merged, a composite picture of humanity emerges: a creative, spiritual, intelligent, moral, teleological, and relational being of the highest order, made in the image of God. One of these beings was to experience one of the highest pleasures with another being of the same order, accessing each one of these spheres at the same time. How profound of God! And how good of Him to grant this experience to humanity!

inSpect

What relationship do the following verses have with the primary passage?

  • Genesis 1:20–31
  • Matthew 19:4–6
  • Leviticus 20:15, 16
  • Galatians 5:16–26
  • Song of Solomon 7:6–13
  • Psalm 8:3–9

What other verses come to mind in connection with sexuality?

inVite

Reproduced Among Equals

Another motif found in the creation account is the ability that God gives to certain creatures to procreate and reproduce themselves. This is first found in Genesis 1:11, where grass brings forth more grass, fruit trees more fruit, and herbs more herbs. Then in verse 21, the sea creatures make more “according to their kind,” with verses 24 and 25 continuing the motif with the land creatures. The climax of the motif is found in verse 26, where God, who in His vastness is described in plurality, then creates according to Their likeness.

Clearly there are things going on that surpass human comprehension. But some obvious observations point to the profundity of God’s mind within the creation of man. First, there is a plurality of equals. While Christianity would take this further in the New Testament and describe it as the Godhead of three equal persons, there are many other hints of this plurality in a singularity described in the Old Testament as well (Gen. 11:7; Isa. 6:8; in fact, various passages in Isaiah and Psalms blur this line until clarity is ultimately achieved in the New Testament).

The point remains that God Himself is a singular unitary relationship in a plurality: three equal and coeternal Persons in one essence (John 17:21–26, 1 Cor. 3:9–16; 1 John 2; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 4:4–6; 1 Pet. 1:2). The equality of the three is important. Rather than a forced hierarchy or an infinite struggle between three parties, the Godhead is comprised of three persons who serve and submit to each other in perfect harmony. God the Father gives all to the Son and Spirit. God the Son gives all to the Spirit and points to the Father. The Spirit confesses the Father and the Son. The Creator of the universe is a relational being who can only be if the three persons are co-equals as God.

The second point is that, when stripped to the most basic principles, the entire universe, the world that we live in, and God’s creation, were all meant to be relational. Creation is social. God is a friendly and welcoming God. From the beginning, God was not a monad but a socially interacting being within His singular plurality.

Third, this social entity gives their reproductive ability to their creations. For some reason, the angels are not recorded to have this ability, while the other creations living on earth do. Of His creations, it is humanity that has the ability of spirituality and the other aforementioned attributes that reflect God’s image and glory.

Last, plurality, relationality, and reproductive ability are fundamental principles in the gift of sexuality. While the Godhead is composed of three, humanity has been instructed and created to procreate as two with sameness of nature, but a plurality nonetheless. Spontaneous regeneration is not a human attribute. Just as the Godhead is united coeternally, the marriage covenant is a type of this bond, uniting two singular equal entities as one. Last, it is within the nature of their unity and out of love that offspring are replicated. Reproduction is not the sole intent for sexuality, but it is an important component of it.

Interestingly, it is these three elements of sexuality that are under attack today. Seeing as these principles are found within the essence of the Godhead, these attacks originate from the one who attacked the Creator from the beginning. The twoness of sexuality is attacked in a myriad ways, as seen in another weeks’ lessons; the relationality of sexuality is eroded away by digital temptations; and finally the reproducibility of sexuality has been mocked by some antagonists in the social sciences and made inert through various medical interventions.

Not only, or merely, physical reproduction but the spiritual reproduction of His character that God seeks. This occurred in the Garden of Eden and continues today. Seven weeks of studying sexuality have made it clear that sexuality is a gift from God. This week establishes that God’s plan for human sexuality also reflects His nature and the Godhead.

inSight

A Social Being

“Man was to bear God’s image, both in outward resemblance and in character. Christ alone is ‘the express image’ (Hebrews 1:3) of the Father; but man was formed in the likeness of God. His nature was in harmony with the will of God. His mind was capable of comprehending divine things. His affections were pure; his appetites and passions were under the control of reason. He was holy and happy in bearing the image of God and in perfect obedience to His will.

“As man came forth from the hand of his Creator, he was of lofty stature and perfect symmetry. His countenance bore the ruddy tint of health and glowed with the light of life and joy. Adam’s height was much greater than that of men who now inhabit the earth. Eve was somewhat less in stature; yet her form was noble, and full of beauty. The sinless pair wore no artificial garments; they were clothed with a covering of light and glory, such as the angels wear. So long as they lived in obedience to God, this robe of light continued to enshroud them.

“After the creation of Adam every living creature was brought before him to receive its name; he saw that to each had been given a companion, but among them ‘there was not found an help meet for him.’ Among all the creatures that God had made on the earth, there was not one equal to man. And God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.’ Man was not made to dwell in solitude; he was to be a social being. Without companionship the beautiful scenes and delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. Even communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship. There was none of the same nature to love and to be loved.

“God Himself gave Adam a companion. He provided ‘an help meet for him’--a helper corresponding to him--one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation. ‘For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it.’ Ephesians 5:29. ‘Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one.’

“God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe. “Marriage is honorable” (Hebrews 13:4); it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the Fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man’s social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature.” (White, Patriarchs and Prophets, 45, 46.)

inQuire

  • How are you fulfilled in your social interactions now?
  • What makes the best social interactions?
  • Why do the principles of differentness and the principles of sameness of nature have to be in tension?
  • What are the dangers of compartmentalizing sexuality into parts?
  • How and where do you see sexuality deconstructed today?
  • Where else do you hear about these dangers today?
  • How does a high view of humanity and human destiny impact your view of yourself?
  • How does the Godhead inform you about sexuality?