Saturday, May 7, 2011

Reflecting on the Seventh Commandment

You shall not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14)

We should fear and love God that we may lead a chaste and decent life in words and deeds, and each love and honor his spouse. (Martin Luther)

This is probably the commandment “modern” folks would most like to toss out! It's so repressive! So out-of-touch! God is such a Kosmic Killjoy busybody! Who does God think He is?!

Well, Who is God, and what is He to human beings? Much of my life I've worked in and around engineering circles, so maybe that gives me a good perspective. God is our Creator, of course, but more than that – or deeper than that – He designed us. He knows how He designed us to live, as humans, within society, within His creation. Not only does God have the right to tell us what is right or wrong, He is telling us what manner of life is most healthy for us personally, and in our relationships with others.

It isn't popular these days to say it or to say it this directly, but God designed sex to be between …

one man and one woman

within …

a faithful


Whoa! Wait! What happened to monogamous?! The Bible does not expressly forbid polygamy, not in the Old Testament, not in the New Testament. However, the Old Testament shows polygamous marriages to be fraught with trouble (e.g. those of Abraham, Jacob, David and Solomon). And in 1 Timothy 3:2, monogamy is a qualification for Christian leadership. Early in the Christian church the realities the Bible shows of polygamous marriage and the desire (and in times of persecution, need) for all Christians to be potential leaders lead to forbidding polygamy. In the centuries of the late Roman Empire through Medieval times the church's definition of marriage became the definition of marriage in Europe (and was carried into European colonies in the Americas, Africa and Asia).

One of the nasty secrets of the sexual “liberation” of the past 5 decades or so is its putrid fruit. When I was in school, there were two common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), gonorrhea and syphilis. Now, courtesy of “modern” “liberated” sexual practices and promiscuity, there are probably a half dozen common STDs, and they are much more common. Children are growing up: with multiple male adults in their houses, but no Dad; multiple houses, but no home; disposable – sometimes abused by their mothers' boyfriends-of-the-moment, sometimes with one or two would-have-been older or younger brothers or sisters having been killed by abortion. Supposedly “liberated” adults have become enslaved: to court decrees (divorce decrees, child support decrees and judgments arising from no-commitments relationships); to children and formerly “significant others” spread all over the city, state or even country; most of all, to their own passions. And it only takes one spouse getting “liberated” to drag the other spouse and their children into the maw of this mini-hell of illusory“liberation”.

Can we set aside our pride – our personal pride and our pride in “progress” – and acknowledge what we have done to ourselves in our selfishness and lust? Can we acknowledge what we have done to our children, who had no choice or input into what WE have dragged them?

As with murder, Jesus took this commandment to the next level: “You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY'; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” As with murder, Jesus got to the heart – our hearts – of adultery. God designed humans to be special – made in His image. When we let ourselves be ruled by our passions – hatred, lust, selfishness, envy (we'll get there soon!) – we are less than human. And even as animals, rather ugly ones! So, Who is God? Our designer Who loves us enough to let us know what manner of life is necessary for us to be the best humans He made us to be!

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