You want the short answer or the long answer?
In my estimation and understanding of the Bible, YES!!!
In his book Sex God, Rob Bell explains that in the ancient world, after the vows had been exchanged, the physical act of consummating the relationship was what sealed the deal.
So, the bride and groom would say their vows, then retreat to the bridal chamber.
The wedding guests would wait for the deed to be done, probably enjoy a little happy hour of sliders and cocktails, and I’m sure make jokes with lots of sexual inuendos at the expense of the bride and groom.
Then, bride and groom would return, the DJ would annonce them husband and wife, and they would party with the guests.
As a modern woman, I have to say I’m grateful we don’t expect the immediate consummation of the marriage before the celebration.
How awkward to run upstairs to your hotel room, have sex, then return to the wedding reception to party the night away?
And, all of the most important people in your life are just standing there, thinking the same thing, “Oh my goodness. They just had sex.”
Good thing this tradition has been reduced to ”You may now kiss the bride“.
But, God sees the tradition of consummating the marriage through sexual union as truth.
The Biblical Evidence
As we study the Scriptures, we see again and again that marriage and sex are one in the same.
The first reference to this is seen in Genesis 2:24
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.
Since Adam and Eve were the only humans at this time, there was no governing body of marriage.
They didn’t have to go down to City Hall and get a marriage license.
Nor did they catch the next flight to Vegas to have Elvis marry them.
God sees their sexual union as their marriage.
They go from man and woman to husband and wife once they “become one flesh“.
Does it get any more rudimentary than that?
In I Corinthians, we see that Paul admonishes the Corinthians to be married to avoid sexual immorality. In fact, he references this same passage in Genesis when he says (6:16)
16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”
Paul furthers the discussion in chapter 7 where he encourages sexuality within marriage:
1 Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband.
What I appreciate most about this passage is the mutual relationship: that a man should fulfill this relationship to his wife, and a wife to her husband. (We’ll get to more about that in the post about marital sex).
In Hebrews 13:4 we see further evidence of God’s design for sex within marriage,
4Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.
I interpret this verse to mean that anyone, other than your spouse, with whom you have sex is defiling the marriage bed. So, if you’re not married, you’re defiling the marriage bed that is to come!
There are actually a plethora of other verses in the Bible that speak to this subject, but I think you get the point.
I really appreciate how Lauren Winner addresses this subject in her book Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity
What sits at the center of Christian sexual ethics is not a negative view of sex; the Christian vision of marriage is not, at its most concise, merely “no sex before marriage”. Rather, the heart of the Christian story about sex is a vigorously positive statement: sex was created for marriage.
Didn’t get enough of the sex in this post? Check out these pop parables:
- Pop Parables Movie Night: Love and Other Drugs
- In Your Words: Pole Dancing for Jesus
- Your Input Please: For Mature Audiences Only
- Let’s Talk about Sex…and God
- Let’s Talk about Sex…and God: Legitimizing Sexual Addiction, Pt. 1
- Let’s Talk about Sex…and God: Legitimizing Sexual Addiction, Pt. 2
What do you think has made the Christian view of sex so negative as opposed to vigorously positive?
Got any other Biblical references for sex as created for marriage? The obscure ones earn you brownie points and a virtual fist bump.