I know many answers have been given to this question over the years – everything from sexually transmitted diseases to religious reasons. But all of them seem to lead to more questions. I’ve had 52 years of waiting to think about it — and this is my answer from a Christian point of view. We know that Romans 8:28 tells us that all things work out for the good for those who love the Lord. But I think it’s human nature, even for those with tremendous faith, to look for a more tangible answer. God designed us to be curious and ask questions. That’s how our civilization advanced. So why did our creator command us to wait? Here are a few reasons you may not have thought of.
First of all, fornication does not reflect the commitment and exclusivity required for a lifelong marriage. And it does not reflect the marital relationship between Christ and the church, with Christ accepting the church as his virgin bride. The biggest spiritual event in your lifetime (next to accepting Christ) need not be a memory filled with regret and repentance, which becomes part of your spiritual background check for the rest of your life.
Even though it can be forgiven, premarital sex prevents a marriage from reaching its full potential. Imagine, two minutes of dowsing the flames and then the fire may never be that hot again. You could even be left with cold charcoal that won’t start at all, trying to recreate the magic of the first flame for the rest of your life. Since it compromises the trust factor, there will always be questions. There will always be doubts. How do I compare to what he has already had? Does she really like this or is she just pretending? This is probably the most difficult thing for people to understand, that forgiveness does not erase permanent consequences. Some of the gravest consequences are not easy to see. Sexual misbehavior is far different than stealing a soft drink, feeling guilty, and then taking it back to the store. With fornication, you are taking it back to the store for the rest of your life. The Bible even tells us that sexual sin is sin against our own bodies (1 Corinthians 6:19). So it is not on the same level as every other sin. Of course, an extremist will say that a one night stand does not ruin a person for the rest of their life. “Ruin” may not be the appropriate word, but it does put a limit on a person’s self-fulfillment – including his sexual fulfillment. Imagine, two minutes of dowsing the flames and then the fire may never be that hot again. Apostle Paul could not have put it more elegantly when he said “it is better to marry than to burn.” See 1 Corinthians 7:9. After something burns, the only thing left is charcoal. Charcoal does burn again. This simple analogy give us a glimpse into Paul’s genius and the infinite wisdom of
God’s word and understanding of our needs.
Maslow believed our hierarchy of needs and path to self-fulfillment could be divided into five categories and that everybody had to start at the base and work their way up the pyramid sequentially with basic needs at the bottom and highest order needs at the top. He placed sexual desire at the base of the pyramid on the same level as food and water because he gave it a free pass. A marriage commitment did not fit into his pyramid. A closer approximation which more accurately mirrors God’s creation would put it on on level 3 with love and affection. Premarital sex effectively removes level three though by dropping sex down to base of the pyramid with a slab of ribs and bottle of Bud, thus rearranging the sequential steps. Then you are left to reach the top without love and affection, which is much more difficult and many times impossible. That’s one of the reasons we have such a high divorce rate — love and affection are folded in the napkin as a slab of ribs.
Interestingly, the pyramid underwent a revision in 2010 by a team of psychologists from Arizona State University (http://researchmatters.asu.edu/stories/maslows-pyramid-gets-much-needed-renovation-1664). The new pyramid placed “mate acquisition, mate retention and parenting” at the top of the pyramid, completely replacing self actualization. These researchers believe sex is a constant need and represents the ultimate goal for all mankind. It’s a fairly accurate reflection of the falling moral standards in America. Sex on top. Sex on the bottom. Sex all over.
Another reason for waiting is that you cannot reclaim the part of you that was given away to a non-committed partner, including your unique expression of love that was created as part of God’s ongoing creation process, much like the ongoing process of reproduction and new life created in the womb. This language is so unique that no two couples establish the same one on bonding, much life a fingerprint. Premarital sex denies God’s creation and denies that the sexual bond and communication established is part of that creation. It tells God and the world that you know more about creation than he does. And since there is a language walking around with no decoder (lifetime partner), premarital sex becomes a source of embezzlement and opens the door wider for people to blackmail each other. It throws a wrench into the natural workings of human interaction and civility, allowing greed to take a firmer hold. So premarital sex not only makes it much more difficult to reach your potential as a human being, as reflected in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but it prevents a society from reaching its maximum potential. Imagine what would happen if a device was invented that allowed everybody in the world to have the same intelligence. It sounds like a good idea. But it would not work for the good of the individual or society. Romans 8:28 is still true and applies to all areas of the human condition and we may not be able to comprehend the enormity of “all things.” That’s two small words on a page, one giant concept for mankind. God’s creation is infinitely gigantic.