I recently visited Centreville, AL where an F5 tornado leveled the city on May 27th, 1973. I was there that morning and saw the aftermath. Even though I was 12 years old, the images are in my mind like it was yesterday. I didn’t have a camera back then, but I didn’t need one. A photograph could not capture that devastation in a single click of a shutter, could not show the loud rumble as the twister approached the city, could now show such a force as it peeled up asphalt, could not show how something so innocent as the wind could turn into something so destructive, could not show the despair as victims walked around in a daze trying to find their belongings, and could not show the aftermath as the residents set out to rebuild their city.
So it is with sex, something so good and innocent that can be turned into something so destructive and life-altering. As with a tornado, it cannot be understood as a single event in time. It cannot be understood outside the context of voluntary mutual love and lifetime commitment between husband and wife and without understanding how it symbolizes God’s relationship with the church. The highest resolution camera in the world cannot capture that. More importantly, sex cannot be understood without acknowleging God as the creator of everything on heaven and earth and accepting the supernatural mystery of a man and woman becoming one flesh. To understanding the biblical definition of sex, a person must have a personal relationship with Christ.
This gets to the root of the moral dilemma we are facing today. Sex and marriage is being defined by the world, not by Christians. It is being defined by wedding ceremonies, the media, the internet, romance novels, the supreme court, graphic movies, school teachers, video games, etc. And tragically, it has been separated from mutual love between husband and wife in marriage and defined simply in terms of physical pleasure for here and now between two people in a “commited relationship.” Hence, we have an epidemic of childhood sex abuse, incest, rape, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, abortion, pornography, contraception, and on and on. Society today thinks consensual means biblical. There is nothing consensual or loving about childhood sexual abuse or rape. They are some of the the most devastating of all sins, involve many people, and take years – if not a lifetime – to recover from. The Bible is not silent on these issues. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind. Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. God does not condemn the victims of these crimes and he does not take away the innocence of their hearts.
While I was revisiting the site of the Centreville tornado, I did take photographs of the rebuilt city – including the First Baptist Church whose steeple was the only thing standing that morning. Actually, there weren’t many visible scars to see, except a commemorative plaque near the courthouse telling the story of that morning. As I was leaving town, I saw a kite flying out in an open field. “That is the definition of wind,” I thought. You have to see a kite to understand what a tornado is, you have to see Wisteria dancing in a gentle breeze, you have to see a sailboat dancing on top of waves. And you have to see an elderly couple married 50+ years rocking in unison on their front porch to understand what sex is.