Thursday, 9 June 2011

Sex as a relational act

In my previous post, I showed how naturalistic science depersonalises sexuality, turning it into a mere manipulation of bodily functions.

In contrast, the Bible treats our sexuality as a good gift from a personal, Triune God, who is love (1 John 4:16) – who is constituted within himself by his relationships. The logic of the Bible is, unsurprisingly, the opposite to atheistic materialistic naturalism. Humans are fundamentally relational beings. God gave us our bodies – including the sexual nature of our bodies – to express these relationships. The way to care for our bodies is, generally, to attend to our relationships: if we are in healthy relationships, our bodies will flourish; if we are in toxic relationships, they will deteriorate. So, from a Biblical perspective, the way to rightly use our sexuality, which both acknowledges its status as a divine gift, and helps us lead healthy, happy sex lives, is to consider how we are using our sexuality to enhance our relationships.

This perspective is not unique to the Bible or Christianity. Creation itself, being the creation of the Biblical God, embodies within itself principles that are coherent with the Bible. Open-minded, responsible scientific investigation, which seeks to genuinely discern how the physical world operates, will therefore render results that are broadly compatible with the Bible. We therefore expect sexual research to demonstrate that healthy sexuality is intimately connected to healthy relationships.

Recent sexual research demonstrates that our neurological sexual responses show that we're wired for long-term intimacy. I reviewed this research in a paper I presented last year at the Religion In the Public Square conference of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria. You can download the conference proceedings here, from Reformers books.

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