Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Team - Genesis 1:26-28

Today we fight pornography by focusing on the harm it causes to the husband-wife team, as we continue our Origins Bible study series in the book of Genesis.

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Genesis 1:26-28

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֱלֹהִ֔ים נַֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה אָדָ֛ם בְּצַלְמֵ֖נוּ כִּדְמוּתֵ֑נוּ וְיִרְדּוּ֩ בִדְגַ֨ת הַיָּ֜ם וּבְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֗יִם וּבַבְּהֵמָה֙ וּבְכָל־הָאָ֔רֶץ וּבְכָל־הָרֶ֖מֶשׂ הָֽרֹמֵ֥שׂ עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ וַיִּבְרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים ׀ אֶת־הָֽאָדָם֙ בְּצַלְמ֔וֹ בְּצֶ֥לֶם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בָּרָ֣א אֹת֑וֹ זָכָ֥ר וּנְקֵבָ֖ה בָּרָ֥א אֹתָֽם׃ וַיְבָ֣רֶךְ אֹתָם֮ אֱלֹהִים֒ וַיֹּ֨אמֶר לָהֶ֜ם אֱלֹהִ֗ים פְּר֥וּ וּרְב֛וּ וּמִלְא֥וּ אֶת־הָאָ֖רֶץ וְכִבְשֻׁ֑הָ וּרְד֞וּ בִּדְגַ֤ת הַיָּם֙ וּבְע֣וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֔יִם וּבְכָל־חַיָּ֖ה הָֽרֹמֶ֥שֶׂת עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃

As I pointed out over the last few weeks, the plural verbs in the passage above point to both man and woman as bearers of God's image, who are meant to be caretakers together of the Creator's world. This implies that man and woman would work together as a team. This teamwork is the focus of my post today.

When God created people, He created them to "match" each other - to be suitable, equal, matching companions that "help" each other (Genesis 2:18-20). This companionship and help is not only physical, but also emotional and spiritual. The height of this teamwork between male and female is in marriage.

In marriage, two different people become melded into one. They are meant to share together not only physical things like food, home, bank account, bed, etc., but also deeper things such as hopes for the future, joys of life, difficulties, sorrows, adventures, etc. In addition, the Bible teaches that there is also a spiritual union that takes place in marriage (1 Corinthians 6:12-20).

In marriage, our greatest hopes and desires for the totality of our human experience become tied to another person, and as we carve out a life together, we fulfill the task God gave us together to "rule" the earth as a team.

Another expression of the tight-knit nature of the teamwork of marriage is found in Genesis 2:24, in which it describes how "a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh." The word "united" is from the Hebrew root דבק, which means "to cling to, to hold to, to stick to." In modern Hebrew, this word is used for glue. This strong bond between one man and one woman is meant to be for an entire lifetime: "until death do us part."

Sadly, many marriages do not reflect this kind of unity. To truly merge hopes and dreams, plans and lifestyles together requires commitment, compromise and self-sacrifice. To truly share not only our physical but also our emotional and spiritual selves with each other requires a deep trust and openness which is lacking in some marriages.

For many marriages, this lack of oneness is rooted in hurts that took place within the marriage, breaches of trust that were not properly dealt with and resulted in long-lasting distance.

I am not so naive as to suggest that pornography is the root of all marriage problems. However, porn always harms the marriage bond. It can do this in many ways, three of which are trust, respect, and enjoyment.

Openness and vulnerability require trust. Trust is a prerequisite for any deep oneness in marriage. However, for most porn users, porn is a secret sin, hidden from their wives or husbands.

Until one day it is not. When pornography use is discovered, or even when it is confessed, it constitutes a breach of trust simply because of it's secret nature. "I thought I knew you, but here is a dark part of your life that I didn't realize existed."

In addition, in the marriage ceremony, we promise to seek sexual satisfaction only in our spouse. Pornography breaks this promise, and erodes the trust required for marital oneness.

Trust is harmed even when the porn remains a secret. The user knows that this secret is breaking their promise, and even if their significant other doesn't know why, they will feel the effect of it.

As mentioned in my earlier posts, porn erodes our understanding of our human intrinsic value, as well as damaging our appreciation and value of both genders. This is manifest most obviously within marriage.

Because porn is so full of submission of one to the domination of the other, and because porn clearly influences sexual behavior, it is inevitable that these attitudes creep into the bedrooms of porn users. If left unchecked, they spill over from the bedroom into all areas of relating to each other.

If there is no respect and honor of the other person, how can their be openness and oneness?

Finally, true sexual enjoyment in marriage is compromised by porn. A married couple are meant to lose themselves in each other's arms - but porn fills the user's mind with images of bodies, movements, and scenarios that are not reality. This actually decreases satisfaction.

Instead of innocent discovery and experimentation, porn users try to recreate scenes from their scenes. However, these scenes are all scripted, and faked, and replicating them does not bring the imagined fulfillment that is in the mind of the user. This is especially true because often the spouse has more self-respect than the porn actors and doesn't like to be degraded in that way.

If sexual enjoyment in the marriage is damaged or destroyed, the emotional and spiritual intimacy will go along with it.

Perhaps you are reading this post and not yet married. I would like to encourage you to quit porn now, because porn trains your mind in these ways - and it doesn't just automatically disappear when you get married.

Do I want to experience openness and vulnerability in my marriage? Or will I let porn slowly destroy the trust between me and my spouse?

Pornography damages the trust we need to build an open and enjoyable marriage.

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