Question:I have read a lot of your articles that deal with sex and fornication. In my mind, I agree that sex does not create a marriage. However, it seems my heart believes that sex does create marriage. I have deep feelings my marriage is an adulterous relationship because neither I nor my wife were virgins when we married. So is the devil trying to confuse me, or is the holy spirit trying to correct me? Just to clarify, I love my wife and I am not trying to seek a loophole to get out of my marriage. I just want to be right in God's eyes.
I believe that in the old testament, sex outside of marriage was not lawful, as a punishment was enforced if two people were caught having sex (Exodus 22:16-17). However, did I Corinthians 6:15-16 change this to restore the original intent, as Jesus changed the reason for divorce? Malachi 2:14 does say the wife of your vows, but again was this changed when Paul said you become one flesh with a harlot? When he asks, Do not you know, is he implying that most people don't realize that sex is a marriage?
When I study the Bible, I try to discard teachings that have been already placed in my head from other people. I was always taught fornication means sex outside of marriage. However, I've learned it could mean, illegal sex, or the act of having sex with a harlot. What I am suggesting is that sex before marriage is not a sin. And that fornication refers to illegal sex, i.e. adultery, homosexuality, bestiality. However, sex would create a marriage, and any other relationship after that would be adultery.
So when Paul says to avoid fornication, get married, could he be saying, to avoid homosexuality, to avoid adultery, to avoid bestiality, to avoid using a harlot , get married? A lot of times, a harlot is referred to an adulteress. Is this because she is married to the first person she had sex with, and all her other sexual exepricences are adultery? I have also been taught that marriage and one flesh is the same thing. Is that so?
I do understand that this thinking means rape causes marriage. But in the case of Tamar and Amnon, Tamar says Amnon putting her out is worst than him raping her. Why did she say this? Did she think she could not be married because she was not a virgin?
I know I asked a lot of questions, but I'm really torn on this issue. I'm scared because if sex is marriage, I am living in sin. But if I divorce my wife, and sex is not marriage, I sin, causing her to be an adulteress.
Where do you find in the Scriptures that God uses vague feelings to overwrite plain teaching? A person who puts his feelings first, makes himself the authority instead of God. See: All Feeling, No Proof
- "O Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself, it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps" (Jeremiah 10:23).
- "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord" (Isaiah 55:8).
- "There is a way that seems right to a man; but its end is the ways of death" (Proverbs 14:12).
Feelings are never enough to make right decisions. To ascribe your feelings to the Holy Spirit is to walk the path of deception.
What you have done is artificially narrowed the definition of fornication. The Old Testament was God's law. It wasn't replaced because it was wrong. It was replaced because it could not bring salvation. "Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good. Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful" (Romans 7:12-13). Terms of the covenant changed with the New Law, but it doesn't mean we can't learn from it or that meanings changed. "For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope" (Romans 15:4). Thus, Genesis 34, Exodus 22:16-17, and Deuteronomy 22:28-29 proves that sex does not create a marriage. If rape created a marriage, then there would be no need to command marriage or seek out marriage after a rape. Nor could a father refuse what supposedly already happened. Fornication includes two virgins having sex without being married. Attempting to define it away doesn't make it so.
In classical Greek, porneia was used to refer to prostitution. As the word evolved, it denoted unchastity or illicit sexual relations of any kind in later writings. [Source: The Complete Biblical Library: Greek-English Dictionary].
Walter Baurer's A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature defines porneia as "unlawful sexual intercourse, prostitution, unchasity, fornication ... the sexual unfaithfulness of a married woman."
If sex created a marriage and all subsequent attempts at marriage are adultery, then you end up with God commanding Hosea to commit adultery. "When the LORD began to speak by Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea: "Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and children of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the LORD"" (Hosea 1:2). Gomer was not a virgin when Hosea married her. Yet, you are claiming that this makes it an adulterous relationship. But "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone" (James 1:13). What God commanded Hosea to do was not wrong.
You also end up with a contradiction since Joseph married Mary before they had sex. "Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son" (Matthew 1:24-25). Joseph and Mary were married and sex did not come until after Jesus was born.
The reason Tamar said sending her away was worse is became Amnon had not only committed rape (a sin), but was now also trying to avoid responsibility by not marrying her as the law demanded.
Almost all your questions are addressed in "Is a marriage only bound after sex?"
Yes, if you divorce your wife, you will be sinning by breaking the covenant you made in the presence of God.
Thank you for your response. So I understand that Jesus changed some aspects concerning divorce and marriage, but didn't change definitons. I also thank you for clearing that my feelings are not what I should base decisions on. I believe I have much much more to learn about God's word.
By the way, the web site is awesome. I spend hours just reading article after article.
One of the amazing things about God's Word is that you can spend years studying it and realize that you haven't yet scratched the surface of the things God has taught us.