Healthy, Godly attraction?

Discussion in 'Spiritual Warfare' started by arapahoepark, Oct 26, 2017.

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  1. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    After reading an article from awhile ago on the blogosphere that basically argued that Matt 5:28 is exclusively talking about adulterous, sexual coveting. It went on to argue that the desire for sex as a single is therefore not wrong. It also argued that Things like m#sturbation and premarital were not wrong since that goes beyond what the Bible says, etc.
    It got me thinking, what is a proper Godly attraction to the opposite sex and desire to marry and consummate it? Undoubtedly, a drive is there for a reason but, what is healthy and how does that go into distortion?
  2. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    Unfortunately, there isn't a clear manual on how to pursue towards a Proverbs 5:15-19 marriage while still unmarried.

    I question the article's wisdom on m@sturbation. It's beyond a sin issue. Even assuming that one can "do the act" thinking only of Platonic forms, it's still creates a psychological crutch, yet the Bible tells us to lay aside everything that hinders us.
  3. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    That article sounds remarkably convenient for someone who desires to indulge in such things. I've seen articles like that before, including one which dared to follow out its internal logic and justify many things that have been rejected by Christians, on the basis of them not involving a particular configuration which, in that author's view, constituted the prohibited core. The catechetical expositions of the 7th commandments do a much better job of highlighting the ways in which we violate the command.

    Clearly the desire for companionship and intimacy is not intrinsically wrong, but its pursuit must come by way of offering up our desires to God in prayer and using the appropriate means to find someone truly suitable across all dimensions, not just that one dimension of physical attraction. Perhaps bearing in mind that one is seeking a truly suitable companion, made in the image of God, for a life that is far richer than one dimension, will help to properly maintain the physical element in its suitable place.
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  4. chuckd

    chuckd Puritan Board Sophomore

    The design of sex is to procreate. The desire is there to bear children. Marriage codifies the father and mother remaining together and therefore should happen before you have children.

    Distortion is anything contrary to the design of sex. This includes acts that you see animals doing who can't control their impulses.
  5. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    It is clear what the natural and intended use of our sexual organs is. To use them in any other way is to abuse our sexual faculties. This is what the WLC calls "unnatural lusts." The Scriptures are not going to go into detail on all of the ways that someone could pervert God's design in sexuality, "For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret" (Eph 5:12).

    If you want to understand proper sexual and marital ethics, go to Genesis. When Christ wanted to correct the misunderstandings in his day, that is where he went: "from the beginning it was not so" (Matt 19:8).

    I'd encourage you to look up what the older writers had to say about "self-pollution," if that is something that you are trying to understand the ethics of.
  6. Parakaleo

    Parakaleo Puritan Board Sophomore

    Undue delay of marriage is a sin forbidden by the Seventh Commandment (WLC 139). It seems to me that the reason for this is that healthy, godly attractions can turn into ungodly ones if left to stagnate too long.
  7. ThomasT

    ThomasT Puritan Board Freshman

    The WLC (Question 139) also argues that the 7th Commandment prohibits drunkenness, gluttony, and idleness. It's clear what the authors of the WLC were trying to do (identify human behavior that can lead to adultery), but the 7th in its original form meant one thing only: If you're going to have sex, make sure the person you're having sex with isn't married to someone other than yourself. Fornication and other impurities are dealt with in the Jewish law outside the 10 Commandments. The 10 Commandments were meant to be a "best of" album of prohibitions, not an exhaustive list of all possible sins.
  8. Parakaleo

    Parakaleo Puritan Board Sophomore

    Brother, I say in love that you seem to be seriously mistaken in your view of the law of God. What you say about the Seventh Commandment, for example, fails instantly when we are confronted with Christ's teaching against adultery committed in the heart (Matthew 5). You see, it is not difficult for God to comprehend the whole duty of men toward God and other men under the ten headings of the Ten Commandments. In fact, Christ comprehend all these things under two headings (Matthew 22).

    I think it may be best to let wiser men speak for me. The following is from Fisher's Catechism:

    Q. 35. What are the peculiar properties of the law of the Ten Commandments?
    A. That it is perfect, Psalm 19:7; spiritual, Rom. 7:14; and exceedingly broad, or most extensive, Psalm 119:96.

    Q. 36. What rule is to be observed for the right understanding of the perfection of the law?
    A. "That it binds every one to full conformity in the whole man, unto the righteousness thereof, and to entire obedience for ever; so as to require the utmost perfection of every duty and to forbid the least degree of every sin, Matt. 5:21, to the end, James 2:10."

    Q. 37. What rule is to be observed for understanding the spirituality of the law?
    A. That it reaches to the thoughts and motions of the heart, as well as to the words and actions of the life, Deut. 6:5.

    Q. 38. What rule is to be observed for the right understanding of the breadth or extent of the law?
    A. That, as where a duty is commanded, the contrary sin is forbidden, Isa. 57:13; and where a sin is forbidden, the contrary duty is commanded, Eph. 4:28:so, when any duty is commanded, all the causes and means of it are commanded also, Heb. 10:24, 25; and when any sin is forbidden, all occasions and temptations to it, are likewise forbidden, Gal. 5:26.
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  9. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    The Ten Commandments are a summary of the entire moral law. That's what the Reformed have always taught, and that's their function in the Scriptures.

    WSC 41:
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  10. ThomasT

    ThomasT Puritan Board Freshman

    TylerRay and Parakaleo,

    One can accept the high theological WLC formulations regarding the 10 Commandments, formulations that come to our attention only by virtue of the Second Covenant, while also acknowledging that these formulations would have been incomprehensible to the people to whom they were originally presented.

    No one among the ancient Israelites was prosecuted for drunkenness under the 7th Commandment. Moreover, no one in ancient Israel in a position of authority would have consented to prosecute a chaste but drunken man for sleeping with someone else's wife, for the simple reason that a drunken but chaste man could not, by definition, possibly have slept with someone else's wife.

    The law is given for a limited purpose for some (the ancient Israelites) and for a larger purpose for others (us). Let's not suppose that Moses was just in executing adulterers but unjust in not executing the chaste but drunken. This is not what the Mosaic Law decreed. The Second Covenant shines a light on the ancient law that the recipients of that law were not expected to understand, but the Law in its original form remains only a) a simple and explicit divine decree limited to its formal language and b) a blunt and explicit threat of punishment.
  11. ThomasT

    ThomasT Puritan Board Freshman

    Quick self-clarification: In the sentence, "One can accept the high theological WLC formulations regarding the 10 Commandments, formulations that come to our attention only by virtue of the Second Covenant, while also acknowledging that these formulations would have been incomprehensible to the people to whom they were originally presented," replace these forumaltions
  12. ThomasT

    ThomasT Puritan Board Freshman

    Sorry -- I've been distracted while writing. Please do me the favor of replacing the words "to whom they were" with the words "to whom the Law was..." Grazie...

  13. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    The Ten Commandments are not judicial, but moral in nature. They are intended to shed light on sin, not to give a list of crimes.

    WCF XIX:
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2017
  14. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Friend, this is a highly un-confessional view. I'm afraid you won't find much sympathy for it on this confessional forum. I won't try to argue with you about it: a brief glance at the confessional statements regarding God's law, if you will bother to read them, will be a better argument against you than I can bring.
  15. ThomasT

    ThomasT Puritan Board Freshman

    There's no doubt that the 10 Cs are moral in nature rather than judicial. To argue otherwise (as you seem to think I'm doing) would be to suggest that in countries where adultery is legal, adulterers have nothing to answer for, and that only governments, in their refusal to ban abortion, are culpable. This would clearly be absurd.

    My point in bringing up the hypothetical case of Moses prosecuting a drunkard under the 7th was only to show that the ancient Israelites had no understanding of the 7th implying a prohibition on drunkenness. If you went back in time and showed the ancient Israelites the WLC explication of the 7th, they'd scratch their beards and wonder what planet you came from.

    Does this mean the Israelites' understanding of the 7th was wrong? No. It simply means that it was incomplete -- yet still sufficient for a limited purpose.
  16. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Thomas, I have to admit I'm impressed with the amount of access you have to the minds of the ancient Israelites.

    I'm not persuaded by your assertions, however, because those ancient Israelites who were charged with prosecuting God's covenant people for their failure to keep the law are already applying the laws in significantly sweeping ways. Isaiah 5, for instance, issues two different woes against alcoholic self-indulgence, and there are many examples of insightful prohibitions that grasp the purport of God's law. The prophets exposited Moses, more directly at some times than others. David was well aware of the heart problem of sin (Ps. 19:12; 51:5-10). Indeed, Moses had already told the Israelites how deeply sin went (Gen. 6:5; Deut. 10:16; 30:6).

    Of course the original form of the 10 Commandments already indicated that these regulations were not be understood in a merely external way. Both the first and tenth commandments must be understood with reference to the heart; the 10th cannot be understood at all without such a reference. Would dull, legalistic, self-excusing readers of the 10 Commandments seek to deploy them in a merely external way? Surely, as we see Jesus protesting and vindicating the true meaning of the law in the NT. Likely enough that reductionistic method of interpretation was not original to the 2nd Temple period. But we have no grounds for saying that all ancient Israelite readers adopted the same approach: certainly the authors of Scripture did not.

    This is not the place to argue for an unconfessional restriction on the original scope of the law.
  17. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I'll only add to what Reuben has said that the reason I understood you to be implying that the Ten Commandments are judicial laws is that you spoke of someone being "prosecuted for drunkenness under the 7th Commandment." This implies that the 7th commandment is a judicial law under which someone may have been prosecuted. Further, it implies that everything summarized by or implied in the Ten Commandments would necessarily be a crime, thus rendering them judicial in nature.

    Something can be forbidden in the Ten Commandments without having been a crime in Israel--see the tenth commandment, for example.
  18. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    And not all sins are crimes. I'm not sure what the "just penalty" for getting drunk in my home would be. Perhaps discipline by the elders but I can't think of any civil penalty.

    Now, committing acts while drunk is a different thing.
  19. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Right. I could see public drunkenness being justly censured by the magistrate. Drunk driving is certainly worthy of censure.
  20. ThomasT

    ThomasT Puritan Board Freshman

    I'll be happy to retract any statement of mine guilty of straying outside confessional lines. But I think your understanding of my statements is the issue here, rather than the conformity of my statements to the confessions. I'm not arguing a) that the 10 Cs were judicial rather than moral, b) that drunkenness is allowed under Old Testament Law, or c) that the Jews didn't understand the cause-and-effect relationship between drunkenness and adultery.

    I'm simply saying that there's no reason to suppose that when an ancient Israelite was told not to commit adultery that he understood that the same commandment that forbade him from committing adultery also forbade him from getting drunk.
  21. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Thomas, a couple of things.

    First of all, the last quote from you sounds rather weaker than your preceding assertions, which I bolded. First you spoke of the "original form" of the 7th commandment meaning "one thing only." Then you say that the ancient Israelites would have found incomprehensible the meaning of the law as expounded by the Catechism. Are you now moderating those claims?

    Second, the "no reason to suppose" is actually what was addressed by my post. The Law was intended as a subject for meditation, and it was understood (by some) that the commandment was exceedingly broad. On the specific subject of drunkenness, it's clear that ancient Israelites did understand that it was wrong. And the information they had about drunkenness from Genesis was that it was closely associated with sexual disgrace of one kind or another (Noah, Lot). The Catechism has not made its exposition arbitrarily.

    Third, by way of clarification, the Catechism is not just prohibiting sins that may lead to adultery; it is prohibiting sins that fall into the same general category of excess in sensory pleasures.

    Fourth, a point about the argument overall. Since none of us have direct access to the minds of ancient Israelites, assertions about what they would have thought or said or what not are not a solid basis on which to found anything. But imagine for a moment that you were successful in demonstrating that an ancient Israelite understood the commandment in the restricted way you have set out (which is not yet the case); that would still not mean that this particular ancient Israelite was either representative, nor right in his views. The prophets are the accredited interpreters of the law: do they take a non-expansive approach to the commandments?
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2017
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  22. ThomasT

    ThomasT Puritan Board Freshman

    1) My earlier comments were an imagined Israelite response to the WLC's treatment on adultery (specifically to the question, "What sins are prohibited by the 7thC...?"); they weren't my own commentary on the WLC. I probably should have made that clearer.

    2) The fact that drunkenness was regarded as sinful by the ancient Israelites, or that the Israelites understood the practical link between drunkenness and adultery, doesn't establish any connection whatsoever in the minds of OT Jews between the 7thC itself and a prohibition on drunkenness.

    3) No objection here.

    4) You're arguing that there's a (possibly) representative and (certainly) authoritative understanding in the OT of the 7thC prohibiting drunkenness, and that this understanding can be found in the statements of the prophets.

    I'm not aware of this being the case. Where in the OT do we read of a prophet specifically citing the 7thC and then going on to state explicitly that the 7thC prohibits more than just adultery?
  23. Parakaleo

    Parakaleo Puritan Board Sophomore

    ThomasT, it may be helpful if you just tell us what author(s) you have been reading that have you thinking this way. Your ideas don’t sound even slightly Reformed and it seems obvious that you have learned these things from a fringe group.
  24. ThomasT

    ThomasT Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm not trying to dodge your question, and I do appreciate the insight you're offering to provide, but it would be very helpful if you first identified a specific claim of mine that falls outside of Reformed teaching. This thread has been wide-ranging, and in such a discussion it's easy to take things out of context by picking a statement from one post and marrying it to a statement from another and then coming up with a misleading conclusion.
  25. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Thomas, this does need to be made clearer. What you have said has sounded unconfessional to several members of the Board, so if that isn't your intention let's definitively set the record straight. From your own point of view, did the original scope of the 10 Commandments as given by God to Moses on Mt. Sinai include the sort of expansive prohibition that the Larger Catechism identifies?

    The question about the ancient Israelite understanding is related, but not at all the same. God's word is meant to expand our understanding, not conform to it. Furthermore, it's an argument that has to be based on assumptions, because the Hebrew Bible is the only thing anywhere near a sustained look at what ancient Israelites thought and felt.

    Finally, your question about a specific quotation and linking of 7th commandment and drunkenness is anachronistic. That's not how the prophets (nor, for the most part, the NT) expounded the law. Isaiah doesn't quote the 4th commandment; yet in light of Isaiah 56 and 58 there's no doubt he was reflecting on it.
  26. ThomasT

    ThomasT Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes. And by saying "yes" I'm merely reiterating what I said previously. In your post before this latest one you wrote, "[T]he Catechism is not just prohibiting sins that may lead to adultery; it is prohibiting sins that fall into the same general category of excess in sensory pleasures," to which I responded, "No objection here."

    I hope this clears up the WLC issue. But I think we still disagree on another question, a question that doesn't seem to be addressed directly by a confessional provision.

    The question is this: Are we warranted in assuming with high confidence that the ancient Israelites in general, or, failing that, the OT prophets, were as clear on the link between the 7thC and drunkenness as the WLC is?

    I don't think we are. I think the OT prophets may have looked at the 7thC the same way the WLC does, but there are many suppositions about the past that may be true but that we nevertheless refrain from lending our assent to. We need more than a mere hypothesis, or even a hypothesis supported by vague and ambiguous evidence, to settle our minds on a question. (The passages you cited from Isaiah leave the question an open one.)

    Imagine an ancient Israelite man who was lost at sea in a shipwreck and then drifted for months before landing on a remote island. On this island, which is full of wine, the man is incapable of committing adultery because the nearest woman is thousands of miles away. One day the man is visited by a prophet (who gets there via miracle). The prophet asks the man what he intends to do while he's stranded on the island. The man responds by saying that he intends to live in a state of constant inebriation. The prophet advises him to avoid drunkenness, to which the man responds by saying, "Show me where the 10Cs prohibit drunkenness and I'll leave the wine alone, or maybe I'll take the wine but only in moderation."

    You're saying, if I understand you correctly, that your mind is perfectly settled on how the prophet would respond -- that the prophet would definitely respond, or at least definitely could respond without misrepresenting himself, by citing the 7th. How you arrive at that conclusion, and arrive with perfect certainty, is beyond my grasp.
  27. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Thank you, Thomas, I appreciate the clarification. This thread has probably run its course, so let me close by just turning your question around: why should we assume that the original scope of God's commandments was universally misunderstood prior to the NT?
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