Biblical Foundations: Sexual Beings
Humanity reflects many characteristics of God, though always imperfectly. Like God, we are moral, rational, creative, spiritual, and so forth. But one of the key ways that we reflect God’s image is through our sexuality.
The first declaration of God after expressing his intent to create humanity in his image is that we were created “male and female.” How can the fundamental ground of our sexuality, maleness and femaleness, be part of the image of God? After all, God is Spirit and not embodied, and he is neither male nor female.
The answer is that human beings are models, not the real thing. We point to God, but we are not God. Our sexuality echoes some essential aspects of God:
Scripture teaches that God is love and hence is relational. God is three and yet one—one God in three persons. God is a unity that somehow is also a community. Human beings were created out of the abundance of the love eternally present within and among the three persons of the Trinity. As a result, we also are relational. We are made to love. We hunger for relationship with another; each man was designed to desire a woman, and each woman a man.
If (1) God is the ultimate reality; (2) God is love and loves but without wanting, needing, or having sex; and (3) we are limited, biological models of God, then it follows that love is more real and more fundamental than sex, because God is love. This contradicts secular views that say we live in an entirely material universe in which sex is what is real and love is a mere fantasy!
Faithfulness—both to lifelong union in our marriages and to lives of chaste singleness—mirrors the mutual love and eternal fidelity of the triune God to himself and to us.
God is a community that somehow is also a unity. Mysteriously, the marriage of man and woman echoes that reality. The glue for the union of human persons is the husband and wife’s sexual union: Through sexual intercourse, two people become “one flesh,” a community that is also a unity of persons.
Even the most secular and isolated people experience powerful sexual longings that point to something greater beyond themselves. That passion tells us something about the depth of God’s love for us: His passion for us dwarfs our own.
Our physical union in marriage has the capacity to bring forth new life. This reflects the Creator’s divine love, which overflows in creating new life.
In all of these ways and more, our sexuality is a vital part of our being made in God’s image.
Some content taken from HOW AND WHEN TO TELL YOUR KIDS ABOUT SEX, by Stan and Brenna Jones. Copyright © 1993, 2007, 2019. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. To purchase books in the GOD’S DESIGN FOR SEX book series, go to www.navpress.com.
[i] The Athanasian Creed states (in part) that “We worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity,, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance. There is one person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit, but the divinity of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit is all one, the glory equal, the majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit . . . [Summarizing, each is “uncreated,” “incomprehensible,” “eternal,” “Almighty,” “God,” “Lord,” “neither created . . . (nor) made.”] . . . In this Trinity none is before or after another, none is greater or less than another, but all three persons are coeternal and coequal, so that in all things, as said before, the Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity is to be worshipped. He therefore that will be saved must think of the Trinity in this way.” To access the full Athanasian Creed, see https://www.christian-history.org/athanasian-creed.html.