There's No Such Thing as Premarital Sex

The only way premarital sex would be possible is if marriage is nothing more than a legal status rendered by a temporal government.

The Bible doesn't contain a single verse that prohibits sex before marriage. Considering how seriously God takes marriage, this might come as a counter-intuitive surprise. Even saying it sounds like I'm making light of sex, but that's only because the church has made light of marriage.

For example, our culture has made sex recreational--a game for perpetually bored teenagers and a distraction for desperately lonely adults. Some will say that it's a helpful gauge of compatibility, yet for most people, it's just another item on the human experience checklist. One of the better ones, for sure, but not any more life-changing than a good sneeze or a piece of cake.

In response, the church has made sex dangerous. Instead of being fun or informative, sex is a horrible monster that needs to be kept locked up lest it give you a disease or worse, a baby. But when love arrives in the form of a proper license, then it will magically transform into a fairy god something that will grant you three wishes: a good marriage, a clear conscience, and true pleasure.

The intent was a good one in that the church was hoping to combat culture's casual approach to sex by injecting it with an amount of severity. Except that in elevating the status of sex, we've accepted culture's lowered status of marriage.

Throughout most of human history, marriage has been treated as a legal transaction. In the early days of patriarchy, it was not unlike purchasing offspring, complete with an indentured nanny who would raise the man's descendants. As women began to shake off their identity as property, marriage became more of a state-recognized partnership that included various tax and insurance-related benefits.

Now most Christians would say that marriage is a sacred covenant, not just a legal partnership. However, the sacred gets obscured by the fact that no Christian would recognize a marriage that isn't recognized by the state. In other words, we may believe that God ordained marriage, but we only trust the state to authorize it. It's tempting to argue that this was God's intent since he endowed the state with authority save for the fact that God already provided his own way of authorizing marriage.

Sex.

There's a reason that humanity has historically consummated marriages through this physical act. And even if they were treated more pragmatically centuries ago, there was no question that a marriage didn't begin until sex was had. This means that premarital sex is an illogical concept since the thing that consummates a marriage can't exist apart from consummating a marriage.

Some will debate me on this because they're convinced that the Bible does contain prohibitions against premarital sex like 1 Corinthians 6:9, 2 Corinthians 12:21, Galatians 5:19, and Hebrews 13:4. But the problem with all of these verses and many others is that they rely on a faulty interpretation of a disputed Greek word: porneia (often rendered as "fornication").

Scholars may be divided on the intended meaning of this word, but the etymology clearly refers to prostitution (just follow the root words in Strong's). And since prostitution is God's favorite metaphor to describe his people's unfaithfulness, it should be obvious that the sin in view here is not jumping the gun on commitment but cheapening it by committing to multiple partners. No one can serve two masters; thus, true faithfulness is monogamous.

This is why Paul says in 1 Corinthians, "Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, 'The two will become one flesh.'" If sex doesn't institute marriage, then why did Paul condemn prostitution by alluding to God's establishment of marriage? Because whenever we have sex with someone, we're entering into a metaphysical union with them that God designed to mirror a lifelong commitment to him. Which means there is no such thing as sex before marriage; there is only sex outside of marriage.

But just because premarital sex is a made-up sin, that doesn't mean we have license to sleep with anyone we want. Rather, we need to understand that our first sexual partner is marriage and our second is adultery. Just in case it sounded like I was taking sex lightly, yes, I just called the "innocent" explorations of young adults as adultery. Because unlike some people, I don't see Scripture drawing a distinction between sex and marriage. And I have to imagine that if sex was understood as the consummation of marriage, then it wouldn't be done so casually in the first place.

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Comments

  1. That last statement is pure gold. The only problem is most people refuse to believe it. This way they can sleep with whoever they want, and still say I'll get married when I'm ready by the state.

    I have yet to hear an explanation on why in Matthew 5:32 you see fornication used to describe marital infidelity.

    The whole idea that the state has ultimate authority to sanction marriage has led to homosexual filth being legalized as "marriage." If a man and woman consummate their marriage in the act of sexual intercourse, and that's what makes a marriage legal in the eyes of God, then there is no way two men or two women could ever truly be married. Our country has become so full of darkness that all there is anymore in this country is darkness. The Church is doing nothing but feeding it by propagating the lie that the state can sanction marriage.

    I do have one question for you that is bugging me. If sex equals marriage, where does weddings, like the one Jesus attended, fit in with it?

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    Replies
    1. Ancient Near Eastern weddings are just what they are: cultural artifacts. The fact that Jesus attended one (and probably others) does not indicate anything other than he attended one. It's a poor hermeneutic to infer this statement as an endorsement.

      The only words we have from Jesus directly speaking about what marriage is and how it works never address cultural traditions. He speaks of God being the sole architect but also that marriage is one more shadow of things to come that will not exist in the future.

      These are the passages we should consider. Not the descriptive ones but the prescriptive ones.

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  2. very nice, think its funny how very explicit the bible is about what is sin and what is not but people got to infer so many things to keep the victorian thing going

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  3. I recently read an article from a secular author in which she stated that many people today experience multiple marriages and, by extension, the trauma of multiple divorces, as a result of the propensity for informal marriage-like relatioships called "living together". The practice, according to this author, has caused pain and intimacy issues. The church is not called to develop some holy dating method to be adopted by all "good kid". What happens to those who cant or didnt practice holy dating. Jesus said he came for sinners like a doctor for the sick. His way of dealing with the woman at the well can help us as we figure out our message. His message to her was full knowledge of "everything I ever did." Yet she felt his love and acceptance enough to go back and call her community to him. I bet that did more to change her life than any instruction on proper marriage or sexual behavior could.

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