We both love how Matthew has taken the concept of sin and given a breath of fresh air to the topic. You must read this book because in its pages you will finally gain a biblical perspective on sin and what it takes to free yourself from the bonds that so easily entangle!

Gary and Michael Smalley
Smalley Relationship Center
When mental illness afflicts a loved one, how can we understand what is happening and respond appropriately? This biblically-literate and scientifically-informed book offers helpful insight, encouragement, and practical advice. For pastors and for those who hurt for those who hurt, Matthew Stanford offers sensitive and welcome guidance.

David G. Myers, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Hope College and author of Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Lust and Adultery

As a scientist, it never ceases to amaze me just how accurate and complete the scriptures are in their description of natural phenomena. The neurobiological processes related to attraction and attachment can clearly be seen in verses discussing marriage and adultery throughout the Bible. For instance, the sex drive is seen as a God-given biological instinct that must be controlled in order to avoid sin (1 Corinthians 7:5, 9; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). Descriptions of this sexual drive causing an individual to “burn with desire” or have “lustful passion” appear to be rather colorful metaphors for surging testosterone levels. The marital relationship is seen as the only place that this drive can be brought under control and expressed in a Godly manner (Proverbs 5:15-19; 1 Corinthians 7:1-5; Hebrews 13:4).

The scriptures also suggest that a sexual relationship physically alters a couple in such a way that they become “one flesh” (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6; 1 Corinthians 6:16). This reference can be understood and explained by increased levels of oxytocin and vasopressin in the brain that bring about emotional bonding. When a sexual relationship is sinful (such as in adultery or fornication), the scriptures imply that the adverse effects can be both physical and long-term (1 Corinthians 6:18). Paul writes that sexually immoral practices such as these cause us to “sin against our own body”. This references neurochemical changes that occur during the act of adultery or fornication which alter the individual’s brain in such a way that their other intimate relationships are damaged. In Christ, we have been spiritually transformed, but sin still has a physical strangle-hold on our bodies (Romans 7:22-25). It is only through the power of the indwelling Spirit that sin can be mastered (Genesis 4:7).

We were created for relationship with one another (Genesis 2:18). God made us male and female so that we might be involved in the creative process of conception through physical intimacy. He designed within each of us a set of biological systems that prompt us to seek out a companion and form long-term emotional connections. Unfortunately, our bodies have been scarred by original sin and we live in a fallen world. Our sinful state has resulted in an epidemic of problems related to lust. Men and women that are dissatisfied with their lives and seek fulfillment through adulterous sexual relationships or others who seek comfort and control through sexual fantasies and self-gratification find that sexual sin comes at the expense of real intimacy.

All men (and many women) struggle with lust. Our “feel good” culture tells us to follow our primal impulses with little thought of the consequences. Stephen Arterburn describes it this way, “our society helps condition us toward addictive sex. The media have helped make the unusual appear to be norm. Multiple sex partners, repeated affairs, sex on every first date: these behaviors no longer shock the regular viewer of primetime television. Many who grow up in such an environment will be predisposed to sex addiction …” The sinful culture we live in takes our normal, God-given biological drives, and turns them against us.

1 comment:

  1. • Smile is the shortest distance between two people.
    • Those who are able to control their rage can conquer their most serious enemy.
    • Knowledge and skills are tools, the workman is character.
    • Being careful in judging an opinion is a sign of wisdom.
    • You recognize birds from their singging, you do people from their talks.