Brown, The Da Vinci Code, p. 125.
Gamos] (Greek: "sacred marriage")
Sexual relations of fertility deities enacted in myths and
rituals, characteristic of societies based on cereal
agriculture (e.g., Mesopotamia, Phoenicia, and Canaan). At
least once a year, people dressed as gods engaged in sexual
intercourse to guarantee the fertility of the land. The
festival began with a procession to the marriage celebration,
which was followed by an exchange of gifts, a purification
rite, the wedding feast, preparation of the wedding chamber,
and a secret nocturnal act of intercourse.2 —Britannica
Hieros Gamos or Hierogamy
means a coupling (sometimes marriage) of a god and a man,
often having a symbolic meaning. It is an ancient ritual in
which participants believed that they could gain profound
religious experience through sexual intercourse. Participants
assumed characteristics of deities, often channeling the
deities in question, and by their union provided symbolic and
literal fertility for themselves, the land, and their people.
This was often done by the monarch and hierodule ["holy female
slave"—a temple slave in the service of a specific deity,
often with the connotation of religious prostitution] of the
dominant religion. The etymology is from Greek: "hieros"
= holy and "gamos" = marriage, coupling.3
does God tell us about sex in the Bible?
first thing we learn from the Bible about sex is that sex is
good and something given as a gift from God:
…let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her
own husband. Let the husband fulfill his duty to his wife, and
likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have
authority over her own body, but the husband does; and
likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own
body, but the wife does (1 Cor. 7:2-4, NASB).
God purposely created sex so pleasurable, then He certainly
intends it to be enjoyed in marriage.
Second, God commands that we are to be sexually chaste prior to
is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should
avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to
control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not
in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and
that in this manner no one should wrong his brother or take
advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins,
as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not
call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he
who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who
gives you His Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 4:3-8).
According to this verse and verses like Galatians 6:7, this
means that those who have violated this command have really
never escaped the consequences: we think it is far better to not
have to suffer those consequences.
potent illustration is the apparently significantly shortened
life span of homosexuals as a population—even apart from the
AIDS epidemic. Striking research has indicated the median age of
death for gay men with AIDS is 39; yet even without
AIDS it is only 42!4 This is perhaps one reason
God warns, that gay men "received in themselves the penalty for
their perversion" (Rom. 1:27). And He specifically warns
The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord,
and the Lord for the body…. Flee from sexual
immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body,
but he who sins sexually, sins against his own body. Do
you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,
who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not
your own; you are bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with
your body (1 Cor. 6:13, 18-20, emphasis added).
But among you there must not even be a hint of sexual
immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because
these things are improper for God’s holy people (Eph. 5:3).
Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly
nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and
greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God
is coming (Col. 3:5-6).
These verses are obviously written to Christians because
Christians can fall into sexual temptation and sin just like
non-Christians. Yet what Christians need to remember here is not
only the earthly consequences of illicit sex, emotional,
physical and spiritual, but the fact that they will one day have
to stand before their Lord Jesus Christ and give an account of
what they have done in their body: "For we must all appear
before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive
what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether
good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10).
course, Christians will not be judged eternally for their sins.
The penalty for all their sins was fully paid for
by Jesus Christ at the cross (Eph. 1:7; Col. 2:13). But
Christians may still lose rewards in heaven. Indeed, we can only
wonder what some Christians will feel like and experience on
that day when they lose those heavenly rewards because of the
spiritually numbing and other consequences of fornication or
adultery while on earth? It will certainly be an infinitely poor
exchange—losing eternal rewards in heaven for a few fleeting
moments of sexual pleasure on earth.
explains why God reminds all Christians that they will
experience an accounting for the life they lived:
any man builds on this foundation [of Jesus Christ] using
gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will
be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to
light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test
the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives,
he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer
loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping
through the flames. Don’t you know that you yourselves are
God’s temple and that God’s spirit lives in you?… God’s temple
is sacred, and you are that temple. Do not deceive yourselves
(1 Cor. 3:12-18).
the other hand, God will also judge the unrepentant
non-Christian for their sexual sins, whether heterosexual or
you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of
God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor
idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual
offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor
slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And
that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were
sanctified, you were justified [declared righteous] in the
name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God (1
Obviously, no matter how much illicit sex and other sin one has
in one’s life, the comparatively brief pleasure experienced is
hardly worth an eternity spent in hell.
There is another reason God wishes to protect the sexual
relationship within marriage—because it protects the family unit
and the children who inevitably flow from that union. This is
such a self-evident truth that no commentary is necessary.
sex is holy for yet another reason; it actually mirrors what God
Himself did in the incarnation. The institution of marriage was
not something man invented for reasons of convenience or
practicality. God is the author of marriage, and He began it the
day He created woman to be a companion to man:
The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I
will make a helper suitable for him."...So the Lord God caused
the man to fall into a deep sleep…. Then the Lord God made a
woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought
her to the man. The man said, "This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was
taken out of man." For this reason a man will leave his father
and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one
flesh (Gen. 2:18,21-24).
can see from this passage and others that marriage is designed
by God and involves certain things. First, the woman is designed
to be a helper to man, and just as obviously, the man is
designed to love, nurture and protect the one that was taken
from his own body (compare Eph. 5:25-30). The fact that the
woman was initially taken from the man’s body and made separate
from him is symbolized in a wonderful manner when a man and a
woman are "reunited" and joined physically in marriage.
Second, God instructs the man and woman to leave their father
and mother. This is something that can cause serious problems in
a marriage relationship if those who become married do not
successfully leave their parents in order to "cleave together"
to begin their new relationship.
Third, a man and woman are to be united together "and they will
become one flesh." This physical uniting goes far beyond the
physical dimension and also involves an emotional and
Indeed, marriage itself parallels what God did through the
incarnation of Jesus Christ. What did God do in the incarnation
and what are its results? Put simply, God Himself (Jesus Christ)
left His own "family" in heaven (the Father and the Holy
Spirit), came to earth and made a public declaration of His love
for mankind at the cross. Because of this, when a person
receives Christ, he is married to Him (in the sense that the
Church is described in Scripture as the Bride of Christ), and
there is unity, joy, and a new birth or new life.
spirituality is paralleled in the marriage of a man and woman. A
man and woman leave their family and come together at the
marriage altar, making a public declaration of their love for
each other. The man is then married to his wife, and there is
unity, joy, and eventually new life.
Perhaps one reason why God treats the sexual act so seriously is
because of all it implies concerning what He has accomplished in
the incarnation and in His marriage relationship to the Church.
Scripture itself comments on this by implication:
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and
gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the
washing with water through the word, and to present her to
Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any
other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way,
husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies…. After
all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares
for it, just as Christ does the Church—for we are members of
his body. "For this reason, a man will leave his father and
mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one
flesh." This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about
Christ and the Church. (Eph. 5:25-32, emphasis added)
Indeed, the spiritual aspects of sex and marriage are far
more profound than many people realize.
Another reason God wants us to wait for sex until marriage is
because He wants to protect the most important sex organ we will
ever have—our mind. Those who do wait until marriage usually
have better marriage relationships. This is not necessarily
because the sex is any better (though there are those who argue
from experience it is), but because a mutual trust has been
established at the beginning of the relationship which provides
a good foundation for a successful marriage.
another way, because sex and marriage are gifts from God, they
are properly subject to His loving commands. Since God is their
author, having sex in accordance with His purposes and obeying
His commands about marriage should not only produce the best
sex, but also the best sexual development, freedom and
experience, and the best marriages.
also wants to protect us from being unable to discern the
difference between love and sex, and He wants us to have a
logical basis to know whether or not we are in love with someone
or whether it is primarily our hormones or emotions speaking to
us. Illicit sex frequently confuses the issue.
Finally, it goes without saying that God further wants to
protect us from fear and give us peace of mind in the area of
sexually transmitted diseases—those who wait for sex until
marriage have this peace.
essence, the reason for the biblical teaching about sexuality is
because God is the one who made sex and designed it to be
enjoyed in the manner it was intended. Like anything whose
proper function is abused, it either doesn’t work well or causes
additional problems. God wants to protect us from this, and He
wants to provide the best for us in a quality mate simply
because He loves us. This is why He has given us commands to
obey and why we should give our children the same commands.
Dating, sex and marriage are all wonderful gifts from the Lord
and those who take them seriously will find great reward. God
knows how He has created us, what human nature is like, what is
or isn’t in our best interest. In truth, the commands God has
given us are only those for our own best welfare. A God of love
would do no less (1 John 4:8).
Rejecting God’s principles for sex only produces the myriad of
serious problems we see about us today. Because sexual
permissiveness is destructive to the created social order, it is
also ultimately self-destructive. Thus, parents who have
educated their children in biblical standards concerning love,
marriage and sexuality—and children who have obeyed those
injunctions—characteristically have fewer of the problems
encountered by those who are educated in liberal attitudes
toward love, marriage and sex. Obedient Christians do not have
to deal with guilt, broken relationships or divorce, emotional
problems, suicide, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted
pregnancies, adultery, abortion or other problems.
biblical view of sex may not be popular in our culture—but it is
demonstrably5 what is best for our culture—for
ourselves, our children and for our nation and its future.