While we are on the subject of sex, I had a hunch today, as I was working on 1 Cor 6:12-20, that everyone I was reading was being to quick to assume Paul's quotation of Genesis 2:24 was a reference to sex. Now given that the context is a discussion of the theological reasons for not having sex with prostitutes that is perhaps understandable. But it also highlight that among modern Christians "becoming one flesh" has become a euphemism for sex, and perhaps consequently sexual activity has become the defining characteristic of marriage. See for example this or this, both extremely interesting articles from Christianity today. So on this hunch I thought I would consult an expert on what was really meant by one flesh in Gen 2:24. For the Old Testament scholar Gordon Wenham, becoming one flesh, "does not denote merely the sexual union that follows marriage, or the children conceived in marriage, or even the spiritual and emotional relationship that it involves, though all are involved in becoming one flesh. Rather it affirms that just as blood relations are one’s flesh and bone... so marriage creates a similar kinship between man and wife.” [From his Genesis 1-15 commentary, p 71]
So a Biblical view of marriage is not first and foremost about having sex, although that is included, but first and foremost about being family. Joined together, as one flesh, committed and interdependent. I believe this truth, properly applied, could be transformational for many Christian marriages. What do you think?
Now all I have to do is figure out how this changes my understanding of 1 Cor 6:12-20!