The Ten Commandments — #7

TenCommandmentsA StubbornThings Symposium   8/21/14
Introduction  • “But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

If what Jesus said, as written in Matthew 5:28, is true then we are all in trouble, especially us guys. I commit adultery on a daily basis. But give me at least some measure of understanding. Have you seen how young women are dressing these days? If I’m committing adultery then they are surely aiding and abetting it.

In the Christian view, sex is, or can be, something between man and wife that is more than mere calisthenics. Physically and spiritually, the Christian idea of marriage relations is captured in Mark 10:8: “And the twain shall be one flesh.”

The Christian world view is one of integrating, enriching, and taming man’s natural passions. One look at the fatherless welfare culture shows the devastation wrought when there are no constraints on sex.

God does not go into detail on the why of not committing adultery. The Commandment is succinct and stands as a terse order. But surely some of the above factors and more are the rationale for it. And as Pat has reminded us in previous installments, the 7th Commandant is very much related to the 8th, for to commit adultery is to steal from another man or woman.

At opposition are two world views: One sees man as more than just a rutting animal, and one who has, and should have, a sacred realm. The other sees sex and marriage as little more than pleasures-of-convenience, meant to fill his time so that he is never bored.

The Editor


Number 7: “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”


 

DEANA CHADWELL

Playing the Whore

Thou shalt not commit adultery   Ex 20:14

The state of our nation can be measured fairly accurately by looking at our society’s attitude toward adultery. We chuckle about it; we forgive our leaders for indulging in it; we fill our stories, our entertainment with it and yet, according to the Mosaic Law both the man and the woman involved could lose their lives if caught in the act. There’s nothing light-hearted about adultery.

The Bible has quite a bit to say about it, on both a personal scale and a national scale, from both the social and spiritual standpoint. It appears to be a huge issue from God’s point of view. Why? What’s the big deal – you could easily get away with it, no one the wiser, no one hurt – after all, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Right?

Adultery strikes at the heart and soul of human society – trust. We can’t run a country without it because no number of contracts and pre-nups, no amount of documentation can replace the efficacy of being able to take a man at his word. Betrayal of that trust digs a hole in the soul of the persons betrayed, crumbles families, and creates poverty.

On a personal scale adultery breaks hearts – of the spouse, the children, the friends and relatives. My father ran off with his secretary over fifty years ago and I still feel my stomach tighten when I think about it. (One thing you learn as you get old is that bodies and souls may heal, but they will never be quite the same.)

Even more damaging is the fact that adultery sets up a negative example for the young people exposed to it. The marriage rate in this country has dropped dramatically and this is one of the reasons often given – why commit to a promise that’s just going to get broken?

The ripples of widespread adultery rock the foundations of a culture. Marriage and family and free will are the building blocks of a functional society. They are the oldest human institutions. In the Garden, God gave Adam a companion, a helper, a soul mate. He didn’t create a variety of women for Adam to pick from, nor did He invite Adam to sample away at will. God created them male and female and when they were driven from the Garden (as a result of Eve’s betrayal – flirting with the serpent turned deadly) they raised children. It was that one family against a hostile world and yet they survived and prospered. No human community has done the same without a similar arrangement – 1 husband + 1wife + children = family, and family(X) = society. There is no other way to do it. And when too many individuals break that pattern, the building blocks crumble and chaos ensues. This is why adultery was once punishable by death.

One can look today at Islamic culture where family involves up to four wives, who may be 1st cousins to the husband and who may be as young as eight. Adultery, incest, and pederasty is woven into that culture and 1400 years of such arrangements has created immense evil that now threatens the entire world. What does that have to do with adultery? Look how far afield that is from 1 man + 1 woman until death do they part.

All of our social patterns are designed around the 1 man + 1 woman blueprint; family is general headquarters, it’s the point of deployment from which people go out into the world to work, to play, to interact with others, to create, to produce. To commit adultery interrupts that pattern and breaks off a cog on the family wheel. If most wheels are missing at least one cog, the whole machine will lock up. We are seeing this now in America. Schools can’t function because kids can’t function because their parents aren’t functioning. When schools don’t function, people don’t learn, which affects their productive value and their voting habits. Disaster.

To commit adultery is to open a hole in the shelter of the family.  Family is where you hide out when things are rough; it is protection from the rest of society. An adulterer lets the intruder in and leaves the family vulnerable to evil. Remember Fatal Attraction?  True, not all “other women” or “men” are psychotic murderers, but they might as well be – to kill a family is nearly that bad, remembering that no action takes place in a vacuum – all actions reverberate through both time and space, even when the perpetrator doesn’t have the imagination to see that.

Which gets me to my last point. All throughout the Bible, from Moses on, God’s chosen people – Israel – is written of as if she were God’s wife. When she is unfaithful and worships idols, she sacrifices her children on the altars of Baal, and no longer follows God’s law. At those times she is punished with death – marched off to Babylon, attacked by Assyria, destroyed by the Romans. Sometimes she repents and is forgiven.

In some ways America is a chosen people too (no reference to replacement theology intended) and we have turned our backs on God and we have sacrificed our children on the altars of Baal. We amuse ourselves with jokes about presidential cigars and blue dresses, and pay handsomely those who entertain us with adulterous stories and live racy lives of moral abandon. We consider seriously the re-definition of marriage as if we can do so and do no damage to the machine, as if we can heartily endorse sexual perversions and avoid structural disaster.

It is my daily prayer that this adulterous nation will get on her knees and beg her Lord’s forgiveness and return to His house where she belongs. Let us no longer betray him. Let us no longer play the whore.

— Deana Chadwell blogs at ASingleWindow.com.

 

NEIL SIMPSON

The English Standard Version of the Bible uses whore 48 times to describe the worship of false gods.  For example:

Exodus 34:14-16 (ESV) 14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), 15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they whore after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and you are invited, you eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.

This illustration of rebellion against God makes simultaneously strong and unmistakable points: Worshiping other Gods is like sexual immorality and sexual immorality is like worshiping other Gods.  Both have devastating consequences and are the opposite of loving God and neighbor.

This verse summarizes Christ’s  standard well.  (I’m taking a little poetic license by using adultery synonymously with sexual immorality, but I think I’m on fairly solid ground with that.)

Ephesians 5:3 (NIV): But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

Not even a hint.  That’s unusually specific.  Yet I’ve had lifetime churchgoers ask if sex out of wedlock is really a sin.  Recent polls show that churchgoers who support “same-sex marriage” have the same views about sexual immorality (porn, fornication, adultery, etc.) as the general population.  The world is just fulfilling its job description as rebels against the one true God.  It is the broader  church that isn’t doing its job.

Our society has sunk so low that it is not an exaggeration to say that the commandment has been reversed to thou shall commit adultery.  The alleged moral superiority of having sex before marriage to ensure compatibility is a convenient lie.  This is exacerbated by churches that pretend that God agrees with those ideas.

And feminism has so dominated society that otherwise-conservative and accurate Bible-believing leaders treat feminism as a given.  They assume that it is acceptable to be miserly with sex instead of being generous.  The rules have been turned upside down.  Even Christian women use sex as a weapon before marriage to land men, then after marriage to control them.

Our unwillingness to do anything about porn guarantees that things will continue to slide.  Men indulge themselves with porn and do far too little to fight it and to protect their families.  Women rejoice over 50 Shades of Grey and we use tax funding for Planned Parenthood to encourage kids to read it while experimenting with the BDSM lifestyle.  People indulging in heterosexual sins reflexively give the LGBTQX lobby a pass so they can rationalize their own behavior.

Women have bought the lie that serial monogamy and “frivorce” aren’t adultery.  If you divorce without biblical grounds then remarry, you commit adultery.  Churches went soft on this and we are paying the price.

The forms of rebellion shift but they are very effective at causing death and destruction.  The evidence for the damage caused by sexual immorality is irrefutable, yet the proposed solutions are all about giving kids the implicit and explicit message that we expect them to have sex before marriage.  Consider:

  • The vast majority of murders – i.e., abortions – occur because of sexual immorality.
  • The vast majority of fatherlessness is due to sexual immorality.  This wreaks havoc on kids and ultimately fills our prisons while creating countless victims.
  • Many painful, life-wrecking, generation-impacting divorces occur because of sexual immorality.
  • Nearly 100% of STDs are due to sexual immorality.

Satan is evil but not stupid.  He has been using sexual immorality to rebel against God for millennia.  Jesus said this to the church in Ephesus:

Revelation 2 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

So Jesus has things He hates?  Who knew?  Apparently the Nicolaitan false teachers were seducing Christians with idolatry and sexual immorality — much like the theological Liberal churches today.

Revelation 2 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

Given Jesus’ standards – and they are the only ones that ultimately matter — we have all sinned in this area.  By his grace we can still be adopted by God and completely forgiven if we repent and believe.  But if we really believe and if we really love God and neighbor we’ll fight this wave of sexual immorality inside and outside ourselves and inside and outside the church.

Not even a hint.  

— Neil Simpson is a husband, father and finance executive who blogs at Eternity Matters. Despite growing up with a saturation of Leftist parenting, religion, education, media and entertainment, he is a life-long Conservative and has been a Christian for 23 years. He seeks to constantly transform himself through the word and is glad to share the Good News with anyone interested in hearing it.

See Also:
The Tenth Commandment Symposium
The Ninth Commandment Symposium
The Eighth Commandment Symposium
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23 Responses to The Ten Commandments — #7

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Deana, that was truly an inspired contribution.

  2. Pst4usa says:

    Very well written articles; Thank you for allowing me to participate, it is an honor to be surrounded by such talented writers.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I like what you had to say as well, Pat. In fact, from reading these essays, the Fear of God has been so put into me that I might start wearing blinkers when going to the mall. :D

  3. Timothy Lane says:

    One interesting thought I’ve had lately regarding adultery is the matter of rights. If we now have a right to homosexual behavior and even marriage, does that mean there is also a right to commit adultery? It seems to me that these are actually related issues — and that both lead to punishing those who try to live moral lives. (Just imagine some aging woman who decides to have a border in a spare bedroom — but wants to insist on no adultery going on there. Sooner or later our debased culture will threaten legal punishment for her.)

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      (Just imagine some aging woman who decides to have a border in a spare bedroom — but wants to insist on no adultery going on there. Sooner or later our debased culture will threaten legal punishment for her.)

      This is a very interesting thought and people should not think it is too ridiculous to happen.

      You have touched the foundation of the Left’s agenda. They, like Libertarians, claim to be for expanding rights, but in truth wish to impose their beliefs on others by force.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        There’s a reason I gave that example. In fact, I read of a case a great many years ago in which a woman who wanted a “Christian” boarder faced legal repercussions for “discrimination”. It won’t be long for such moral codes become unacceptable outside of churches — and in time even that limit will go. Liberal culture is incapable of recognizing freedom of religion as a right greater than freedom of perversion.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            I hadn’t heard of it, but it’s no surprise. We already have 4 other cases that I know of (a photographer in New Mexico, a florist in Washington, and bakers in Colorado and Oregon). One of the bakers no longer does wedding cakes, and the other now runs the business out of their home (which apparently, at least for now, allows them more leeway on their clients — unlike the tyrannical Empire State).

            Social conservatives should use such examples as their wedge to recover the culture. Most people have decided that there should be freedom of perversion (because they no longer consider such acts perverse), but that doesn’t mean they would consider it right to force others to take part. If nothing else, this could be a test to see how many libertarians are really that, and how many are just libertinists.

    • Timothy — funny idea. I’ve often thought how humorous it would be to have an adulterers’ pride parade. Everyone could proudly wear giant red A’s and march about singing “Agony” from “Into the Woods.”

      • Timothy Lane says:

        What the heck, we already have NAMBLA parades where the Wicked Witch of the West can show her solidarity with pederasts. Perhaps soon she can take up animal husbandry. Doesn’t that fit in perfectly with her (and Caroline K. Schlossberg’s) Catholicism?

  4. “An adulterer lets the intruder in and leaves the family vulnerable to evil.”

    Excellent point Deana! I have often told people that adulterers are dangerous because they open the home and family to strangers. A family  where one or both  spouses are commiting adultery might as well leave the front door unlock. Your example of the movie “Fatal Attraction” is a good example. Although it was a movie, crazy incidents happen like that all the time when one of the spouses are engaging in an adulterous affair with strangers.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    IThe alleged moral superiority of having sex before marriage to ensure compatibility is a convenient lie. 

    That’s an interesting point, Neil. My Jewru, Dennis Prager, is a big believer in sex before marriage as a means of gauging compatibility. Prager has not shed all his Californian liberalism although he’s shed most of it. Perhaps he’s apologizing somewhat for having gone through a couple of wives. And I don’t say that as the usual Prager-bashing (he remains a hero of mine) but as an explanation for what seems a departure from his normally very Old Testament views.

    Sexual promiscuity can indeed seep into the culture as a norm. Freud helped to unleash this beast by saying that most of human dysfunction could be explained via sex, therefore we ought to not do that nastiest of all things and be “repressed” about it. Kinsey adding his pseudo-scientific brew on top of this, and feminism was the final straw in the death of restraint.

    Our culture is a thoroughly therapeutic one. All that matters at any given moment is how we “feel.” And if we feel bad, this isn’t cause for introspection or changing our behaviors but is more often an excuse for finding the cause of the disappointment outside of ourselves. So we move on, including to other sexual partners (I would say “soul mates,” but “sexual partners” better describes life in the big city).

    I’m certainly not for returning to a chastity belt, but such images were always part of the hyper-ventilated marketing campaign of those who were looking for any kind of sexual restraint to be seen in the worst possible light. And at the end of this Freudian tunnel we now have something like 40 to 60 percent of all births “out of wedlock,” as they say. Or, as others would say, we’ve may bastardy normal.

  6. eMatters says:

    LOL re. “Jewru.”

    You’d think that even secular types would see that statistics on cohabitation reveal what a bad idea it is (divorce, abuse, etc.).

  7. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Many years ago I had an argument with some (all male) co-workers about fidelity in marriage. They laughed at the idea and scoffed when I said I could say with 100% certainty that my parents always remained faithful to each other. They told me that might be true for my mother, but certainly not for my father. Then I asked, “So, you all step out on your wives when you get the chance?” All heads ducked, the squirming began and suddenly it was time to return to work. I still wonder sometimes how many of them were guilty as charged, and how many of them demanded complete fidelity, but only from their wives.

    Interesting, Annie. There’s almost a Muslim-like immorality on display here.

    Libertarians, Leftists, Progressives, and liberals all live for excuses to rationalize their otherwise trashy behavior. That is the nature of “reason” as usually applied by human beings in the real world. We use our trillion brain cells to come up with rationalizations, and usually quick ones, for dodgy behavior.

    Both Theodore Dalrymple and Dennis Prager say much the same thing about this subject: It’s better to have standards even if we don’t always live up to them.

    It’s become fashionable to snark at standards because the fact is that we all sin. We are all very human. The conclusion drawn from this by the secular/atheists/dumb-ass crowd is that all standards are just examples of hypocrisy. Therefore we are being more honest and “authentic” if we just let it all hang out (forgive the imagery on that one).

    Dalrymple, in particular, notes that a sort of behind-the-scenes hypocrisy of behavior is better than having no standards at all. Such hiding of behavior is at least an acknowledgment that it is wrong. It has been no leap forward to simply erase the standard and have, say, pole-smoking and ass-fracking become acceptable ways of being — as well as serial adultery and such secular abominations (to all but young males) as “friends with benefits.” The hook-up culture is the natural outcome for separating procreation from families.

    I may sound like a traditional Catholic in this regard (oh, if only half of Catholics were so), but clearly when sex is separated from responsibility and marriage, it can ever only then become a mere calisthenic. Men, ever the opportunists when it comes to sex, no doubt cheer the useful-idiot women who, via feminist dogma, have declared to themselves that they should be just as sexualized as men. Men can hardly be faulted for wanting loose women. It is our nature. How ironic that feminism has actually acted to decrease the dignity, morals, spirit, and even power of women. And the sexual free-for-all hasn’t been particular good for men either, at least gauging by the conversation you had with several of them.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      The notion that, since people fail to follow moral behavioral standards perfectly, they may as well not exist, is certainly not new. I refer to this as the Drake fallacy after a series of novels by S. M. Stirling (starting with Marching Through Georgia), an alternate history in which loyalists and others established a state in South Africa that expanded to become a world conqueror, helped by total loyalty to the state (taught from childhood) and an amoral outlook that treated imperfection as an excuse for amorality.

      As I believe I noted here previously in a different set of posts, during a dispute over Biblical attitudes on homosexuality in Indianapolis, someone pointed out that the proper moral choice is to try to adjust one’s behavior to the Bible’s injunctions, but the libertines prefer to adjust their Bibles to their behavior.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        but the libertines prefer to adjust their Bibles to their behavior.

        Timothy, given the barbarity of Islam, it was floating through my mind this morning how ironic it is that Islam cut off the head of a Western journalist. The question begs: How many heads of journalists will have to be removed before it occurs to journalists that, for example, Hamas, not Israel, is the real villain?

        That’s a trick question, of course. The answer is “There is no limit to the number.”

        So imagine you’re a Progressive. Yes, I know, this might make your head ache. But do it anyway. You’re a Progressive and you have designs to turn everyone else into a Progressive. Who would be your natural enemy among the religious factions?

        Well, it certainly wouldn’t be Christians who have found it very easy to dump the doctrine of the Bible and substitute a smorgasbord of Progressive schtick. Just the other day my older brother was telling me how some of his erstwhile conservative Christian friends had chosen a new church recently. This new “Progressive” church’s central dogma was “All you need is love.”

        So, imagining still that you’re a Progressive (two aspirin will be forthcoming after this assignment), consider how ridiculous it is for Progressives to ignore the intransigence of Islam and to, instead, single out Christians and Jews for being “reactionaries” and the root cause of all non-Progressive thoughts and beliefs.

        “Whack” goes another journalist head. “Oh, those nasty Christian bible-thumpers who hate gays” goes the air-headed Progressive.

  8. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Consent is increasingly the single sine qua non of sexual morality for the postmodern world, necessary and even sufficient for an act to be morally permissible. I’m not sure that the principle quite justifies the prohibition of zoophilia, since mankind routinely uses beasts of burden for manual labor and slaughters livestock for food and clothing, all without any pretense of consent; even an agrarian community of strict vegans would displace numerous species to make for farmland.

    Ha ha. So true, John.

    When asked about when divorce was permissible, Jesus Christ pointed back to the account of creation, affirming that God made us male and female so that a man would become one flesh with his wife: what God united, no man should separate, and Moses’ law was merely a concession to human hard-heartedness and not part of God’s original design (Matthew 19:1-9, with 19:5 citing Genesis 2:24).

    I had to go look up Matthew 19: 1 to 9, of course. And I didn’t stop there. Take a gander at 10 and 11:

    10 The disciples said to him, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife [not being able to divorce unless there is bona fide sexual infidelity involved], it is better not to marry.”

    11 Jesus replied, “Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.”

    I think it’s hilarious that even a disciple said, “Jesus, that is difficult.” And then Jesus shoots back with an Ann-Coulter-like retort: “Not everyone can do it…eunuchs, for example.”

    LOL. Gotta love it.

  9. Anniel says:

    On this commandment it seems that we are all on the same page on the sacredness of the home and insuring the safety of the family. Most of us have had sadness, divorce, and childhood abuse of one form or another, but as I read the articles I was impressed with the power of religion and the bible to comfort and heal.

    In my home my father’s word was THE LAW, and he was especially physically abusive to my older brother, who seldom fought back, while I was the lippy one. The old razor strop was a constant and real threat, especially for us, the two older children. But until I read Deanna’s account of her father leaving I had not fully appreciated what a gift the total fidelity of my parents was. I never for one instant believed anything but total faithfulness in marriage was the standard for a family. That particular evil never “entered” our home.

    Even today my older brother, who was so mistreated badly, cries because he thinks our dad never loved him, and he tells me I wouldn’t have been smacked around as much if I had just kept quiet. I did make peace with dad after I suffered the same diseases he had and learned how physically and emotionally ill he was. I no longer have any doubts about his love for his family. Some evils are easier to bear than others.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Annie,

      One of my favorite parts of “Dune” (especially as written chillingly in the book) is where Paul Atreides is being tested by the Reverend Mother to see if he is “fully human.” He has to put his hand into some kind of box. He does so, and then the Reverend Mother puts a needle full of poison at his throat and tells him that if he removes his hand, he will die.

      At first Paul feels a mild tingling. And eventually it turns into a painful burning sensation — to the point where he can feel the flesh dropping from his bones.

      The philosophical/spiritual point of this test is that only a human, as opposed to an animal, could take hold with his mind and resist the urge to remove his hand from the box. Only the human could quiet the savage animal instincts. Paul indeed does resist the urge and the rest is history (in that universe).

      That scene seems to reveal a deep truth about life and humanity. We can have awful stuff done to us. But will we mindlessly lash out and pass on the same things to our children, family, and friends or will we take hold of these situations with our minds (and hearts, and spirits) and chart another course?

      They say that humanity can be found in that moment between stimulus and response. Will we be reflexive monsters or can we keep our hand in the box just long enough to be human and humane?

      Our entire society seems premised on not being able to spend even a millisecond in that box. Every discomfort is perhaps even rationalized as an “injustice” rather than an opportunity to build character.

  10. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    At the very end of Patricia’s essay is this succinct gem:

    Marriages and families are the foundation of society, if torn apart and destroyed, society will eventually collapse.

    Given what Mark Steyn says in “America Alone” about the demographics of Western secular democracies, this does seem to be happening.

  11. Pingback: Thou shall not commit adultery | Eternity Matters

  12. Timothy Lane says:

    I’ve read the article one page at a time, and just finished the last page (with Jerry Richardson’s contribution). This reminded me of a few interesting points. One is that in Mark Rogers’s Blood of the Lamb trilogy (an allegory of Jesus Christ), when the Christ equivalent has the encounter with the woman about to be stoned, he gives her the “go, and sin no more” admonition. She then starts to offer herself to him, at which he then repeats the admonition more stringently.

    In addition, the discussion of the Greek porne reminds me of an article that Elizabeth received once on the subject of Paul’s alleged misogyny. The article pointed out that Paul’s epistles were written first and foremost as messages to the particular churches he sent them to, rather than as general messages. In Corinth, where the temple of Aphrodite Porne was a major attraction, a forward woman was likely to be considered a temple prostitute. Thus, he told them to be modest in order to prevent any misunderstandings. He was much more lenient when writing to the Thessalonians, where such woman were much more common and could be accepted in a non-sexual sense.

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