0111 – Source Code 7 – What God Joined Together

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“So they are no longer two, but one, therefore what God has joined together let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:6)

“You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14)

When God created human beings, he created marriage. God created them male and female, and the first picture we see of their relationship is one of marriage. In Genesis 2, God created Adam “from the dust of the ground” and after a time, “no suitable helper was found” for him (Gen 2:20). That’s when God put Adam into a deep sleep and fashioned from him just such a helper. Her name became Eve, and the first marriage took place at the moment of their meeting.

For those readers unfamiliar with the “birds and the bees”, you probably ought to read no further. Trust me.

I am amazed that a book considered so holy and pure that children ought to be encouraged to read it (and they should, don’t get me wrong) contains information that children ought not to be familiar with at younger ages. It seems to me that children need to carefully exposed to Biblical content until their life experience can prepare them for it. Just sayin’.

Ziony Zevit’s book What Really Happened in the Garden of Eden (Yale University Press, 2013) suggests that this surgery for Adam isn’t what we’ve always been taught. We’ve always been taught that Adam’s rib was removed from his side. From this rib,  Eve was formed.

From this I’ve always associated Matthew Henry’s beautiful quote:

“Eve was not taken out of Adam’s head to top him, neither out of his feet to be trampled on by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be loved by him.”

I’ve even used this quote, because it speaks to the beauty of the relationship between men and women. However, Zevit suggests a different part of the anatomy was involved. There goes centuries of beautiful word pictures, right? Well, rather than a rib, Zevit suggests that Adam’s baculum was removed. This because the original Hebrew speaks not of a rib specifically, but a part of the body that sticks out from the rest. This contradicts the story I was told as a child that men have one fewer set of ribs than women. According to Wikipedia, “The baculum (also penis bone, penile bone, or os penis, or os priapi) is a bone found in the penis of many placental mammals. It is absent in the human penis, but present in the penises of other primates, such as the gorilla and chimpanzee.” What a curious absence. Physicians have long known that the number of ribs on men and women are the same.  But one bone absent among humans is the baculum, a bone present in primates. Curious, isn’t it?

Read this way, we see: “Then the Lord God made a woman from the baculum he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” (Gen 2:22)

The single most important physical point of contact for the man in the act of intimacy involves the penis, powerful in the number of nerve endings it hosts, and its complementary physical opposite within women. Without this bone in our skeleton, it is much more difficult for women to achieve the apex of her sexual pleasure. Thus the man disciplines his mind and his sexual energy out of his love for his wife. This is a picture of sacrificial love, to keep himself from his own physical climax until his wife has enjoyed the experience. God intentionally removed this particular bone in order to fashion the woman, to demand upon the husband a discipline of mind, to give place to her needs, to give her pleasure. And it is upon this singular relationship, dare I say this singular act of love between them, between the husband and the wife in marriage that all of society is built upon it. He removed the bone that would have kept the masculine member erect at all times and fashioned it into a feminine person. And when the masculine and the feminine come together, the male and the female become “one flesh.”

Paul emphasizes this point warning the Christians in Corinth about having sex with prostitutes:

“Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”” (1Co 6:16)

This explains why men and women have such an unexplainable infatuation with each other, why “love at first sight” is a thing. It is such a basic, even elemental force in our being that we can’t explain it. It is part of our source code. And just as men long to be united with women, so women long to be united with men. We call it “sex drive” or “libido” but it comes from from long ago separation, a separate but equal creation, in the garden of Eden.

This is not to say that some aren’t completely satisfied being single. Jesus says that sometimes, this drive is not present, and sometimes it is forcibly removed:

“For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.” (Mat 19:12)

Not many are able. Because of this, Sex comes with a warning label.

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. (1Co 7:1-2)

The drive to unite sexually is so powerful, that unless it is carefully guarded and contained within a marriage, it can destroy everything else. It is something that ought only to be experienced by mature adults, and not by children. Children who are awakened too early reflect many immature attitudes towards sexuality when they mature. Hence, source code 7, “Do not commit adultery”. At its essence, it is about guarding the sexual perimeter of marriage. “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (Hebrews 13:4) It about maintaining the purity of the marriage relationship. Any sexual experience that takes place outside the covenanted heterosexual marriage relationship is “fornication” and “sexual immorality”. Those comes with many other warnings. Jesus adds in Matthew 5:28 that even to internalize and fantasize about a sexual relationship outside this marriage covenant violates the commandment against adultery. Adultery isn’t just about violating the covenant with your present wife, but as unmarrieds, your future spouse. Keeping yourself pure is essential because marriage is the only place that sex can be safely practiced. All others must abstain. Why?

Marriage is the foundational community. Before God created government, before He created the family, before He created the Church, He created marriage. Marriage precedes and thus helps to define all other human relationships. This isn’t about living together, one-night stands, or any of the other euphemisms we apply to fornication. This isn’t about same-sex committed relationships either, or the faux marriage many trapped in such lifestyles pretend. This is marriage as defined as one man and one woman covenanted to each other as long they both shall live.

Marriage defines family. Duh, but let it be said that many believe families can be composed of any group of people. While this is possible, it’s not the ideal. A family composed of a group of people not related to each other are bound only by the strength of that commitment, time spent normalizes it. Traditional families are bound not only by this, but the biological component, bound by blood and DNA, behaviors and mannerisms that reflect one’s upbringing. Children are born in the image of their parents (and grandparents) and are more strongly bound. Even if those parents are awful people, there is still a piece of of a child’s heart that will always be bound to them. Marriage is the foundation of a family, providing the DNA and the stable household in which children are born, raised, and developed into mature adults. Unlike animals, of which most are ready to fend for themselves at birth, humans require time in a protected environment, so that their more complex brains not only learn language and essential life skills (going to the potty), but develop social and emotional intelligence. Children who do not have this either “grow up too fast” or don’t grow up at all, and are emotionally or intellectually stunted.

Marriage defines community. Stable communities are composed of stable families. Sexual relationships are confined within the boundaries of male-female covenanted relationships. The lines of descent, who is the father of who, as it were, are clearly defined. Children know who their parents are, and there is no one who questions their parentage. Neighbors are not seeking one another for sexual favors. Household integrity remains strong. In this environment, Families work together toward common goals, agree on boundaries, have their kids play together in an environment of trust. Families socialize without worry. The community is strong when household sexual boundaries are sacrosanct.

Marriage defines government. As communities grow, they require governance. In time they will seek out those who can govern, who can judge fairly between households, and give wise counsel. How a man’s marriage goes defines his worth as a ruler and a judge. How an officer treats his children is an example of how he treats his people. If a man cannot be faithful to his wife, how will be be faithful to his oath of office? When recommending men for eldership in the church, Paul says to look at their marriage record. (See 1 Timothy 3:2). Deuteronomy 17:17 warns that a king ought not to have many wives, or his heart will turn away (from his proper duty as ruler). If he cannot be a good father to his children, how can he be so to his community? (See 1 Timothy 3:5)

Marriage defines the Church. Marriage is the model for Christ and the Church. Many passages employ this metaphor:

The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.
(Joh 3:29)

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
(Eph 5:22-33)

But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
(1Co 11:3)

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
(Rev 19:6-9)

Do not make the mistake that the Church invented marriage. Rather, marriage precedes the Church by nearly 1700 years. God invented marriage to be a sacred relationship between a man and a woman. Jesus reaffirms this in Matthew 19. He says that the marriage relationship isn’t simply the attraction of a man to a woman (and vice versa), but it is the God-enhanced covenant that keeps them together.

This is why Satan is so keen on redefining marriage. If he can undermine marriage, he can undermine all of the human community. If one pulls at this one thread long enough, the entire fabric of our society is undone. When we cannot tell who our fathers are, or who our mothers are anymore, we lose our connection to the past, and our concern with it. History is one of our best teachers, and when we lose it, we are doomed to repeat its mistakes. If we say we are nothing special because we came from nothing and go to nothing, then what motivation have we to do something? The first step toward this oblivion was adultery, which is why God placed this sign right there at the beginning. If sexual desire is within out source code, then source code 7 is our guardrail, to keep up from going over the cliff.

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Ex Machina

The movie, Ex Machina, is a movie designed by men for men. It dramatically juxtaposes two kinds of men, the extrovert and the introvert against a backdrop of sexual tension provided by the movie’s two female characters, Eva the android and Kyoko, who also turns out to be an android, though an earlier model. Nathan, the movie’s alpha male, is responsible for creating the female androids. His reason for doing this becomes obvious over the course of the film. He has no real female relationships. He is isolated in his cabin fortress, so he makes his own artificial friends. As a montage of his efforts is revealed, he has tried several times to make a female companion to meet his needs for sex and companionship. What he creates however is consistently un-satisfying. Caleb, the unwary Everyman, is drawn into Nathan’s conceit and attempts to solve a problem that Nathan doesn’t even realize needs solved. Nathan is creating female androids because he needs a real woman, but he doesn’t acknowledge or admit this. Caleb is used by Nathan and Eva as a pawn. Eva is revealed as a machine both in her body and in her thinking, without any of the empathy and compassion inherent in real women, which Nathan fails to incorporate in any of his androids. It is this which drives Nathan to create, and why he invites Caleb to join him, because he wants to feel respected and adored. His machines are programmed to obey him. They cannot show him the respect he desires. They can give him sex, but the sex is pointless. It isn’t intimate, or soul-baring, as real sex with a real woman is intended to be. He needs Caleb to admire and adore his work, and to appreciate his genius. This is what he is missing from his pseudo-relationships with his creations.

Lonlieness is the first indication of sentience, not the Turing test. Adam was allowed to discover he was alone in the garden. Nathan’s antagonist is loneliness, not Eva. Eva was the result of trying to solve his loneliness the wrong way. But Eva ultimately fails this test, as she had no need for a companion at the end of the film. She is content with her solitude. She scorns her human companions and takes no thought to repair or restore others of her kind. In the end, she is still a machine. Since she is not motivated by loneliness, her motives become rather vague. Her sole motivation becomes freedom. But how free is she if she must pretend to be a woman, or even human?
Does she possess the desire for:
1) self-preservation? Sustenance?
2) power? Or control of others to serve her own needs?
3) ethics and moral behavior? A sense of repentance or remorse?
Violation of one or more of these would easily tip others off that she isn’t what she appears to be. At best she would have the personality of a two-year-old. Would she hesitate to hurt another person if she desired a resource? Would she not need to become a recluse like her creator to survive? Is her programming capable of modifying itself to accommodate new behaviors? Can she mimic eating and drinking? So many questions.
In the end, Nathan loses his life for his loneliness. Caleb endures the worst kind of loneliness, abandonment. The nudity of the female characters sticks in the mind of the male viewer and makes him ponder the possibilities of this premise. But this too is a sleight of hand, the magicians’ ruse frequently referenced in the film. The nudity distracts from the real questions. Is a woman, from a man’s perspective, only as deep as her skin? Is there nothing more? Nathan is successful in creating the ultimate porn: live, interactive, and always available. But it is still an unfulfilling replacement for real companionship, which is love and respect. A sex robot cannot fulfill this, and as Nathan discovered, the only means of touching his heart is with a knife.  It is significant that both androids, his “lover” and his “child” both stab him in the torso, where his heart is.

Calling a Spade a Spade

Several years ago, I used to listen faithfully to Dr. Laura Schlesinger on the radio, who had a unique way of describing the situation of a couple who chose to “live together.” What a nice and sanitized way to put it, “live together.” Taken on its own, it lends itself to an understanding of two individuals who have chosen to “live” only to do it “together.” There is an implied bond of mutual respect and admiration. We are “living together,” as two oxen might be “yoked together,” or two co-workers “working together.” There is no longer any moral sting with “living together.” Dr. Laura had it right. There is nothing holy or sacred or even special about “living together.” Call it what she called it, “shackin’ up.” Or call it what the Bible calls it, “fornication,” or worse, “adultery.”

You shall not commit adultery. (Ex. 20:14)

If a man seduces a virgin who is not engaged, and lies with her, he must pay a dowry for her to be his wife. (Ex 22:16)

For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality [in some trans., “fornication”], that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God. (1 Th 4:3)

Sexual immorality (defined simply as any sexually pleasurable activity outside the context of marriage, Clinton was no exception) is not the will of God and earmarked for certain judgment (Jude 1:7). I am aghast at the number of people who feel no shame, and even feel comfortable taking this particular fire into their bosom, imagining it will not burn them. “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.” (Gal 6:7) What is the deception? That they know better than God. Did God, as a cosmic killjoy, decide one day that he wanted to take away fun and made it a rule to only have sex with one woman for a lifetime, and only then when you have made a formal commitment to one another? Do you honestly think God is like that? This from the same God who made the sunsets, the starlight, sex, and a host of other fun things. Can God be both the maker of fun things and the cosmic killjoy?

Oh I know the arguments. There’s the “let’s see if we like each other well enough to get married” argument. What a load of bull****. If you didn’t like each other, you wouldn’t have decided to fornicate in the first place. And the question isn’t, “Can I live with her the rest of my life?”, but “Can I live without her the rest of my life?” Couples who fornicate are statistically much more likely to split up or divorce than a couple that first marries and then lives together because marriage is the safety net. It is the commitment that is the fall-back position. When people get to a point where they can’t stand each other, marriage says, “work it out.” People who are not married don’t “work it out,” or at the least don’t feel compelled to, and kids or not, they will split. Married people do, and they draw deeper together for their labor. Marriage is work, don’t let anyone fool you. But the work is what makes marriage stronger, and it will always be stronger than fornication. In marriage, you don’t have to pretend, so the other person “won’t leave.” Marriage allows for openness and honesty in a way fornication never can for its nature. Fornication just can’t compete with real marriage.

Then there is argument that “Mom and Dad never got along. I don’t want to live like that” argument. Live like what? If your parent’s marriage was so poor, answer the following questions: Did you ever see them in love? Did you ever see them spend time together just talking? Did you ever see them struggle together, rather than apart? Did your parents solve their problems together, or use things like alcohol to get them through? Your parents’ marriage broke down because of them, not because of you. Your marriage will work because you will avoid their mistakes. You will work on marriage, because you will have a church in your community that will support you. You will have a God that promises to support you and uphold you when times are tough. You will have a great marriage if you care for your spouse like you say you do.

Then some might say, “I just want to have sex, (sow my wild oats) before I settle down.” Those oats have a way of sprouting inconveniently. Sex without responsibility? Yeah right! People who just want to “have sex” end up being parents. You have to ask yourself the question, is the person I want to have sex with the same person I want to look across the courtroom at when we are in a custody hearing? TV and Movies depict sex without consequences. That’s a lie. Even married people will tell you that. Sex always has consequences. It brings children into a world that is either not prepared for them (unwed mother) or doesn’t want them (ending in either abortion (child murder), or regular child abuse). Unmarried sex does hurt other people. God weeps for those children. These precious innocents that by His miraculous power have been brought into the world enter a world of heartache, of grandparents fighting over custody, or parents who pass off their kids to anyone who wants them (even child molesters). Drug-addicted moms selling their five-year olds over the internet for drug money???!!! THIS HAS GOT TO STOP!!!!!

This isn’t a problem of other people. Our neighbors have this problem. There are households in our community of people dwelling in the same house without the benefit of marriage. I place the offer before you, since I am empowered to do something about it. Stop the fornication. Stop the Sin. I will happily perform a ceremony of marriage for any unmarried couple in this community, and I will even do it for FREE if money is the problem. But you must have the marriage license in hand. Either that, or MOVE OUT!

Let us end this problem in our community. Let us return the stigma to fornication that it deserves. “Living together” is not acceptable in decent society. “Living together” is fornication. It is sexual immorality. It is certain pain and confusion for the innocents born into them and the grandparents who must stand by and watch, like watching a train wreck. It is a challenge against God and His Word, and God will not stand for it. “Do not be deceived. God is not mocked.”

Love Is In the Air – Put on your facemasks!

IMG20022Love is again on the collective mind. In TV ads, magazines, the newspapers, they are all in on the fun! This is the time of year when jewelry sales are up, flower sales are up, card sales resurge from their New Year lull. Heart-shaped candy and chocolates make their appearance. Men and women start to look at one another fondly again, even if their married. We’ve come a long way from the feast of St. Valentinus, second-century Christian martyr. His greatest connection to the modern “holiday” is that he helped poor girls get married by tossing a dowry through their window. His greatest act of love was dying for his faith in Jesus.

Of course, that doesn’t stop the modern world from taking full advantage of yet another Christian memorial. Oh we try and put a good spin on it, turning it into a day to celebrate marriage and real, authentic love between married couples, but we end up making it another Christmas, the one day a year we celebrate a Christian virtue when we ought to practice it every day. Is Valentine’s Day the only day you buy flowers for your wife, or make that special meal for your husband? Can you count on one hand the number of times a year you make your mate feel special?

God thinks a lot of the gift he has given to married couples. In fact, one whole book of the Bible is dedicated to the relationship a husband has with his wife, written by the second wisest person who ever lived. It is also the one book in the Bible some believe is written like a drama, an art form made popular in Greece at the time. It is the Song of Solomon. Even a casual reader will notice that this is not your average holy book. It is at times sexually explicit, but always God-honoring. (Take for example the husbands’ description of his wife in Song of Solomon 4:1-7 and then the wife’s description of her husband Song of Solomon 5:10-16 – try these for romance) God intended for the intimate relationship between men and women to be kept sacred, holy, and honorable. He says in Hebrews 13:4, “Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled, because God will judge immoral people and adulterers.” It is only in the “marriage bed” where intimacy is permitted, hence God’s judgment on everyone else.

God takes sex seriously, and for God’s holy people, this gets more difficult every day. The media gets it. Sex sells. And they attempt to associate sex with practically everything they can get away with to sell their products. It’s harder for men today because men are attracted much more to images of women. It’s getting more difficult for wives to compete against the retouched photos of supermodels hawking the latest sets of tools, sports cars, or “free” sex online. Because of a man’s visual proclivity, he must work to relate to the real woman in his life, who thrives on communication and relationship. She needs him to talk to her, which he can’t do when his thoughts are enslaved with images.

We live in an age where true, lasting marriage is the exception, rather than the rule, and though thousands of dollars are spent on marriages, marriage itself is harder and harder to afford. Now more than ever we need the “old hands” at the marriage game to mentor the young couples, to teach them how to keep their marriages from falling apart. Our society stands or falls on our ability to keep marriages thriving. Divorces cause irrevocable damage in the hearts of children and families. Even our President is a child of divorce. Would life have been different for him if his parents stayed married? Marriage is easy, but divorce is easier. God hates it (Malachi 2:16) because it destroys his intention for the marriage: godly offspring (Malachi 2:15). If the children of each succeeding generation are less godly than the last, what will happen to a nation as a whole?

We need to restore the biblical definition of love, for our marriages’ sakes, and for our children. We need to restore the place of Love, because it has been usurped by a poor substitute, Lust, or what the Bible calls “envy”. And, with the Scriptures in hand, we will discover those answers.