Sex, Intimacy, Pornography and Heaven

Did you know that there are approximately 300 new pornographic websites launched a day? Were you aware that there are over 30,000 people viewing internet pornography a second? These statistics are staggering. And they are not going down anytime soon.

Why are we so driven sexually? Some would argue that it is just the biological/evolutionary impulse to maintain the human race. But Scripture argues differently. Scripture describes sex as a way of knowing another human being. Beneath the surface of a torrid industry is a God-given desire for intimacy run afoul.

The Hebrew word yada is the word often used to talk about a man and a woman having sex. The Hebrew word yada means to know. Older translations of the Bible actually translate the text in this manner. For instance, the King James Bible translates Genesis 4:1 this way;  And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain. This tells us that sexual union is a significant aspect where we can experience intimacy with another person. It is a deep knowing of another and being known by another.

That is a very strong reason the Bible places sex within the context of marriage. This is where an understanding of the nature of heaven is so critical. At least two passages are essential for this task: Revelation 21:1-5; 21:22-22:5.

From these passages, a number of things can be said about the nature of heaven. We could spend quite a while elaborating on each, but I will only focus on one.

•    Heaven is a place that is utterly centered on the Triune God.

Now, we are ready to see the thing that supersedes sex. While there is comfort for past miseries there is so much more. It is a place where we enjoy the fullness of life. We are welcomed into the very presence of the Triune God, who is the fountain of love. This is heaven. Complete and unbridled intimacy with God and with one another. This is ultimately what we want. Jonathan Edwards writes this about the nature of heaven,

God is the fountain of love, as the sun is the fountain of light. And therefore the glorious presence of God in heaven fills heaven with love, as the sun, placed in the midst of the visible heavens in a clear day, fills the world with light. The apostle tells us that “God is love;” and therefore, seeing he is an infinite being, it follows that he is an infinite fountain of love. Seeing he is an all-sufficient being, it follows that he is a full and overflowing, and inexhaustible fountain of love. And in that he is an unchangeable and eternal being, he is an unchangeable and eternal fountain of love.
There, even in heaven, dwells the God from whom every stream of holy love, yea, every drop that is, or ever was, proceeds. There dwells God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, united as one, in infinitely dear, and incomprehensible, and mutual and eternal love. And there this glorious fountain forever flows forth in streams, yea, in rivers of love and delight, and these rivers swell, as it were, to an ocean of love, in which the souls of the ransomed may bathe with the sweetest enjoyment, and their hearts, as it were, be deluged with love

Charity and Its Fruits, Jonathan Edwards, The Banner of Truth Trust, pp. 327-328.

Therefore, marriage and sex are good gifts that ultimately function as signposts to something greater. Covenantal union between husband and wife becomes a metaphor for covenantal union between the believer and God (2 Corinthians 11:1-2 and Ephesians 5:32).

Sex within the context of marriage is pointing to a greater reality in heaven. Knowing and being known. Intimacy. We long for it but we are also a bit afraid of it because we know, this side of heaven, we may be hurt. This is a primary reason many indulge in pornography. Pornography provides sexual pleasure without the dangers of rejection.

A way of combatting any struggle with a misuse of sex can be found in a deep understanding of the nature of heaven and what God has in store for those who would be joined in relationship with the Triune God.

Copyright © 2014 Timothy S. Lane. All rights reserved.




Tim Lane

Dr. Timothy S. Lane is the President of the Institute for Pastoral Care and has a counseling practice in Fayetteville, GA. He is a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), having been ordained in 1991 and a member of Metro-Atlanta Presbytery. Tim has authored Living Without Worry: How to Replace Anxiety with Peace, and co-authored How People Change and Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. He has written several mini-books including PTSD, Forgiving Others, Sex Before Marriage, Family Feuds, Conflict, and Freedom From Guilt.

He has experience in both campus ministry (University of Georgia, 1984-1987) and pastoral ministry where he served as a pastor in Clemson, SC from 1991 until 2001. Beginning in 2001 until 2013, he served as a counselor and faculty at a counseling organization  in Philadelphia, PA. Beginning in 2007, he served as its Executive Director until 2013.

In 2014, Tim and his family re-located to his home state, Georgia, where he formed the non profit ministry the Institute for Pastoral Care. His primary desire and commitment is to help pastors and leaders create or improve their ability to care for the people who attend their churches. For more information about this aspect of Tim's work, please visit the section of this site for the Institute for Pastoral Care. He continues to write, speak and travel both nationally and internationally. Tim is adjunct professor of practical theology at several seminaries where he teaches about pastoral care in the local church.