Focus on the Family

God's Design for Sex

by Glenn Stanton

Sex, for good and bad, can be "awe-fully" consequential. As such, it is always provocative and never safe.

When Andy Warhol said, "Sex is the biggest nothing of all time," he was so wrong. Sex is one of the biggest somethings of all time – and for far deeper reasons and in many more fabulous ways than most people appreciate.

For Christians, sex is a big thing because it's a big thing to God.

Those outside the circle of faith often see followers of Christ as we typically see our parents. They couldn't possibly be sexual, save for the few obligatory engagements needed to bring offspring into the world.

But this is a false understanding. Truth be told, parents and Christians have a very vibrant interest in sexuality (except my parents, I'm sure!).

And Christians have a higher view of human sexuality than most people. G. K. Chesterton hinted at this in an odd way when he said, "When once you have got hold of a vulgar joke, you may be certain that you have got hold of a subtle and spiritual idea."1

And Bruce Marshall is even more startling: "The young man who rings the bell at the brothel is unconsciously looking for God."2

What Chesterton, always the provocateur for truth, is trying to have us understand is that human sexuality comes to us from God, and even when it is sadly perverted in vulgar joke, the teller is unwittingly referring to something that is, at its root, remarkably sacred and godly. (And that's exactly why the perversion of it is so wrong.)

Marshall would have us know that even the search for intimacy in the wrong places, in the wrong ways, is intimately about seeking what God made us for. (And that's exactly why it should be sought in the right places in the right ways.) This search drives all of us in many different and powerful ways. Some are simply more aware of what is really behind it.

What these men are saying is that – at its root as God created it – sex is remarkably sacred and ultimately about seeking that which God made us for. We must understand that God's interest in human sexuality is so much more than merely making sure people behave themselves.

God is much more than some supreme Dr. Laura barking out moral directives over a heavenly radio. But it's not confined to only this. His interest is rooted in something much bigger.

God, and those who follow Him, take sex very seriously, and the Christian picture of sexuality is much more serious, vibrant, and well…sexy…than any other view held in the larger culture. As a result, it's far more fulfilling.

While it might seem old-fashioned or passé to people outside the faith, the Christian view of sexuality is actually a very radical one. It's radical because is goes against the culture and holds up human sexuality as nothing less than an icon of the inner life of God. That's far from "nothing."

Before we address this, let's understand that place of sexuality in family life.


1G.K. Chesterton, "The Cockneys and Their Jokes," in All Things Considered (London: Sheed and Ward, 1908), p. 11.
2Bruce Marshall, The World, The Flesh and Father Smith (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1945), p. 108.