Gods view on dating
In Song of Songs, God has given us a holy and beautiful picture of a marital sexual relationship, and everyone seems to be having an excellent time.Even there, however, God is clear that sex is uniquely for marriage: "Do not arouse or awaken love before it so desires (i.e., before it's appropriate — within marriage)." (Song 2:7) A blog comment or two emerging from the last column suggested a different interpretation of this verse and Song in general, but the orthodox interpretation of the book suggests both that an actual sexual relationship is part of what the narrative relays, and a context (at the time of the sexual part of the relationship) of marriage.
We are to do this in light of what God has done for us in Christ and in light of Christ's impending return. For God did not call us to be impure, but to lead a holy life.In addition to what all of you saw on the blog, I have received dozens of questions and comments in e-mails, which I and the folks at Boundless have culled through to see what the most pressing questions seem to be.Judging from both frequency and "passion," the most pressing questions arising from the last piece involve physical involvement — which I'm about to cover, initiation of relationships (especially the bit about involving the woman's father), and the practical details of how one of these relationships works.Many wanted to know, did I really mean no physical intimacy? Isn't it sex outside of marriage that Scripture explicitly prohibits?How can you say definitively that other things are wrong? Shouldn't our physical relationship "progress" as other aspects of our relationship deepen? I understand most physical stuff is wrong, but what about just kissing? With respect to pre-marital, romantically oriented kissing, we're clearly talking about an area about which reasonable believers can (and do) disagree.Let's go through what I hope will become the usual drill here.
I will lay out what I view to be applicable biblical principles and passages on this topic, and then I and the editors will leave it to you to follow up with blog posts, comments and discussion.
The argument might run thus: "Of course I want to be loving to others. I just think I can show genuine affection by engaging in kissing and/or other sexual activity (short of intercourse) with someone I clearly care about and still obey those passages." Fair enough. Let's say for the sake of argument that it is theoretically possible to engage in extramarital romantically oriented physical activity and obey the above biblical standards while doing it. Think about the times you have engaged in any type of physical activity with someone not your spouse.
It might have been last night or last week or last year or back in high school or college.
Maybe you just caressed one another above the waist as you kissed. Maybe it was just a long, lingering kiss goodnight.
Would you describe whatever you did as "holy and honorable," or was it done to satisfy the "passionate lust" of you or your partner or both (1 Thess. Were you honest with the person about making a commitment to him or her before the Lord, or did you defraud or deceive that person in some way?
All of these topics will, Lord willing, be covered in future columns.