Friday, October 30, 2015

Pre-Marital Sex pt. 5

taken from:

Christianity and premarital sex
There is much debate amongst Christians as to whether or not sex between two people who have never been married to anyone constitutes a form of fornication.[19] Witte argues that the Bible itself is silent on the issue of consensual, premarital sex between an engaged couple.[20] One theologian whose opinion stands contrary to Witte's claim was the medieval English monastic, John Baconthorpe, who believed it can be argued from the Bible that sex before marriage is immoral.[21] A more contemporary theologian, the modern day English Anglican Lee Gatiss also argues that premarital sex is immoral based on scripture. He states that, from a Biblical perspective, "physical union should not take place outside of a "one flesh" (i.e. marriage) union... In [1 Corinthians] chapter 7 Paul addresses the situation of two unmarried Christians who are burning with passion (7:8-9) who should either exercise self-control or get married (cf. verses 36-38). The underlying assumptions are the same as those in Deuteronomy 22."[22]
Some of the debate arises from the question of which theological approach is being applied. A deontological view of sex interprets porneia, aselgeia and akatharsia in terms of whether the couple are married or non-married. What makes sex moral or immoral is the context of marriage. By contrast, a teleological view interprets porneia, aselgeia and akatharsia in terms of the quality of the relationship (how well it reflects God's glory and Christian notions of a committed, virtuous relationship.)[23]
The discussion turns on two Greek words—moicheia (μοιχεία, adultery) and porneia (el:πορνεία, from which the word pornography is derived). The first word is restricted to contexts involving sexual betrayal of a spouse; however, the second word is used as a generic term for illegitimate sexual activity. Elsewhere in First Corinthians, incest, homosexual intercourse (according to some interpretations)[24] and prostitution are all explicitly forbidden by name (however, the Septuagint uses "porneia" to refer to male temple prostitution). Paul is preaching about activities based on levitical sexual prohibitions in the context of achieving holiness. The theory suggests it is these behaviours, and only these, that are intended by Paul's prohibition in chapter seven.[25]
One major academic theological work that equates porneia with premarital sex is Kittel and Friedrich's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament from 1977. In defining porneia as fornication, it states that "The NT is characterized by an unconditional repudiation of all extra-marital and unnatural intercourse."[26] Likewise, Friberg's Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament defines porneia as being "generally, every kind of extramarital, unlawful or unnatural sexual intercourse."[27]
Lee Gatiss also argues that "porneia" does encompass premarital sex. He states that the word "fornication" has gone out of fashion and is not in common use to describe non-marital sex. However, it is an excellent translation for porneia, which basically referred to any kind of sex outside of marriage... This has been contested... but the overwhelming weight of scholarship and all the available evidence from the ancient world points firmly in this direction. "Flee sexual immorality (porneia) and pursue self-control" (cf. 1 Thess 4:1-8) was the straightforward message to Christians in a sex-crazed world."[22]
A survey undertaken by the American Sociological Review between 2000 and 2008 covering 31 developing countries found that "94 percent of Jews... reported having premarital sex, compared to 79 percent of Christians, 65 percent of Buddhists, 43 percent of Muslims and 19 percent of Hindus."[28]

Jesus and the early church
Attitudes towards marriage and sexuality at the time of Jesus stemmed from a blend of Roman and Jewish ideas. For instance, during the lifetime of Jesus, there was a strong social disapproval amongst Romans of polygamy. This made its way into Judaism and early Christianity, despite the Old Testament portraying examples of this behaviour amongst patriarchs and kings.[29]
Jewish marriage in the time of Jesus was a two-stage process. First, there was a betrothal in which the man claimed the woman to be his only bride. Secondly, there was the marriage contract which specified what the bride and groom's families would give the couple and what the bride would obtain if she divorced. "At the time of Jesus, and in rural areas like Galilee, a young couple might well co-habit before the contract was signed "in order to get acquainted.""[29] Jesus did not condemn sex at the betrothal stage nor approve of it as there is no record of any statements of his about this in the Gospels.
Jesus' teaching on divorce raised "the status of the wife from disposable dependent of the man to part of his very flesh."[29]
After the crucifixion, the early Church's statements on marital affairs mainly concerned acceptable reasons for divorce and remarriage. Whilst Paul, in his epistles to early believers, emphasised that both celibacy and marriage were good forms of life, after his life the Church felt that celibacy was more virtuous and liberating. This focus came about because the early church was very ascetic, possibly due to the influence of Greek philosophical thought. The focus on celibacy meant that other issues relating to sexual morality for the non-celibate remained under-developed.[29]
Augustine of Hippo's views strongly influenced how later Christians thought about sex. In his later writings, he was "deeply suspicious of sexual passion" and this has influenced the outlook of all the major Christian denominations down to the present day.[30]
It was some time later, during the sixth century, that the Emperor Justinian formulated laws that were to become the basis of Western marriage law for the next millennia. Under his legislation, co-habiting couples were no longer recognised as married and their children were regarded as illegitimate, with the same status as the children of prostitutes. However, the status of illegitimate children could be updated if the parents later married.

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