Sex is in the air. Everywhere you turn, you see it, you hear it, you smell it, unlike in times past where you just thought about it all the time. The “Free Love” revolution of the 60’s brought the topic out in the open for the first time in modern history, for better or worse. In terms of psychological health it is for better. It’s more complicated concerning ethical issues, and of course the ‘plague’ of AIDS is out there now too, not to mention unwanted pregnancies and the resulting abortions or abused children, most of whom live culturally, educationally, and even nutritionally impoverished lives without much chance of a future that escapes repeating the same downward spiral for their children. So obviously sexual activity has serious consequences. In the Bible it clearly states that sex outside of marriage is a sin. So were the “free lovers” wrong? I believe we must look deeper into the aspects of human sexuality to find out.
The ethical commandments of God in the Bible. The basis of western civilization. The truth as best we know it. Yet is there any possibility of a higher truth? Is this moral code The absolute truth? Is there evidence that God’s moral code evolves over time as man evolves sufficiently enough to be capable of attaining a higher level of morality? For the answers we must first ask what does God say, what all does the Bible say concerning the metaphysics of morality?
A lot more than what’s quoted by fundamentalists, in fact. To speak of a metaphysics of morality and sexuality implies the presupposition that ‘man’ and his/her actions are part of a greater whole and have significance and influence to and on that greater ‘being’. This relationship is ultimately the source and the foundation from which and on which the tenets of our ethics and values are created and sustained! In the context of the ideas of ‘free will’, and it’s opposite ‘fate’(there are probably millions of interpretations as to the interplay of these), morality represents a qualitative multi-dimensional ‘matrix’ of possibilities, the ‘structure’ of which is plastic or fluid in nature, being molded in every situation by the power of ‘freewill’ and the forces of ‘fate’, however balanced in that instance, while the ‘value’ of the decision/action remains always relative to the absolute metaphysical foundations from which it arose.
We all arise from and eternally remain wholly a part of this foundational agency, which is the motive force of ‘fate’. The skeptics who say that all is chaotic and nihilistic are clueless in a world full of clues. The principles of chaos theory are in fact the mechanism through which this ‘force-ma-jure’, this ‘will’ if you will, is expressed (in most cases – there are exceptional cases though that we shall discuss later), as in the permutations of genetics which ‘just happened’ to ‘produce’ the human spirit residing in a 98% chimpanzee body (nearly genetically identical ). While alive (at least) our spirits are integrated with our physical bodies and the gift of freewill of necessity must be constrained by the exigencies of that symbiosis, as well as being subjected to the influences of the ‘will’ of that ‘greater being’ from which we arose. Of the various drives or instincts that we encounter as human beings, the urge to propagate, the desire for sex is the most complicated, yet all relative perspectives of the morality of sex, what’s right and what’s wrong to do sexually, arise from one principle, which everyone knows as the ‘Golden Rule’: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”(...Essentially the same thought was expressed by the Buddha five hundred years before Christ…).
“As you would have them do to you”, expresses the truth behind the relative perspectives, a truth that is as valid as the absolute principle it derives from. Each individual exists in a unique cultural and environmental context which to a very large degree supplies the relative perspective that most people see the world through, and this vast variety of contexts and situations is mirrored in the diversity of sexual morality standards and taboos revealed by cross-cultural anthropological studies undertaken in the last century. Though incest taboos are nearly universal almost anything else is acceptable somewhere in the world (at least it was so before the cultural homogenization of the information age). Yet in each of those contexts it all comes down to “Do not do to someone else what you do not want him or her to do to you”. The things you don’t want change, but the moral law is absolute, universal, and eternal. And this axiom of “truth as the recognition of the validity of contextual perspective in relation to absolute principles”, which I call “Absolute Relativity”, is fully revealed by the Bible’s changing moral codes. In other words the ‘greater being’ we know as ‘God’ created an evolving ethical system designed to support and enhance man’s current state of maturity or readiness, to lift us to ever higher states of perfection (Matthew 5:48). As revealed to those “With eyes to see and ears to hear”, the principle of absolute relativity permeates the Bible from Genesis to Revelations, and as a primary example consider that in olden days it was ok for a man to have 700 wives (Solomon), or just a few (David, Jacob, Abraham). Nowadays a God fearing man has but one. Has God’s laws changed? No they have not. We have just matured in our ways to be more acceptable to God, more perfect. For not many men wish to share their wife with others and visa-versa, so now its more fair to women, and therefore more pleasing to God. Once again the real principle here is the golden rule applied to every situation. Someday our spiritual and emotional maturity may be such that it will no longer cause harm to one’s spouse to have sexual relationships with others and then the prohibitions against ‘adultery’ will be invalidated. Yet that day may never come in fact, due to the needs of our children for long-term, stable, happy, parentage. There is no getting around this twenty-year time frame imposed by nature. The forces of fate will win-out here against free-will for the foreseeable future, but to God, as I see it, it doesn’t matter as long as no harm is done. To God, the ‘condition’ of “no harm” would have to include ‘potential’ harm that our actions may cause somewhere in the infinite future, which an ever present, all knowing being would be cognizant of. As shown by chaos theory, the slightest action can have huge unforeseen consequences, so you never know…Continuing our epistemological foray into sexual morality, and adhering to the ontological argument for design rather than nihilism, gives us permission to see our ‘perimeters of the possible’ wide enough to include a metaphysical understanding of sexual morality based upon a unification of Biblical tenets with the evidence and theories of scientific research into the subjects as well as research into consciousness, cognition, brain physiology, biochemistry and physics, genetics, etc. This unification can be facilitated by means of an (Einsteinian) thought experiment where one temporarily ‘suspends’ any theological skepticism one may harbor and assume that the universe and all that exists is by design of an omniscient being or agency which established the moral stipulations in the Bible in order to facilitate a metaphysical evolution of the spirit, coeval with the biological. Next the ‘researcher’ begins looking for evidence of this ontological ‘constant’ (Einstein) at work. One would seek answers to questions such as, what effects on evolutionary adaptation could Biblical prohibitions on incest, adultery, and homosexuality, have helped to facilitate? In other words assume that there could be valid reasons for the moral structures of the Bible and find the scientific correlate. I believe researchers sufficiently ‘open-minded’ in this way could discover evidence of actual design in adaptation instead of Darwin’s ‘random mutation, survival of the fittest’ model. The ‘mechanism’ by which this could be accomplished involves factors derived from relativity and string theory, the previously cited chaos theory and little known and mostly ignored scientific evidence that some form of ‘consciousness’ or ‘communication’ occurs in all matter, and matter at the smallest level is pure energy, and energy is therefore…(these ideas are addressed fully in other works of mine)… This ‘design mechanism’ of ‘God’ therefore applies to both the biological and the metaphysical creation. In essence it represents the possible scientific verification of religious precepts as old as consciousness; that God is everywhere in all things, the Native American belief that even rocks and trees have ‘spirits’, and crucially, that there is life after death. I could go on but let’s get back to human sexuality.
To summarize, I proposed that human sexuality and the moral codes of antiquity are both evolutionary adaptations of the same imperative, “To be Perfect”, one physical and the other metaphysical, and both continue to evolve toward the predesigned goal. These two realms, the physical and the metaphysical are interdependent channels of Gods will, which are fused together in the act of procreation. According to the Bible, the Koran, and most other Holy Books of the world’s religions. God wholly sanctions the sex act in the context of marriage. “Be fruitful and multiply” – Genesis. God does not condemn sex as sinful because it is pleasurable, or evil of itself. But as stated at the beginning of this essay, it often has serious consequences that are hurtful, to others or to oneself. “Do unto others as you would have other do unto you”. If an unwanted child is produced by the sexual activity, it is the victim; if a STD is transmitted during the act you or your partner is the victim; if you or your partner lose self esteem or personal honor as a result, or if someone’s feelings are hurt or trust is destroyed, then it was wrong to have sex in that context, it was a ‘sin’. If it is hurtful, don’t do it. Its that simple. The Golden Rule could also be said as, “Do unto yourself as you would have God do unto you”, or meaning the same, “Do unto yourself as God would have you do unto you”. The good or evil of sex is not in the act; it is in the consequences! This is the evolutionary interpretation of sexual morality first elucidated in general terms by Frederick Nietzsche, yet his “scientific” (Darwinian) approach lacks an understanding of the metaphysical implications. In Darwinian evolution there is no room for the spiritual, for ‘selflessness’, ‘altruism’ or higher dimensions of moral imperatives than physical need. That is because to these ‘scientists’ man is just a biological machine with nothing to answer to but his own survival. This logical fallacy has resulted in a great loss to the wholeness of modern man and the steady decline of human morality. An inclusive interdisciplinary approach to the problems of morality and sexuality, incorporating the insights of theology, philosophy, psychology, and sociology, as well as anthropology and biology, is direly needed, and should be recognized as a new discipline itself: ‘Sophistics’, the study of wisdom.
Sexuality is a necessary evolutionary tool used by God to fulfill his will through creation. It is holy in that sense and cannot be taken lightly. The merit or condemnation of a given instance of sexual intercourse lies buried within consequences that maybe unforeseeable to the participants. In a given situation the drive of instincts and environmental stimuli may be God’s will at work, or the opposite. Ultimately you must decide, to ‘do the right thing’, or not. Good luck. And God help you…
©2007 Thomas Theodore Welborn