Commenter whysoserious? dropped an interesting protest the other day and again I decided to turn the response into a post because his arguments are sophisticated enough that it takes a bit of effort to nail down exactly what he’s saying and respond on point.
[Pleasant introduction omitted]
That said, I do believe you are mistaken about premarital sex. The way I understand it, you say that the Greek ‘kollao’ signifies sex in Matt. 19:4-5 (and so too in Gen. 2:24) because Paul writes about ‘kollao’ with a prostitute in I Cor. 6:16. You assume that, since a prostitute is involved, ‘kollao’ must mean sex. Consequently, if a man marries a woman who had premarital sex, his marriage is actually not valid, and he is really committing adultery against her true husband. Please correct me if I’m misrepresenting your perspective.
Yes, you’ve misrepresented me. The differences are extremely significant.
Let’s begin with the first sentence, referring to “premarital sex.” To use the term “premarital sex” is to say that marriage does not get initiated with the act of sex, there is something else that has to be done. That is the position of the Catholic church and has been for over 1000 years, but that isn’t what the Bible says. Not once in your entire comment did you ever hint what this extra something might be but the implication of your argument is clear that there must be something extra.
“You assume that, since a prostitute is involved, ‘kollao’ must mean sex.”
The correct word is “assert” rather than “assume.” I have made assertions because I have provided exhaustive exegetical support of my assertions. I do not present assumptions, which is to suppose something to be the case, without proof. And, yes, I assert that in the 1st Corinthians 6:15-16 passage that the act of becoming one body with the prostitute is the act of having sex with her. From your argument, you assume that it doesn’t mean that and it’s an assumption because you provide no evidence and no proof.
Please tell me, of the men who use prostitutes, why do at least 99% of the men pay those women? What is it that they are paying for if it isn’t sex? That’s a serious question. I’m sure there are various men who pay prostitutes to engage in various fetish behaviors that don’t involve his penis and her body, but these are abnormalities and represent an extremely small amount. If it isn’t sex, what is it? That’s the first olive out of the jar.
The context of visiting a prostitute is all about sex. Sure, there are emotional needs being met, the ego is getting stroked, maybe back in the day it also meant a place to stay, but at some point it meant a pair of legs would be spread receptively because that is the hallmark of what prostitutes do.
To claim that “kollao” as used in 1st Corinthians 6:15 does not mean sex is at best disingenuous and at worst an attempt at malicious deception. If you desire to make the claim that the word means something other than sex, please, make the argument. We all need to be amused from time to time and I’d like to hear it. Until someone can make a convincing argument otherwise, it means sex on this blog.
And not just the married to a cringe-worthy wimp kind of dead-bedroom starfish sex that one gets from a wife who is repulsed by her husband; but the kind of enthusiastic sex men are willing to pay for. Where the woman at least fakes having a good time and tries to see to it that he has a good time because he’s a paying customer.
Paul uses the interesting play on words between one body and one flesh in that passage to make the point that Genesis 2:24 made and Christ explained in Matthew 19: the act of the man is to have sex with the woman and the act of God is to make the two become one flesh. Not only is sex the hallmark of prostitution, but combine it with the act itself described in the text as becoming one body. Can there be any doubt that it means sex? Does it depend on the meaning of the word “is” or some other Clintonesque term of art?
However, the point is NOT that Paul simply used “kollao” as a descriptor of sex, but he used it specifically within the context of Genesis 2:24, partially quoting Genesis 2:24. So it’s not that “kollao” might mean sex in the context of Genesis 2:24, but that it definitely means sex in that passage as translated into New Testament Greek by translators with Apostolic Authority.
Therefore, according to Genesis 2:24, it’s the sex that makes the eligible virgin married. There is no requirement, anywhere, for a ceremony or any outside third-party permission of any kind. And that blows the current idea of “premarital sex” all to hell and gone because according to the Bible, the only possible premarital sex is when a betrothed couple have sex during the betrothal period. That is, before they were permitted to. It isn’t the sex that’s the problem, it’s the violation of Numbers 30:2, the man gave his word and made a vow that he didn’t keep. That, of course, is being liberal with the text, because conservatively sex with a betrothed virgin is death-penalty rape even if the guy who did it is her betrothed.
Premarital sex is what the Catholic church came up with after they inserted their unbiblical requirement of consent by the woman (to usurp the authority of her father) and the unbiblical requirement of a ceremony with witnesses and the church’s blessing (to usurp the authority of the man) in order for the marriage to be considered valid.
Now, in Ezekiel 23:1-4, we read God describing himself as a man married to two sisters who were prostitutes in their youth. Yet this is not seen as adultery! What gives? I suppose you would say that a) their father annulled their initial marriages or b) they are divorced or widowed. But the text says nothing to support that theory. Likewise, the sexual histories of Rahab and other prostitutes in the Bible are rarely mentioned, which seems odd for a matter of (theoretically) such moral importance. Your view is internally consistent, and you could brush these concerns off as culturally assumed in ancient times, but I think there may be a neater solution.
This appears to be intended to throw further doubt on things, which allows offering a “neater solution.” However, as I stated in the comments, we need to examine the text.
“The word of the LORD came to me again, saying, “Son of man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother; and they played the harlot in Egypt. They played the harlot in their youth; there their breasts were pressed and there their virgin bosom was handled. Their names were Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister. And they became Mine, and they bore sons and daughters. And as for their names, Samaria is Oholah and Jerusalem is Oholibah.”
First, it does not say the women were prostitutes, it says they played the harlot. Not the same thing at all, not even close. We are dealing with the word “zanah” which carries with it definitions of illicit sex as well as idolatry (spiritual adultery). The word “zanah” does not necessarily mean sex. For example:
1) Leviticus 20:5 (Zanah defined in the text as Molech worship)
2) Leviticus 20:6 (Zanah defined in the text as using mediums and spiritists)
3) Leviticus 21:9 (Zanah contextually implied as being sexual idolatry)
4) Numbers 25:1 (Zanah defined in the text as Baal worship)
While some might say that the Numbers 25:1 reference is to having sex, and the implication of sex is clear because the young women went into the camp to lure the men into going with them, the text is also clear that their sin was bowing down to the baal of Peor. Pour girls at a liquor event are there to use their innate sex appeal to convince you to buy their liquor, not to have sex with you.
However, we should continue with the text of Ezekiel 23 and look at verse eight, which further describes what the two sisters did in their youth:
“She did not forsake her harlotries from the time in Egypt; for in her youth men had lain with her, and they handled her virgin bosom and poured out their lust on her.”
Again with the virgin reference and they didn’t pour out their lust in her, they poured out their lust on her. Some might look at the “lain with her” and conclude they were no longer virgins. However, we see something different if we examine the text closely. “men” (plural) had lain with “her” (singular) and “they” (plural) handled her virgin bosom (again with the virgin identification and the breasts reference) and poured out their lust on “her” (singular). Here we see the image of multiple men handling her virgin bosom, pouring out their lust on her. Not in her, not satisfying their lust. She’s only a virgin up until the first guy bangs her so it isn’t possible that multiple men are having sex with her and she’s still being described as virgin.
And verse 21: “Thus you longed for the lewdness of your youth, when the Egyptians handled your bosom because of the breasts of your youth.”
Lewdness is Strong’s 2154. “zimmah.” a plan, device, wickedness. And again the reference to having their tits played with. Evidently they had spectacular tits.
The meaning of the text can be completely satisfied with the interpretation that they didn’t have sex, they just got close to doing so. What we’re left with is the impression of two precocious little cock-teases that played with the boys and had lots of fun but never quite went all the way. Still virgins, in other words, but morally corrupted. That moral corruption didn’t leave them and later after they were married and had sons and daughters, they did commit adultery, returning to the lusts of their youth, but unlike in their youth they took things to its conclusion. Witness the term “uncoverd her nakedness.”
Perhaps some might choose to interpret this as the two sisters having sex and thus they’d been married to the man they gave their virginity to, in which case God committed adultery. Rather than look at that as the confirmation that they were virgins, you use this as the excuse to say that the standard doesn’t exist. Right.
I have two alternate theories of sex and marriage to try to explain this, and I would appreciate your feedback.
1). I Cor. 6 is a continuation of the discussion of sexual immorality that began in chapter five. Here, ‘porne’ is used like ‘zanah’ to signify a sexual loose woman, but not necessarily a cash-for-sex prostitute. ‘Kollao’ means to be contractually joined in marriage, and ‘one flesh’ is the quality which results from marriage. Given the use of ‘kollao’ elsewhere in the New Testament, this isn’t far-fetched at all. Contextually, Paul is discussing sexual immorality – adultery, incest, bestiality, sodomy – and adultery is the only sin that makes sense here. So, Paul is condemning ‘wife-sharing’ practices, or anything else which defiles one’s own wife. Since a man is one flesh with his wife, the immoral practices of his spouse are also his own; as he is a Christian, they also reflect on the Church. Sex with cash-for-sex, non-cult prostitutes is left free of regulation. (See my explanation of the Exodus passage after 2).)
This is where we get to the heart of where you don’t get it.
Women can have sex one of four ways, and only four ways.
- First, they can have married sex. Every eligible virgin who has sex is having marriage sex because that’s what makes her married.
- Second, they can commit adultery. That’s sex with any man other than their husband.
- Third, they can have sinful sex, which is sex within the context of idolatry, incest or even in which they are the victim, such as a married woman when she is raped. It wasn’t her sin but it was sinful sex.
- Finally, there’s sex that doesn’t fall into any of these categories. It isn’t prohibited so it isn’t a sin and if the non-virgin unmarried woman in question doesn’t consent to marriage it isn’t marital sex. It’s just sex.
What is commonly known as “premarital sex” is most frequently either marital sex if it involves a virgin, or adultery if it involves a woman who was previously married when she gave her virginity to another man. In rare instances it might be the fourth one because the woman is neither married nor a virgin. Even in instances of “real” premarital sex in which the betrothed couple has sex, if the man gets a pass then the sex isn’t the sin, it’s the violation of his vow not to have sex.
Under the Law, sex with a prostitute falls into category #4. 1st Corinthians 6:15-16 changed that for Christian men and only for Christian men. If you want an exercise in extreme frustration, attempt to find a single passage anywhere in the Old or New Testament that forbids a woman from engaging in money-for-sex prostitution. It was forbidden to be a cult prostitute (idolatry) but there is nothing in the Law that says an unmarried non-virgin woman can’t survive by working on her back and that didn’t change in the New Testament.
What most Christians don’t understand is that when Paul said don’t have sex with prostitutes, that was new, because prior to that men were not forbidden to do that regardless of whether they were married or not. Keep in mind, the reason men pay prostitutes is two-fold: they provide sex and they leave when the man is done with them. That was important for several reasons. The non-virgin eligible woman has to give her consent in order to be married, but the act of marriage is still having sex. So if you’re banging the widow down the street and she says she agreed to be married, you’re married. If the man denies it, the only question is whether you were banging her. The known prostitute? No way would the community support her if she claimed she was married to a guy because they had sex and he said no, it was a cash transaction. The only way anyone would believe the man was married to her is if they both claimed they were.
You see, back before there were SDT’s and Paul’s prohibition, sex with a prostitute was the original safe sex. She dealt with the risk of pregnancy, she supported herself, she took care of everything and charged a reasonable fee to spread her legs. And since I brought it up, it wasn’t until the Catholic church went on its war against all things sexual that men started with the sheep-shagging which is where syphilis came from.
A prostitute is still a prostitute at the end of the day. A wife is still a wife at the end of the day. Wife swapping is adultery, not prostitution. The text means exactly what it says.
2). I Cor. 6 is a reference to the widespread use of temple prostitutes in Corinth (immoral behavior according to the Law), and ‘kollao’ does mean sex. However, we interpret Genesis 2 and Matthew 19 differently, focusing on the agent of unification. Genesis 2 explains why sex exists: because the woman was taken from the man, so that man would not be alone. It is a declarative passage, explaining a phenomenon – not defining a moral law. Christ in Matthew 19 explains that divorce is a separation of what God has put together. Where’s God in Genesis 2:24? Nowhere to to be found – the unification is left passive, without an agent. In Ezekiel 16:8, we see an explicit example of marriage being a covenant between a man and a woman, consummated by sex. If a marriage covenant is before God, then God is the unifying agent who made the two into one flesh when the couple consummated their marriage, and his hand in the matter should be respected. This also explains why the blood of a virgin is important to the marriage process – it’s a blood covenant before God. So, if God wasn’t involved in the sexual relationship, the maintained status of being ‘one flesh’ isn’t morally binding, and can be dissolved at will.
This argument isn’t bad for someone who doesn’t know what the text actually says, but the truth is it’s absolute horseshit in terms of an argument. The sort of an argument a well-trained Jesuit would never make.
“Genesis 2 explains why sex exists: because the woman was taken from the man, so that man would not be alone.”
You left out the command “be fruitful and multiply.” Commands are implemented with laws, statutes and ordinances. What is the natural function of woman? To be a wife and helpmeet to her husband and a mother to his children.
“It is a declarative passage, explaining a phenomenon – not defining a moral law”
In other words, we have no law of marriage, no way of specifically knowing when a man and woman are married, even though the penalty for adultery is death. Right. God puts the death penalty on something that can’t be defined? Please, don’t show this one to your old logic professor. Or, in the alternate, take some courses on logic.
“Christ in Matthew 19 explains that divorce is a separation of what God has put together. Where’s God in Genesis 2:24? Nowhere to to be found – the unification is left passive, without an agent.”
In a word… No. Genesis 2:24 has three elements describing three separate actions.
- First we have the status action of the man leaving his father and his mother. With the act of marriage he is creating his own family which will not be under the authority of his father and mother.
- Then we have the physical action of the man as he commits to the marriage with the act of having sex with the virgin. In doing so he initiates the marital covenant with the shedding of the virgin’s blood.
- Finally we have the spiritual action of God as He seals the covenant of marriage by making the two become one flesh. Thee two shall become one flesh and the words “shall become” are imperative. It “shall” happen.
You are attempting to conflate the physical action of the man with the spiritual action of God, which the Apostle Paul described as a great mystery.
Where is God in Genesis 2:24? We notice that Christ quoted Genesis 2:24 and then specifically stated that God is the one who joined them together. Not the man, but God. Helpfully, with the language of 1st Corinthians 6:15-16, we can see that the man and woman become one body through the action of the man when they have sex. That being the case, the only thing left is the becoming of one flesh which is the only joining mentioned in Genesis 2:24, so by process of elimination God has joined them as one flesh.
That is where God is in Genesis 2:24 and your idea that God is nowhere to be found is pure fantasy.
“If a marriage covenant is before God, then God is the unifying agent who made the two into one flesh when the couple consummated their marriage, and his hand in the matter should be respected.”
First, a study of covenants reveals that they are not “before” God, rather, God is a party to the covenant. The man initiates with blood sacrifice and God plays His role in some way or another. Since we know from the Apostle Paul that the becoming of one flesh is a spiritual joining that he compared to the spiritual joining that occurs when a person becomes a Christian and becomes part of the body of Christ, both of them being a great mystery. Christ said in Matthew 19 that God joined the two together. Not physically, but spiritually as one flesh. The man is the one that joined the two as one body. Therefore it is impossible to say that God does not have His role to play in the marital covenant which is initiated with the shed blood of the virgin when her hymen is broken.
Your following statement reveals you are making the claim that you do not believe there is a marriage covenant that God takes part in, when the Bible clearly says it exists.
This leaves us with civil laws pertaining to sex, virgins, and oaths. Exodus 22:16-17 deals with the seduction of an unbetrothed virgin. It follows a long list of property violation and reimbursement laws, so I consider this a civil law rather than a moral law. In your Twenty-Four Words piece, you make the error of striking through ‘to be’ in your second infographic.
- The commandment was given, be fruitful and multiply.
- The law of marriage (Genesis 2:24) was given to implement the commandment.
- The judgement of Genesis 3:16 was given and God commanded, speaking to the wife, of the husband, “he shall rule over you.”
- The law of vows was given to implement the commandment.
A careful study of both the law of marriage and the law of vows reveals an apparent loophole, in that with the act of marriage the eligible virgin is married to the man to took her virginity. With her marriage she is no longer under the authority of her father but now under the authority of her husband. The father is in complete authority over his daughter and possesses the authority to sell her as a servant or concubine. He has the authority to give her in marriage to whomever he wishes. The law of vows gives him the authority and responsibility of reviewing all vows and agreements his daughter makes and he may annul any of them at his discretion in the day he hears of them.
The judgement of Exodus 22:16-17 resolved two issues. The first was whether a man might seduce a woman and thereby marry her without agreeing to pay anything to her father. The reason why it might be important for the man to pay the father a bride price is irrelevant because the question before Moses was whether in the absence of any agreement, the man might avoid such payments now that he has married the woman according to the law of marriage.
Second, is the agreement the daughter made to give the man her virginity, which resulted in her marriage, subject to his review. The answer is yes. That means that the father can annul the marriage after the fact in the day he hears of it.
The judgment of Deuteronomy 22:28-29 resolved the question of what happens when an eligible virgin is raped. The qualifier “if they are discovered” provides a second witness and if so they are married. The witnesses prove the act was against the will of the daughter which means no agreement was made on her part that her father could annul. Lacking the authority of Numbers 30:5, the father has no authority to annul the marriage and so he can’t.
As to your assumption that I erred, you are incorrect. The strike-through (
to be) is because the words “to be” are not in the original Hebrew text. They are a translator addition and the NASB puts them in italics for that reason.
“If you examine how that word is used throughout the Old Testament, you’ll see it pertains to the process of becoming a wife, not an existing wife.”
This is similar to the shop-worn argument that “dabaq” (translated as the word “cleave” in Genesis 2:24) means commitment, not sex. Because every other time “dabaq” is used it means commitment. The problem with this line of argument is that when we compare and contrast Genesis 2:24, Exodus 22:16-17 and Deuteronomy 22:28-29, we see that your argument doesn’t hold up. For example, in Deuteronomy 22:29, the phrase “shall become” (shall become married) is the exact same phrase used in Genesis 2:24 where it says the two “shall become one flesh.” This is not a future action, it is imperative, a judgment of what is. It has happened. There is no other action required, nothing further to do, they are married. Note also that the word translated as “become” is just as legitimately translated as the word “be” rather than “become.”
Notice that Deuteronomy 22:28-29 describes the virgin not betrothed who is raped (violated). The judgment is that if they are discovered, they are married. There is no further action to take. No other requirements are left to be fulfilled, they are married. The same situation exists in Exodus 22:16, in which the father does not annul the marriage. They are already married and there is no further action to take to make them any more married. As to the dowry, consider Jacob. He worked seven years, was tricked and got the wrong wife. Then he received Rachel and was obligated to work another seven years after marrying her.
Also note that the emphatic construction promotes payment associated with marriage, rather than a marriage itself (contrast Deut. 22).
You take this perspective because you conflate the payment of the dowry with the act of becoming married. They are separate. That passage is more logically read from a practical perspective as stated above in the first part of the two issues being decided: that the man cannot seduce a woman and then claim that because he never had an agreement with the father that he doesn’t have to pay the dowry. The dowry can be a tool for the father to use, but this really isn’t about the money but rather about the authority of the father over his daughter. Yet, this is exactly the kind of statement that leads the unwary off the path and down the Easter Bunny’s rabbit hole.
“Since sex without a covenant isn’t sufficient for marriage, there is no reason to suppose such a couple is married.”
Wow. There is so much Jesuit mind-trick in this statement, it’s a classic for those who study this sort of chicanery. Pure Jesuit, it’s the use of the truth to tell a lie. Observe that the correctness of this statement, which can be both the absolute truth or a misleading falsehood, depends upon the character of the individuals involved.
- If the woman is not a virgin but is eligible to marry, sex in and of itself is not sufficient to create a marriage and in the absence of her affirmative consent to marry the act of having sex does not create a marriage. Such an act is only forbidden if the woman is a prostitute, but if she is not a prostitute the act is in no way forbidden regardless of the marital status of the man. There is no sin.
- If the woman is an eligible virgin, not encumbered by a betrothal or other restrictions by her father and the man is eligible to marry her, sex with her will positively result in the initiation of the covenant of marriage, God will unite the two as one flesh and they are married with the act of having sex. Such an act is the consummation of their marriage and it is impossible that it is the “sin” of “premarital sex.”
I’m not saying you’re a Jesuit or any of the other flavor of Catholic apologist because you’ve already made some arguments and statements that are way off their script. However, that last statement is the kind of thing I get from them. Using ambiguous statements like that, ones that under certain conditions can be true but are generally false…. that’s their stock in trade.
Consider this excellent rhetorical argument:
“Premarital sex is a sin and it does not make you married, you must have the ceremony!”
There is an extremely narrow condition under which that is a true statement, which is in the case of a man who first agreed with the father of the bride on a specific period of time for the betrothal, followed by a ceremony, and then the betrothed couple had sex prior to the ceremony. In that case, the act of violating his word (Numbers 30:2) would be the sin (the sex is not a sin because there is no prohibition) and since the woman is not eligible to marry him until the betrothal period is complete and the ceremony is accomplished, the sex with the virgin doesn’t make them married.
However, this is a condition that is so rare as to be practically non-existent today and those who make such a statement know that, as well as the fact that others define the terms in a different way. Still, they were thinking of the condition in which it would be a true statement so they did not technically tell a lie and they can claim a clear conscience. Simple claims that the statement is a lie will fail because there is a condition under which the statement can be true. Such a statement is made by those who know better in order to deceive those who don’t.