I believe that God knew from the beginning of time that sexual passion would be the main topic that would appeal, distract, occupy, confuse, bewilder, arouse, and fascinate us more so than any other topic. Just look at our movies, music, magazines, and every other form of media under the sun. Sex sells because an insatiable curiosity about sex is the one thing all sexual beings have in common. As professor of philosophy at Boston College, Peter Kreeft, PhD, says, “God knew there would be no other subject in which there would be more heat and less light . . . There are thousands of ‘how to’ books on sex, but that doesn’t mean we know how. In fact, the opposite is true. It’s when everybody’s pipes are leaking that people buy books on plumbing.”1
So long before other books were published on the matter, God established His own best-selling whirlwind romance novel through the Song of Solomon. And, read through the right lens, neither Harlequin nor Hustler, neither Penthouse nor Playboy can compete.
After multiple readings, I also believe Song of Solomon was written not just as a celebration of love, relationship, marriage, and sex, but also of how God designed the human body and brain such that our senses are incredibly heightened under the influence of such passion. Notice how specific things are mentioned throughout the chapters that appeal to all five of our senses:
* Taste-kisses like fine wine, lover like an apple tree, lips like honeycomb, and milk and honey under the tongue
* Smell-exquisite perfumes, sachets of myrrh between the breasts, clusters of henna blossoms, fragrance of blossoming vines, incense from fine spices
* Hearing-seasons of singing, cooing of doves, sweetness of a lover’s voice, a garden fountain, a well of flowing water, a lover knocking at the door
* Feeling-a verdant bed; a lover’s embrace; longing for the sights, sounds, and feel of her lover; a stolen heart due to a glance; a locked garden, an enclosed spring, a sealed fountain; a pounding heart at her lover’s arrival; a sunken heart at her lover’s absence; feeling faint with love; unquenchable desire
* Sight-a wide variety of physical attributes-from facial features to intimate body parts-are likened to such awe-inspiring things as a harnessed mare, a scarlet ribbon, pomegranate halves, strings of jewels, gold, silver, polished ivory, sapphires, marble, doves, lilies among thorns, gazelles, flocks of goats and sheep, the fairness of the moon, the brightness of the sun, the majesty of the stars.
When Song of Solomon so fervently and unashamedly describes her lover’s kiss, as well as her navel as a goblet of fine wine (1:2, 7:2), and her stature as “like a palm tree,” and “breasts like clusters of fruit,” such that her lover declares, “I will climb the palm tree and take hold of its fruit” (7:7, 8), the reader certainly gets the idea that God is not modest when it comes to committed love and sexual passion within marriage!
So why in the world should our perspective on sex and marriage be any different?
PRAYER: Lord, teach me to savor the multitude of sensory delights you designed my body and brain to enjoy during lovemaking!
Peter Kreeft, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Heaven-But Never Dreamed of Asking (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990). See www.peterkreeft.com/topics/sex-in-heaven.htm for an excerpt,”Is There Sex in Heaven?”
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Excerpted from The Passion Principles: Celebrating Sexual Freedom in Marriage by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2014. All Rights Reserved. Published by W Publishing Group, and imprint of Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.