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Fornication, quite simply, isn't merely "premarital sex." It isn't only a matter of impatience. It is not simply the marital act misfired at the wrong time, a kind of, as it were, premature ejaculation. Yes, it is true that the sexual act in fornication is, or at least can be, the same sort of physical activity as wedded sexuality. And it's true that, in fornication, the couple involved may be doing that which they would be qualified to do if they were a married couple (which would distinguish fornication from, say, sodomy or incest). But fornication is, both spiritually and typologically, a different sort of act from the marital act, and is indeed a parody of it.
Sexual union is not an arbitrary expression of the will of God (much less of random Darwinian processes). It is instead an icon of God's purposes for the universe in the gospel of Christ. Paul's classic text on the one-flesh union of marriage from Ephesians 5 makes no sense if it is presented as it is too often preached: as a set of tips for a healthier, "hotter" marriage. Instead, this passage is part of an ongoing argument about the cosmic mystery of Christ, a mystery "which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit" (Eph. 3:5).
The Genesis 2 mandate to leave father and mother, to cleave to one another, and to become one flesh is a "mystery" and "refers to Christ and the Church" (Eph. 5:31–32).
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Filed under: * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Sexuality * Religion News & Commentary Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths) * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
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