For those who may be thinking that the title of this post is scandalous, please bear with me. I think you’ll find that I am not saying that sex feels so good that there has to be a God (although I do believe pleasure does give us a taste of heaven). The title is meant to grab the attention of those who are not aware of the Church’s teaching on sex. However, I’m not going for shock value here. I think this statement is absolutely true when understood properly and when given its proper connotation.
First, it’s important that we restore the original meaning of the word sex. The word sex can often make people uncomfortable because of the way it is commonly used in today’s society. The word sex has been redefined to describe the action of two people engaging in the physical union of their bodies. It has over time been reduced to a casual act amongst partners who may, or may not, know each other.
However, the word sex did not originally carry this meaning. If you have ever filled out an application or some form that asked you to choose your sex – you did not have “yes” or “no” listed as options – you had “male” or “female” to choose between. Sex means gender. Male or Female.
According to Christian Theology, our story begins with God’s creation in the book of Genesis. In fact, the very crown of creation is the creation of the human person. To quote Genesis 1:26-27,
Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and
let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air,
and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every
creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
1) So God created humankind in his image,
2) in the image of God he created them;
3) male and female he created them.
It is here that God says something astounding that people often glance right over. “Let us create humankind in our image”. God must have known that we would glance right over that part of the story without giving it much thought so he repeats this message three more times to catch the readers attention! 1) So God created mankind in his own image. 2) In the image of God he created them 3) Male and Female he created them… Wow. That seems really redundant, unless, he was really trying to get the point across. But, wait a minute. Isn’t number 3 saying something different? Number 3 says “male and female he created them”. It doesn’t say anything about the image of God, does it? Well, I’m glad I made you ask that question because the answer to that question is why I believe sex is the best proof for God’s existence. The answer is yes. God is trying to tell us something very important and I believe this message is something that rings true in our hearts.
Let me explain why I believe that “male and female he created them” (line number 3) is another way of saying “in the image of God he created them” (line number 2). If I tell someone “I have a car” and then immediately after that I say “It is blue” most people know how to interpret the second sentence. That’s because we know how to understand a sentence like “It is blue” as long as we have the proper context in which it belongs. If I just went up to someone and said “It is blue” they would probably ask “What are you talking about? What’s blue?”. If walked up to that same person and said “I have a car. It is blue” they would probably still give me a weird look but would most likely respond with something like “Okay… you have a blue car. Good for you”. He would know what I meant when I said “It is blue” because this time I gave the context needed for understanding. In the Genesis passage quoted above we must interpret line 3 as though it came
immediately after line 2.
The context in Genesis 1:26 is all about the creation of mankind in the image of God. Reading, again, through the last three sentences quoted above it seems almost as if God is trying to ensure our focus is on mankind being created in his image and then once it is – he substitutes “male and female” for “in his image”. If it
was so important that we focus on the fact that we were created in his image then why would he then substitute something else for what he really wanted us to focus on? I believe it’s because we are meant to interpret that we are created male and female in light of the fact that we are created in his image. Our sexuality plays an important part in showing how we were created in the image of God, or how it is that we image God.
This is where John Paul II’s Theology of the Body shows its value in illuminating our understanding of the gift of our sexuality. The image of God is family. God the Father loves Jesus – the Son. He gives his self to his Son Jesus as a total gift, holding nothing back. Jesus opens himself to the Father’s gift, accepts, and receives his love. In turn Jesus gives himself back as a total gift to the Father – holding nothing back, not even his own body which is given up on the cross. Their eternal exchange of love is so powerful, so real, that it is another person.
The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity who is understood to be the powerful bond of love between God the Father and Jesus the Son. All three persons are so integrated, so unified, that they are one God and one family – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Keeping in mind that we were created to image God in our sexuality, we think of the love between a man and a woman where the man initiates a total gift of his self to the woman. The woman may choose to accept the gift and receive the man’s love and give herself back as a total gift – holding nothing back. The love between the two can be so powerful, so real, that they participate in creation. The life that comes forth from their union can be said to be the embodiment of the love between the two. And so they become family: father, mother and child. Three persons but one family. We can see now how meditating on the creation of the body (male and female) we can come to a greater understanding of God (theology), hence the Theology of the Body – a study of God through the human body. This gives us a much greater understanding of the Christian God and helps us understand the meaning and purpose of our sexuality. You may be wondering why this post is intended to be somewhat of a proof of God’s existence.
There are two major reasons why I believe this serves as a great “proof” for God’s existence.
The first major reason is that it can be demonstrated that sex has a purpose and design. Lust, which clouds the purpose and design of sex, leads to Atheism (see Lust Leads to Atheism). We talked about what that purpose is from the Catholic perspective. However, even from a secular point of view we can come to this conclusion because sex isn’t “just sex”. It’s not like shaking someone’s hand or watching a movie. Sex has lasting consequences. Those consequences can either be really good or really bad. In fact, most would agree that when sex is conducted or used inappropriately there are some terrible consequences. Therefore, you can know a thing is true when the opposite of it is false. In computer science, or mathematical, terminology we would say we know A is true because Not(A) is false. For example, we know that a car requires gas to be driven because when we take all the gas out of the tank it won’t turn on anymore. When sex is misused families begins to break apart which then leads to a degradation of society. We can then conclude that if lust, or misused sexuality, is bad for society then that means that there is some sort of proper use or context of sexuality that is good for society. This is the same thing as saying that there is a design for sexuality and sex should be utilized in accordance with that design for “best results”. The question, then, becomes “What is the purpose of sexuality? How do we figure out what that design, or blueprint, is?” That question is what the Theology of the Body seeks to answer.
The second major reason I believe sex is the best proof for God’s existence is because sex seems to be the most sought after thing in the world. Our current culture is absolutely obsessed with sex and all throughout history sex has been the cause of the rise and fall of many nations. People will lie, steal and kill for sex. Conversely, people will chase after, pledge their lives to, and sacrifice everything for sex. Meditation on why it is that the obsession with sex seems to transcend time and culture can lead to two different outcomes. People are either mere animals who are controlled by their instincts and desires or there is much more to sex than just a good feeling. I don’t believe that people are animals even though we sometimes act like animals. Yes, often people can be controlled by their instincts and desires but it’s usually easy to recognize something is wrong when a person cannot say no (ex: those addicted to sex and drugs… etc). As I said before sex isn’t just sex. Sex is the most intimate act that two people can share. It’s a sharing of persons – both literally and figuratively. Sex has it’s own language. A body language. And we speak a message with our bodies even when we don’t think we do.
When two persons shake hands after making a deal there’s a bond made of not only words but also of bodies. The hand shake reaffirms what has been spoken through words. In a sense the handshake says “it’s a deal”. It just says it in a different language. What if you were lying and said “it’s a deal” but you planned on breaking the deal with the person? When the other person finds out they will feel betrayed because you shook hands on it and used your body to back up your words. In the movie Vanilla Sky, Cameron Diaz’s character in tells Tom Cruise’s character, “Don’t you know that when you sleep with someone, your body makes a promise whether you do or not”. These words are very true. The language that sex speaks is one of permanence, of love and truth. The physical act of sex is not all that we long for. It is the union of two persons that we ultimately long for. The forever kind of love is what we are constantly trying to obtain. We are searching so desperately that we, as a culture, wear this truth on our sleeve.
It comes out in our music and in our movies. Singers are constantly releasing new songs with the same themes and similar lyrics like “I’m gonna love you… like nobody’s loved you” (Keith Urban), “You’re still the one” (Shania Twain), “Always and Forever” (Rod Temperton) and “I’m gonna love you forever and ever… Amen” (Randy Travis). Poetry from a man to a woman, or vise versa, that uses language like “you are the world to me”, “not even death will stop me from loving you”, “I want to spend forever with you” seems to accidentally approach the language of the Theology of the Body without picking up a Bible. I believe that this is because this truth has been written into our bodies and we instinctively know that there is a truth to “male and female” that goes beyond us. There must be something more to life because love seems to transcend time and space and even after those close to us have died we continue to long for their love and presence. I believe that sex is meant to reveal the nature of God to us and I believe that it has a great deal of pleasure attached to it because that enormous amount of pleasure helps to give us the motivation to continue that search for God passionately. The Church, and the Theology of the Body, teaches that sex and the climax of sex is meant to give to us a little tiny “taste” of Heaven. It is a crumb that falls from the table of the wedding feast that we are meant to enjoy at the wedding feast that is Heaven. G.K. Chesterton once said that every man who knocks on the door of a brothel (prostitution house) is searching for God.
That’s why sex is the best proof for God. Because we know in our hearts that there is something special about sex and that sexual love (pure and authentic) has a beauty that we just cannot help but gaze upon. Even though many people miss the mark and cause a great deal of damage through the misuse of sex. I truly believe that everyone out there seeking sex is really seeking God (eternal love) even if they are not aware of it. When people start realizing this truth and learning the truth about sex and it’s relation to the nature of God’s love… there will no longer be any need for “proof’s” of God’s existence because to truly love be loved is to truly know love.