We tend to think of lust and pornography and sex outside of marriage more as destructive habits than spiritual sins.
To be sure, much of what makes sexual sin worse than other sins is the amount of earthly damage it causes. By that I mean the human relationships that are effected by sexual sin. God is very angry when his children hurt each other. Sexual sin hurts a lot of people very deeply.
However, I think we have forgotten that it also directly hurts God because it is the result of worshipping another god. It is always spiritual adultery before it is sexual adultery.
Here are four ways that sexual immorality is a false religion and not merely harmful behavior.
It involves a belief about the whole world and the purpose of mankind
Lust stems from a belief that feminine beauty is the most important thing in all the world and that to be sexually satisfied is to be truly happy
That is a strong statement. Perhaps the man who lusts highly values feminine beauty but does he really think it is the most important thing in all the world? Maybe not all the time. But at the moment of lusting, yes. Here is how we know.
He may know that lust is harmful. He may know that it will not ultimately satisfy him. He may know that God is the source and creator of all things good and beautiful and satisfying. He may even know that to indulge in lust will eventually destroy his life. But when a gorgeous woman walks by revealing far too much of herself to the surrounding public, all his knowledge evaporates and his belief boils to the surface. He knows better but he believes that her beauty is worth far more than the God who made her and him; than the God who commands him to turn his heart away.
It is devotion to something that transcends the people involved
The man who lusts is not worshipping the woman but rather Beauty and Pleasure incarnate
A man can look at woman after woman without any particular attachment to any one woman not because he is objectifying her. He can do it because he sees her as incarnate Beauty. His god (or should we say goddess) is Beauty and he seeks access to her through any woman who has been blessed by her. You see, we are not any different than the Greeks and Romans who believed in gods and goddesses and made sacrifices to be blessed by them. We have been “enlightened” so our gods are impersonal and no longer worshipped as transcendent beings, but we still believe in the goddess of Beauty.
Lust doesn’t objectify women. It is much worse. The lusting man wishes or rejoices in the devotion of women to the goddess of Beauty, betraying the true God. Love wishes all be reconciled to God. Lust wishes all be reconciled to Beauty.
Our worship of Beauty can easily be described in terms of a personal goddess.
We long for her approval. We long for her to bless us both in our own appearance and with women who have been blessed by her. We want to inherit all she has. We long to be adopted as her sons and we long to marry her daughters. We make sacrifices to be blessed by her.
It involves sacrifice and temple worship
As worshipers of Beauty we frequently offer her sacrifices and go to her temples to gain her approval and blessing
We sacrifice time and comfort to exercise and diet. We sacrifice money for products or services that will make us more in her image and allow us to enjoy those in her image. The more we sacrifice the more of her we get to enjoy. If someone is out of our league we sacrifice all the more to gain access to a higher level of blessing.
We want so badly for beautiful women to think we are great and desirable. If we have the approval and desire of beautiful women then we have approval from the most important thing in the universe, Beauty herself. How do I know I am truly someone special? Beauty and her daughters love me.
This is certainly a strange way of talking about our daily activities. But can’t you see how easy it is to talk of our daily lives in terms of worshipping a false idol? The same terms we often use in Christianese to talk of our daily walk with God can be used to talk of what we actually do for other gods; our daily walk with Beauty.
It defines heaven and hell and salvation
Heaven becomes a place where we have unlimited access to her and her belongings and her people, while hell becomes the opposite of that.
We want access to all of Beauty’s belongings. We want to inherit everything she has. As her sons we could have all the sexual pleasure in the world with any and all the beautiful women we want. This is the fantasy of the lusting man. This is the heaven of the man who lusts: sex with whomever, however many times he wants. He prays to Beauty for intimacy and approval with the most beautiful women in the world. He believes he would be eternally happy if he had access to all the sexual pleasure he could think of. Eternal life is this: knowing and being known by Beauty.
Heaven is being a prince in the kingdom of Beauty with unlimited access to sexual pleasure. And hell is never having sexual pleasure or beholding beauty again, ever.
With this religious belief it actually sounds like God’s heaven is closer to hell than it is heaven. Sure we will be able to enjoy beauty in God’s heaven but there is no sex. It seems like heaven is actually an eternal abstinence which sounds a lot more like hell. We generally would not phrase it this way. But if we are honest with ourselves the heaven of Beauty sounds a lot better.
However, it only sounds better because we are believing a lie. We are chasing a mirage that will disappear as soon as we grasp it. When you lift the veil there is no goddess of Beauty but rather a monstrous siren ready to devour us.
In tomorrow’s post we will see how Jesus is the true and better God of beauty and pleasure. We will see that the true heaven will truly satisfy all our desires even better than unlimited sex. Check back in tomorrow to find out how.
How is your walk with Beauty?
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