The city of Corinth worshiped Aphrodite, Greek goddess of sex. High on the hill was a temple dedicated to her, and one of the functions of the priestesses serving in the temple was to have sexual relations with those who came to worship. In this way, the demons behind this false deity were transmitted from the temple prostitutes to those who came to worship.*
It was to the church there in Corinth that Paul penned these words: “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” (1 Cor. 6:15-16).
In youth groups and para church organizations there has been teaching on the physical and emotional ramifications from illicit sex, but bestselling books on the subject have had very little focus on the spiritual effects. As Christians, it’s imperative that we understand sexuality foremost from the perspective of a spiritual union.
That “the two become one flesh” (Eph. 5:31) is God’s overall picture for marriage, and includes the concept of covenant. So while two people may have nothing else on their minds but the physical, there is actually a spiritual and, in essence, legal transaction taking place in their intimacy. This is commonly called a “soul tie.”
Peter Horrobin of Ellel ministries explains sexual soul ties this way, “Intercourse is the union of flesh, when the desire of the soul is completed through bodily sexual union. Through sexual union, therefore, there is both a joining of spirit and soul and a joining of bodies. After intercourse has taken place the bodies separate, but the souls are now joined together – the marriage, as such, is complete. There is then not only a union of spirit, but also a union of soul . . . There is now a soul-tie established between husband and wife through the act of sexual union. Something of the man becomes part of the woman and something of the woman becomes part of the man. It is for this reason that as the years go by, married couples can grow like each other in so many different ways.”+
But these soul ties aren’t limited to married couples. As Horrobin goes on to say, God doesn’t suspend His laws just because we break them. Ungodly soul ties form through illict sex, and can act as a channel for demonic torment. In the act of sexual sin, just as biological infections can be passed from one person to another, demons can transfer from one person to another. This was the goal of the temple prostitution in Corinth (1 Cor. 6:16).
When a teen or anyone, for that matter, comprehends sex primarily as a spiritual act, then the ramifications of acting in accordance with the culture around us drastically change. STD’s, pregnancy, and even emotional damage are only a fraction of what is at stake; ungodly soul ties that can be a source of demonization and bondage for life can also be established through one careless act.
Has this teaching been established in your life? Or is this the first you have considered that sex is foremost a spiritual union, and not a physical one? How would your own life be different in light of this?
* Stedman, Ray. Adventuring through the Bible. © 2005 Discovery House Publishers.
+ Horrobin, Peter. “Sexual sin: what it is, what it does, and the way out.” http://ellel.org/assets/dl/peter-horrobin-article-sexual-sin-part-2.pdf
Photo by Mario Orellano, “Fragility,” February 16, 2006 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution (cropped).