Idolatry, adultery and pornography...

It's not for nothing that God routinely describes idolatry as "whoredom" and "adultery." If God is His people's husband by covenant, if we, the Church, are His Bride, bought at a price, then our looking to other gods is whoredom and our consorting with the idols of other gods is adultery.

And there is always correspondence between spiritual reality and physical. That's why it's so important that we don't separate the spiritual from the physical in our worship. If we say, "I'm worshipping on the inside," but our countenance never shows it or our posture never reveals it, the truth is we're not doing it on the inside. This is why we bow in confession--not that bowing makes it true, but because true repentance is lived out in every area of life, including the physical. The same is true of rejoicing.

Thus, when we are spiritually adulterous, spiritually promiscuous, whoring after other gods, we will be physically promiscuous and immoral as well. This is why idolatry walks hand-in-hand with sexual perversion and sexual immorality.

This is an iron spiritual law: where there is sexual perversion, where there is physical adultery, where there is sexual promiscuity and unfaithfulness, there is spiritual promiscuity and unfaithfulness as well. Without the spiritual adultery of idolatry, physical adultery cannot take place. Where there is sexual immorality--remember that the progression of sin in Romans 1 begins with rejection of God and turning to idols and advances from there into sexual sin--there is idolatry.

This means that we need to rethink what we consider the base sin at the core of pornography. We have tended to think of pornography as only a sexual sin. But at the core of pornography is the sin that is found whenever an image is worshipped: idolatry. Pornography is idolatry. It may also be sexual sin. But first it's the worship of an image, plain and simple. Pornography equals idolatry. Pornography is the modern term for the worship of Venus and Aphrodite and Artemis and all the love gods and fertility goddesses of the past. Past cultures had their sexually charged images, their lust idols with oversized genitalia and crudely sexual meanings or their sophisticated goddesses of love. So do we.

Here is the beauty of idolatry in the eyes of the idolater. It demands giving way to the flesh. It demands immorality. Our flesh wants to be sexually promiscuous and adulterous? Why how convenient: the idols of our gods call us to that as well.


My understanding is that an idol is anything that takes the place of God as a source of affection, satisfaction, and pleasure.

I think one of the more profound ideas in The Bible is that we eventually become like the object of our worship [regardless what it is. We develop a character consistent with our god or gods.

Ecclesiastes 7:26 And, I find more bitter than death, the woman whose heart is snares and nets. Whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God shall escape from her. But the sinner shall be trapped by her.

By that rationale, wouldn't it be idolatry to lust over your own wife?

Eric, do you doubt that a man could make an idol of his own wife? I would think that would be quite possible if the wife displaces the affection, satisfaction, or pleasure that one is to find in God alone.

Sure, Bill, I agree with what you just said (in theory, anyway; that's mighty hard to apply unless you have a concrete situation in which love for his wife is causing a man willingly to eat forbidden fruit). But that's a much higher test than David proposed. In David's post, sexual desire = worship.

Well, David B. can defend himself, but I read him as saying that pornography=idolatrous worship. The subject, in other words, is pornographic lust, not the desire for one's wife.

Yeah, his subject was porn, but nothing about his argument linking idolatry to porn depended on the sexy image being illicit. His argument isn't coherent unless he's assuming that sexual arousal is a form of worship, period.

Our wives. They were meant to be the single greatest object of our desire among all of God's creation. We were created to desire her. To pursue her. To have everything else pale in comparison to her. To long after her. To absentmindedly spend all our money on her. To drool over her. In short, we were created to be madly in love with her.

This is not idolatry. If we were to desire any other created thing in this way, then it would be idolatry. But not with our wives. They are an exception to the rule. Why? God made it to be so.

He has done this to teach us of our relationship with him. The reality is our relationship with him. The shadow or type of that reality is the relationship shared between the husband and the wife.

Our great creator. He is meant to be the single greatest object of our desire. We were created to desire him. To pursue him. To have everything else pale in comparison to him. To long after him. To spend all our money on his causes. To be dumbstruck by his beauty. In short, we were created to be madly in love with him.

Our marriages are meant to teach us of how God wants us to be with him. It is impossible to "Lust" after one's own wife. To lust is to long after forbidden fruit. Our wives are not forbidden fruit. They are the fruit of every other tree that God created to bring delight and ecstasy to our senses. They are our garden. They are our paradise here on earth.

We must not deny the type. We must embrace the type. It will actually help us to embrace the reality. It will give us a true vision of what God desires of us. This is how God sees us. We are the desire of all his affections. We are his bride. His lovely one. The one for whom He would give up everything. The one for whom he did just that.

However, It is still possible to make an idol of our wives if we put her on a pedestal above God. This is not done by desiring her too much however. Rather, it is done by allowing your desire to distort the type. God wants our marriages to accurately portray his relationship with us. If we distort the type, then our view of God will become distorted too.

A huge example of this is when the husband allows the wife to be the head. When a man feels compelled by the holy spirit to do something, but his wife desires something else, if he wimps out and follows her desires then he has made her his head. He has made her his god. He has done what Adam did with Eve. He has destroyed the type. He has made God out to be submissive to the church. He has made the church to be God's head. He has made the church to dictate to God what is right and wrong.

Yes, our wives can become our idols. But it is not by desiring them too much. Rather it's only when we use that desire in a way that violates our relationship with God.

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God bless.

Excellent article

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