Is Masturbation a Sin?

Masturbation is built on a self-centered view of sex. This wrong attitude says that sex is solely about you and your pleasure. Your body. Your genitals. Your orgasm. This is the natural tendency of sin. It isolates us from others and makes pleasure self-focused. When our lustful desires are given free rein, sex is pushed into a corner and made a completely self-centered, isolated experience that reinforces a self-centered view of life.

The answer to this question isn’t lacking for opinions. Some people would say that masturbation is normal and amoral, while others believe masturbation is always wrong—i.e. a real moral issue.

How might we assess these various opinions?

First, as Christians we certainly wouldn’t align with the view that masturbation is amoral. We may concede that it’s normal, but that doesn’t put it outside the question of right and wrong. Obviously, when lust enters the picture we’re dealing with a real moral issue.

Some would argue that masturbation is permissible for the pubescent or pre-married individual as long as they don’t lust after another person. In fact, some believe it’s okay for a man to masturbate, in particular (and not to be crude) in order to release a sperm buildup, assuming he doesn’t lust in the process. Obviously, there are innocent acts of masturbation for children who are in the self-discovery stage. As parents we don’t want our children to think there’s anything wrong with figuring out their anatomy or having a simple case of the curiosities. But that’s mere child’s play. And probably shouldn’t even be labeled masturbation. It has nothing to do with lust because the kids I’m referring to haven’t even reached puberty.

Then there are those who have reached puberty and still masturbate—even regularly. Is this wise? I don’t think so. It’s a little like playing with fire. Just because our body feels the need for a certain type of release doesn’t mean we should cave in to our desires. As humans we have many desires in life, and nothing will erode our discipline quicker than constantly giving in to our desires. I’d rather offer my advice on the side of caution versus give a free pass in the name of some sexual release.

While I can understand how a pre-pubescent child may have innocently masturbated and even continued to do so without lusting into puberty, my fear is that if he continues with this behavior it’ll only be a matter of time before he begins connecting his lusts to masturbation. When this connection feels like the perfect match, he may end up with some real challenges.

With these thoughts in mind, let me offer a few warnings.

First, realize that masturbation exhibits a lack of self-control. According to the Bible, self-control is a virtue, and is even described as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Many people are controlled by their next episode of masturbation. Christ doesn’t want us mastered by anything but Him!

Secondly, masturbation can cultivate a self-centered and pleasure-seeking appetite that warps one’s view of biblical sex. That’s a frightening thought and should cause us to reserve all forms of sexual pleasure for marital love.

Thought to Ponder
Masturbation ultimately weakens the will, warps the mind, and wrecks one’s emotions.

Memory Verse
This is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4).

One-Minute Apologist Video:  Bobby Conway, “Is Masturbation a Sin?”




What’s Wrong With Pornography?

Pornography takes human sexuality out of its natural context—intimacy between two human beings—and makes it a product to be bought and sold.

A few years back I was talking to an old friend on the phone. At one point during the conversation I was discussing the importance of avoiding pornography. He chimed in and said, “What’s wrong with porn, man? I love porn.” Well, he’s not alone. So do millions of other people. That’s why it’s a multi-billion dollar industry. But what is it about pornography that we should pay serious attention to? And be cautious of?

First, porn objectifies women. Or all people for that matter. The options for porn material are limitless. There’s homosexual porn, child porn, and of course adult female porn. We objectify people when we use them for our own self-centered purposes. That’s what porn does. It uses people. It treats them like objects. It objectifies them! Porn is using an image of a human being made in the image of God to gratify one’s lustful desires. And that’s not good.

Second, porn destroys our brain. Seriously. It causes brain damage. Let me explain. With the advancement of neuroscience we now know that our willpower is a function of the prefrontal lobe of the brain. Consistent use of pornography actually reshapes this critical part of the brain, thus weakening one’s moral fortitude. The will is sapped of strength through continuous porn play. It’s often referred to as hypofrontality. This breakdown of the frontal lobe of the brain especially affects addicts. Their addictive desires heighten while their determination to resist is weakened and buckles under sexual pressure. Next time you find yourself tempted to look at pornography just remind yourself that porn destroys the brain.

That should make us all think twice.

Third, porn causes self-deception. I once heard someone say, “The problem with being deceived is you don’t know that you’re deceived.” How true that is, especially when our behaviors turn addictive. The problem with porn is that the more one uses it the more one can’t stop using it. The motto for the porn addict becomes, “Just once more.” In the moment of desire he or she believes they’ll be able to beat it the next time. So, in self-deceit they fulfill themselves in the moment. But the problem is they tell themselves the exact same thing the next time—and the next time, and the next time—until they really make a decision to quit viewing porn once and for all, or destroy their lives in the name of addiction.

Fourth, porn depraves the soul. Porn sucks the life out of its victims, creating within viewers an insatiable appetite that can never be satisfied and constructing an appetite that grows more deviant in what it views in order to scratch their viewing itch. If you’re addicted to porn let me encourage you to get some help. ASAP. And know this: Christ can set you free (John 8:32; Philippians 4:13).

Thought to Ponder
Porn is like a cosmic vacuum cleaner. If you give yourself to it it’ll suck your life away.

Memory Verse
I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman (Job 31:1).

One-Minute Apologist Video : Bobby Conway, “What’s Wrong With Pornography?”

What’s the Big Deal About Premarital Sex?

I have had plenty of people say, “Well, what’s wrong with sex outside of marriage?” The answer is the Bible says God invented sex as a way to say to somebody else that I belong completely and exclusively to you. So if you use sex to say something else you really destroy the ability of sex to work because sex is a covenant renewal ceremony.

premarital sex

premarital sex

Why in the world would God want a couple to wait until they’re married before having sex? Could He possibly have good reasons—or is He simply out of touch? Isn’t God a bit Victorian in His sexual approach? Isn’t it time we freshen Him up a bit and help Him be a little more culturally relevant?

Well, not so fast. Let’s think about this for a moment. What could God’s agenda possibly be for having us wait until we’re married to have sex?

First, God desires our marital relationships to have maximum trust. He’s not trying to spoil the fun, nor is He seeking to be a party pooper. He knows how important the trust factor is to marriage. By waiting, a couple is able to establish a foundation of trust. Consider this: If you’re dating a person who is willing to have sex with you, then you’re dating a person who is willing to sleep with an unmarried person. What makes you think when you get married your spouse still won’t be willing to have a little sex outside of marriage?

My wife and I are on the national speaking team for Family-Life. At one of the Weekend to Remember events one of our speakers was approached by a lady who said, “Before my husband and I were married we would have sex. He’d often say, ‘I can’t wait—I can’t wait.’ So we had sex. But now that we are married, he travels a lot and I wonder what will happen if he can’t wait and I’m not there.” See how her trust was fractured as a result of premarital sex? When a couple waits to have sex until they’re married, they’re revealing to each other that they have the self-control that’s necessary to handle their sexual passions. And this creates trust—the necessary ingredient to a healthy marriage.

Second, there would be no such thing as STDs if we just followed God’s plan. God obviously had some wisdom regarding sex outside of marriage. Our way of doing things has resulted in countless deaths through AIDS, and millions of people have suffered the consequences of sexually transmitted diseases. Want to avoid contracting AIDS and all other forms of STDs? Have sex God’s way—in the context of marriage.

Third, premarital sex builds the relationship in reverse order. We are to date the soul and then sex becomes the celebration of our oneness through the marital covenant. We date the soul and marry the body and soul. Premarital sex inserts a false set of emotions into the relationship. And as a result, sexually active couples often think they’re closer to each other than they really are. That’s because sex is powerful. This creates a false sense of compatibility when in reality the couple may be at odds relationally. By dating the soul you can first establish your friendship and evaluate whether you’re compatible for one another. Don’t put the cart before the horse. I’ve met many people who have regretted not waiting, but I’ve never met one couple that regretted waiting.

The wait is worth it.

Now that’s worth pondering!

As we wrap up this question, let me say a word to those who have already had sex outside of marriage—to those perhaps living with regret. I can relate. I was very promiscuous before I gave my life to Christ and even for a season after becoming a believer. Fortunately, my wife and I were able to date for nearly two years before we got married and we did wait. I’m so thankful we did. It really created a deep sense of trust for each other, especially for Heather considering my promiscuous past. She saw that I was able to wait—for her. Needless to say, if you’ve got regrets, know that God is a forgiving God (1 John 1:9). And if you’re in a sexual relationship, make a decision together to wait. You won’t be sorry. I promise.

Thought to Ponder
If you want maximum trust in your marriage it’ll mean submitting your lusts to God and waiting to act out on your sexual passion until the right time—until you say, “I do.”

Memory Verse
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls (Proverbs 25:28).

One-Minute Apologist Video
Bobby Conway, “What’s the Big Deal About Having Premarital Sex?”

Did God Create the World to Boost His Own Glory?

Let me be clear that of course the Bible says it is our obligation to love, praise, and worship God, but this is a very different matter from the suggestion that God worships himself, is deeply worried about whether he has enough glory or not, and his deepest motivation for doing anything on earth is so that he can up his own glory quotient, or magnify and praise himself.

Some people have a hard time stomaching the idea of a relationship with the Christian God because they think He created the world for a personal glory boost. Sort of like creating a world destined for redemption in order to become your own superhero.

How can we respond to such a view?

First, God didn’t create the world with a desire for us to rebel against Him. Rather, the world was created in perfection and declared “good” by God (see Genesis 1:31).

Second, it wasn’t God’s desire for evil to enter into the world. In fact, He even warned Adam to avoid the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:16-17).

Third, God didn’t create the universe and all of humanity because there was something lacking within Him. He has no deficiency. No need. We weren’t created for His emotional fulfillment. The thought in itself is absurd, if not laughable. Nor does God have some deep-rooted insecurity issue whereby He created us so that we could remind Him of how great He is. He’s well aware. And not arrogantly so, but obviously so!

Fourth, neither did God create us because He suffered from the horrors of loneliness. God is triune. He has eternally existed in what Alvin Plantinga, the eminent philosopher, refers to as the “Charmed circle of the Trinity.”* God is a communal God. One God eternally existing in triune community!

So why did God create us? Not for lack. Rather God created us to share Himself with us. Far from being a selfish megalomaniac, God is a selfless, giving, omnibenevolent God. His greatest act of benevolent love was witnessed at Calvary in the Person of Jesus Christ as He sought to rescue us from the consequences of this macabre, marked world. It was there at Golgotha that Christ shared in our suffering to atone for our sins. And it wasn’t out of His need. It was out of ours.

Thought to Ponder
God didn’t create us to boost His own glory. That would imply He was in need of us. Rather, He created us to share in His glory and to experience His creation and ultimately to know Him as our Creator.

Memory Verse
The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything (Acts 17:24-25).

One-Minute Apologist Video
Bobby Conway, “Did God Create the World to Boost His Own Glory?”

Who made God?

To ask, “Who made God?” commits a category fallacy: It assumes that God is a contingent (dependent), caused entity. God by definition is uncaused and eternally existent.

Asking the question, “Who made God?” is like asking, “How did Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata taste?” It just doesn’t fit. The question is a classic category mistake. Why? Because God wasn’t made and the Moonlight Sonata can’t be tasted! Adding to this blunder, the famed atheist Bertrand Russell notoriously said, “If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause.” But it’s not true that everything must have a cause. Only that which begins to exist must have a cause. And herein God is perched up in a category of His own.

God is the uncreated Creator. He is the beginning-less Beginner. He is the uncaused Cause of all that exists. Think about it. Everything that had a beginning had a Beginner. Every product has a Producer. And every initiative must have an Initiator. If there is an origin there must be an Originator. And since there is a genesis there is a Generator. That generator is God.

Exclaimed from verse one of the Bible the Scriptures announce, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Far from being made, God is the Maker of all things. He is the Cause of all first causes. He is the Producer of all that was originally produced. He’s the original Originator. And the Genesis of all that’s been generated!

Do you remember what God said to Moses when He appeared to him in the burning bush to appoint him to confront Pharaoh?

Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’ ” (Exodus 3:13-14).

What was God saying to Moses? He was revealing Himself to Moses as the self-existent one. As the one who wasn’t made! God was saying, “Moses, go tell them that the One who never began to exist sent you. The unmade One.”

Unlike us, God is a necessary being, an independent being. And each of us, unlike God, are contingent beings, therefore, dependent. The universe is also contingent. God spoke it into existence. This means all things that began to exist are dependent on God for existence.

It turns out there is a problem with the question “Who made God?” The word made can’t be said of God. For God is the unmade Maker.

Thought to Ponder

It’s been said, “It’s a whole lot easier to believe that Something took nothing and made something than it is to believe that nothing took nothing and made something.”

Memory Verse

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (Psalm 90:2).

Question to Consider

Why are so many people content to believe that everything came from nothing?

One-Minute Apologist Video Frank Turek, “Who Created God?”