A scripture passage that is often used to refer
to the act of masturbation is found in Genesis 38:8-10. However, a study of this scripture reveals
that it has nothing to do with the act of masturbation and must be taken
in context with the Jewish law of the time. The clarification of these
verses can be found in Deuteronomy 25:5-6. It
was a common practice that if a man was married and if he were to die
without leaving any children, and if he had a brother who was not married,
his brother would marry his wife and bare children for his generation
to continue. What God was displeased with Onan about was for him to have
spilled his seed on the ground during intercourse, so as to not give his
brother a child.
I have seen this verse used many times in reference
to masturbation, but it has nothing to do with that at all. I have also
seen it used to frighten children into not masturbating by pointing out
that God slew Onan for that reason.
It is of my opinion that it is quite natural
for children to explore and it should be expected. (None of us has forgotten,
have we?) I have met many adults who still suffer from the effects of
being told that it was evil, and as a result, grew up with the impression
that sexuality was evil which has effected their marriage for most (if
not all) of their lives.
Another scripture pointed out is found in 1
Cor. 6:9, where it says ...nor abusers of themselves with mankind. The word
abuser in the Greek comes from the word which means sodomite, which of
course is sodomy, which is in reference to homosexuality. And once again,
this practice may be included in a homosexual relationship, but does not
refer to masturbation in itself.
The scriptures are silent on this particular
subject, and I believe the reason is because it is another area in which
it is left up to the individual to determine. If it is wrong for you then
it is wrong, but it is not for anyone to determine what is wrong (concerning
areas where the Bible is silent) in all situations. For example, masturbation
in a homosexual relationship is wrong because of the relationship, not
the act itself, for if that were to be the case, then what is referred
to as heavy petting or foreplay in a marriage between a man and a woman
would be wrong also.
A blanket statement that it is wrong in any
circumstance can be countered with many other examples and requires an
answer on an individual basis; for example, would it be wrong for a recently
widowed person thinking of his/her mate to become aroused in thinking
about times past and imagining his/her touch? What about when sexually
active married couples are separated for long periods of time? How about
when a sexually active married couple become excited during the time of
her period or in the late stages of pregnancy? What about the sexually
active married couple when one has become too ill for sexual activity?
Are you prepared to give pat answers for these
type of situations or are you going to remain silent in areas the Bible
is silent and let each individual make those determinations for themselves
and let God work out the details in their lives?
What about the young person who has been sexually
awakened to his/her sexuality? Or someone who is single for a long period
of time? I suggest that masturbation would be better for them than to
have sexual intercourse.
At this point, the words of Jesus come to mind
in Matthew 5:28 ....That whosoever looketh on a
woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his
heart. (It goes without saying this would also refer to the
ladies lusting after a man.) Furthermore, as pointed out in the article
entitled, What does the Bible say about premarital/extramarital sex?,
any sexual relationship outside of marriage between one man and one woman
is adultery, before or after marriage. With that being so, where does
the above quoted words of Jesus leave us all? I say guilty as charged.
(I could be tempted to be legalistic at this point and leave it there,
and then to sound very spiritual by reminding the reader that we are the
temple of the Holy Spirit, but I won’t do that.) We are all guilty of
the letter of the law which brings death, and be it either in mind or
in deed, have committed adultery in the past and still do from time to
time according to the letter of the law.
So What Is the Answer?
I believe we need the grace of God to cover the sins
we all commit every day in breaking at least one of the letters of the
laws. For saying such things, I am still accused of giving licenses to
sin when I speak of salvation by grace and not of the keeping of the letter
of the laws, which is impossible to do so before or after salvation, because
we all still have the old sinful nature which lurks just under the surface
to be revealed for all to see in times of weakness. It is not a matter
of IF it occurs, it is a matter of WHEN it occurs. Do you wish to be guilty
under the letter of the law which brings death and to be judged accordingly
without mercy (Old Testament Laws), or would you rather be under the umbrella
of grace where those sins were covered by the blood of Jesus and receive
mercy and life (New Testament Laws)? This choice is yours to make, as
for the judgment on the above subject, I believe it is best to leave that
to the judgment of God.
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