You shall not commit adultery
(Exodus 20:14 NKJV)
The Seventh commandment states: "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). This means that it is forbidden to be unfaithful to your spouse and any other unlawful or impure love. In this survey a brief explanation of this Commandment is given, its history, influence on the entire world, the present situation and the Orthodox point of view.
Contents: (1) Unrestrained Sex – Plague of our Time; (2) Propaganda of Immorality; (3) Moral according to the Orthodox; (4) Ten Commandments of the Old Testament; (5) Interpretation by Orthodox Christians; (6) Divine Origin of Commandments; (7) Conditions for a Healthy and Productive Life; (8) Christian Teaching – the TRUTH; (9) Bonding of bodily, intellectual and spiritual Functions; (10) Physical Love; (11) Sex before Marriage; (12) The loss of the Potential to Love; (13) Man by Nature is Monogamous; (14) Church Fathers on the Seventh Commandment; Conclusion; Notes; Links.
1. Unrestrained Sex – Plague of our Time.
Unrestrained (free) sex is the plague (curse) of our time. Because of it, many new sexual diseases have appeared (a large number of California youth is infected with incurable herpes), the terrible and incurable deadly AIDS, the murder of unborn children (abortions), parents reject their children since they were born out of wedlock, all kinds of murders in fits of jealousy, pornography including children blooms, huge number of marriages fall apart due to adultery and end up in divorce with the disintegration of the family and immeasurable injury to children, the rape of women and even children and the like. There is no end to the enumeration of these horrors and all this is because man is not capable, does not know and does not understand how to manage his sexual functions.
[* [* about 1.3 mill. and 46 mill. abortions per year (killing of unborn babies in the mother's womb) in the USA and the World respectively].
2. Propaganda of Immorality. [29дек10]
On the other side, the media, in pursuit of an easy profit, conducts a propaganda of immorality. Sex is represented as some light entertainment and that it is possible, completely painlessly, to jump into a bed first with one and then with another "partner". This immorality has filtered into schools and the so-called "churches" and is presented as something normal. To us it is quite clear that this behavior is not normal since even animals do not behave this way.
Also the sex is presented as something necessary for health. In the West, they reached the point where if the elderly or older people are not interested in sex, this is considered abnormal and that they should be treated. Everybody knows many, totally normal people, who live without any sex. On the other hand if a person arouses himself with jokes, pornography, movies, novels, observing human sexuality, memories, dreams, self-gratification etc. etc., then, of course, the sexual desire can reach uncontrollable heights or even madness.
From the above, it becomes clear, why some spiritual fathers think that, since after the 40th year when the child-bearing functions cease, sexual life is also be no longer a needed.
Let us remember the History of ancient Rome and that especially this lewdness contributed to the fall of Roman Empire and appearance of the Christianity on the historical scene. See "Moral Corruption of the Roman Empire" (Professor Philip Schaff, 1858) (ДД-06.15ар).
3. Moral according to the Orthodox.
We, Orthodox Christians, part ways from the immoral trends in present society in the very understanding of the concept of "normal".
Much that we consider "abnormal" behavior, they consider as "normal".
What to us is perversion for them is normal. This in the sense of morals and health.
Christian teaching is from the Lord God Himself, creator of the entire universe and therefore it is above science. Science is the fruit of human imperfect reasoning and it constantly changes its conclusions. But on the other hand it is also gradually approaching the eternal truths expressed long time ago in Christian teaching.
Why is there such a difference between the Orthodox understanding and the secular? Orthodox people take as normal and as a standard for normal behavior - the teaching of Jesus Christ, the Holy Scripture and the teaching of the Orthodox Church. Present-day secular sciences take a sinful man and a man full of sinful passions (obsessions) as a normal condition. We teach that sin is a destructive behavior, it sooner or later harms man and society, it is always necessary to pay for it with a high price. The less man sins, the fewer sinful habits and passions, the closer he is to the ideal and holiness, the better he is as a man, and he is more normal and happier. Secular sciences do not have a concept of sin, they disregard it and therefore they miss the enormous inner world of man: his conscience, the good and evil in him, his thoughts, sinful habits and passions, their development and dynamics, the struggle with evil and the like. Therefore their teachings are incomplete and in some cases even harmful. Now let us examine this entire question from the very beginning.
4. Ten Commandments of the Old Testament. The Ten Commandments were given still in the Old Testament (1615 years before Christ) to the prophet Moses on Mount Sinai, on the fiftieth day of the exodus of Jews from Egypt (Exodus 20:2-17; Deuteronomy 5:6-21). The entirety of Jesus Christ's preaching is based on the Old Testament and deepens it. The Ten Commandments and The Beatitudes from the Gospel, for almost 2000 years, form the basis of all civilized societies. All civil laws are correlated with them, and many originate from them. The Commandments indicate to us what behavior of man is destructive for him and for society as a whole, and what is constructive. Therefore, the following of the commandments creates a well being in our life on earth, and also eternal salvation. The Seventh commandment reads as follows: "You shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14 NKJV), and this means that one is not supposed to be unfaithful to one's spouse.
5. Interpretation by Orthodox Christians.
Following Jesus Christ's teaching, Orthodox Christians interpret these commandments widely. For them they appear as a title or a shorthand record of an entire way of thinking. Therefore, it is not only a sin to violate them, but any act that leads towards the violation of the commandment is also a sin. Therefore, the Seventh Commandment is explained as follows: "It is forbidden to violate faithfulness to one's spouse and any unlawful and impure love. It is necessary to observe purity of thoughts and desires. It is necessary to avoid everything that can cause impure feelings (in oneself and others): shameless jokes, pictures, films, books, songs, dances, clothing".
Archpriest Serafim Slobodskoy in his well known book "The Law of God. For Study at Home and School" on p.500 (English version) writes:
"The Seventh Commandment forbids adultery, that is, unfaithfulness to one's spouse and all unlawful and impure love. God forbids a husband and a wife to break the bonds of mutual faith and love. Of the unmarried, God requires pure thoughts and desires, to be chaste in word and deed, in thought and desire. In order to do this it is necessary to avoid everything that could give rise to unclean feelings in the heart: obscenity, immodest and shameless songs and dances, suggestive plays, movies, and pictures, reading immoral books, drunkenness, etc. God's Word commands us to maintain our bodies in purity, because our body is a "member of the body of Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit". "Fornicators sin against their own body", they weaken the health of their body, inflict illness upon it and impair even its spiritual capability, especially imagination and memory".
Here it is necessary to remind that those violating 7th commandment before the communion must confess and repent. But, if violation is continual (as in living together) then they are deprived of communion.
6. Divine Origin of Commandments. That the commandments have a divine origin speaks the fact that they appeared to the ancient Jews 3,600 years ago, when people, in the moral sense, were at a very primitive level. Everywhere there was cruelty, blood revenge, slavery, life cost nothing, human sacrifices and the faith in the deity of the sun, animals, idols and the like. At that time people simply were not capable of arriving at such a high teaching, which already, for several millennia, remains authentic. Later, Jesus Christ deepened this teaching by His preaching about moral purity. For example He said that not only adultery, but even impure looks at a woman is a sin. In the Gospel His words are quoted as follows: "whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). This means that, as it was already said above, it is a sin not only to violate the commandments, but any act which leads to their violation is also a sin. Some of the ancient Jews could not accept the fact that their teaching required deepening and thought that Jesus Christ was destroying what was given to them by the Lord God. To this He answered "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17). In this way the ancient Jews who accepted this deepened teaching of Jesus Christ became the first Christians. Present-day Jews are the descendants of those who did not accept this teaching and they went a different way.
7. Conditions for a Healthy and Productive Life.
Engineers developed the automobile and it works well under specific conditions - let us say gasoline and oil must be as specified. When these conditions are satisfied the machine will work well and for a long time. If these conditions are disrupted, let us say that water gets into gasoline and the like then the machine will work but not as effectively and its working life will be short.
The first article of the Symbol of Faith (Creed) reads: "I believe in one God, the Father All-Mighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible". This means that the Lord God is the Creator of the whole world, visible and invisible, nature, animals and us. He Himself is the Creator and "Developer" of us all. So, He gave us God's Law and said that if we will live by it then our life will be normal and without disruptions. But if we will not follow this then certainly problems will develop.
8. Christian Teaching – the TRUTH. In all of God's Commandments there is great wisdom. People are not characterized by foresight and simply do not understood the consequences of their actions and behavior and therefore they violate them. This way we can have disruptions, difficulties and whole tragedies. Christian Teaching always went and goes ahead of science. It is correct and eternal for all times. As it was already said above, science depends on the human mind and therefore it is not constant and frequently changes its opinion. This way, people who have lived their entire life and obtained experience and wisdom also say that God's Law is obviously the most correct guide, signpost and compass for life of all people and in general for all of society.
9. Bonding of bodily, intellectual and spiritual Functions.
Love between a man and a woman is the most complicated process in man, which encompasses everything in him: his body and all his cells, psyche, reflexes, physiology, character, personality, world view, soul etc. A special bond is created between spouses, a bonding which we will call "bonding of bodily, intellectual and spiritual functions" or briefly "bonding".
To this "bonding" especially contributes the intimate life (physical love) of spouses.
This "Bonding" remains for the entire life, if everything goes according to God's plan.
This whole process is not yet understood by people, but almost everybody experienced it in their life.
At first it is correlated, and then one whole from two entities is formed. One spiritual organism from two bodies and two souls, one may say one common soul. Hence telepathy, the guessing of thoughts and wishes of each other and similarity in everything. This bonding is also seen in a constant attraction to each other. How deep is this process in a person is proven by the fact that people who live a long time in marriage begin to look alike, not only in their personalities and world view, but also physically!
During the "bonding" the habits towards each other are worked out, the ability to understand, to forgive and to generally function together, to struggle with difficulties, to keep each others burdens, to reconcile, not to pay attention to the bad, to support each other, to teach and the like.
With a constant change of lovers and "sexual partners" the capability of "bonding" with one person is gradually lost and the person is increasingly less and less capable of love and a shared life.
Here it is necessary to say that "bonding" can sometimes be a tragedy. This is when a person is not married, but loves and is "bonded" to a bad person, unstable, spiritually or mentally sick, addicted to sinful passions. May be he(she) is constantly offended, insulted, tormented or even beaten and he(she) cannot do anything since he(she) is "bonded" and continues to bear the suffering and "to love". Of course, if a person is in a marriage and on the top of this with children, then this becomes an extremely difficult situation.
10. Physical Love. Physical love is given to us by the Lord God for the creation of a new generation, the greatest joy – our children. Besides this intimate life of the young contributes to the "bonding" for the entire life. Especially in the first years of marriage when it is very difficult since very frequently completely different people begin to live together and immediately there appear many problems. In this critical time is necessary to have something special, which will help young people be together and not to tear up the marriage bonds. So therefore, in these first years of marriage, the role of peacemaker is assumed by the physical love given to us by God.
11. Sex before Marriage.
So, what happens when we do not take into account God's Plan and go against it? Say, a man or a woman start an intimate life before marriage? A "bonding" occurs in them, as described above, which later interferes with life and brings much grief and many problems.
If the young couple then decide to marry, they deprive themselves of peacemaking sex, since its novelty potential is already spent and they "already tried".
But if the young couple separate then immediately there appear many problems. The thing is that sex creates a need for intimate life in man, which if not satisfied creates many traumas for him. For normal gratification there must be a spouse, but in this case he(she) does not exist and the searches begin. A person no longer begins to search for himself(herself) a love, but a partner (lover) for the gratification of his(her) sexual "hunger". Very often young people think that they have found for themselves a true love, but this is a mistake, since "hunger" has darkened their mind (reason) and they do not see everything as it is.
Sex can be compared with a genie in a bottle. When he is inside then he does not bother anybody. If newlyweds release him then he serves them for their benefit. If he is let out outside of marriage, then he becomes a terrible curse, because he requires constant gratification. This is why it is obviously necessary to follow the wise teaching of God's Law and not to enter into intimate relations with people before marriage. In English there is an expression "to get involved", which indicates the emergence of completely unnecessary feelings and habits, but in our terms the whole "bonding" complex is affected.
12. The loss of the Potential to Love. A person cannot endlessly deeply love various people. Since love affects the whole person, then finally the potential of love is spent and love becomes less deep. Therefore, with a constant change of "sexual partners" the person becomes less and less capable of loving and a shared life.
13. Man by Nature is Monogamous.
The Lord God created person to have one spouse.
If a man builds his life in accordance with the way for which he was intended, then all goes well and without disruption.
But if this is done without taking into account God's Plan, then there will be difficulties, pain, tragedies, traumas and the like.
Taking into account the Lord God's intention it becomes clear that a man(women) by his(her) nature is monogamous ("one-woman man" and "one-man woman", однолюб). If man violates this characteristic, then he creates confusion and difficulties, and frequently whole tragedies. Everybody knows that "first love" is the strongest and remains for the whole life. There are even examples – sometimes stories appear in the newspapers – that two single, or widowed, or divorced people, already in years, finally find their "old first love" (old flame) and they marry.
Several decades ago, in the newspapers, a short news item indicated that psychologists making various surveys and other tests reached the conclusion that people can love only several times. The man once or twice, and women slightly more. (By the way this is a good example of how God's Law is ahead of science). This again proves that human beings are monogamous (the "lovers of only one-spouse", однолюбы) and when the "bonding" process was initiated it stays for the whole life. Also it becomes clear why the first love is the deepest and strongest and it stays forever. It appears that the person has a potential for love which, after the first love, is being lost. Certainly something remains, but that deep feeling is no more. Therefore, it is very important that this potential, this charge is not to be wasted foolishly.
14. Church Fathers on the Seventh Commandment.
Let us take a look at what is written on our subject in Chapter XV, of the textbook on Orthodox-Christian Morality by Hegumen Filaret titled "Summary of God's Law" (Harbin 1936).
[This book was written based on the book "Christian life" by Archpriest N. Voznesensky (later Bishop Dimitry), who was the father of Hegumen (игумен) Filaret (later the Metropolitan and First Hierarch of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). These books were used as textbooks in the upper grades of secondary schools abroad. Several generations of Russians were raised on them].
"Thus, we are speaking about the sin of fornication – in other words, about those sins of immorality and sexual misconduct which are, without any doubt, the most terrible sore, scourge and curse of contemporary mankind. It is difficult to even enumerate all those destructive consequences which follow this sin as its ever-present shadow. The loss of normal, pure Christian-like relations with a person of another sex and the soiling (pollution, contamination) of thought and imagination;... Let us not even speak of the specific diseases which frequently result from such a disreputable life... But the most fearsome, of course, is the dreadful judgement of Him, Who commanded to us purity and chastity of life – dreadful judgement, about which the Apostle said: 'fornicators and adulterers God WILL judge' (I Corinthians 6:9-10)..."
"But how is one to fight the temptation of this sin, the one who wants to preserve oneself and be pure and chaste (undefiled) in a Christian manner? The answer is simple: first of all – by cleanliness of thought and imagination. Frequently they say, that the sexual need acts in a man with such invincible strength, that it is impossible to resist it. - This is a lie! Here the matter is not in "need", but in depravity (corruption, perversion) and pleasure-seeking, when a person constantly soils himself in thoughts and wishes. Certainly, in this kind of person the natural sexual needs are raised (elevated) to an excessive degree, and inevitably leads him to sin. But a Christian, who is God-fearing and strict (undefiled) towards himself, will never allow that bad wishes and thoughts would control his mind and heart. But for this he, after calling for God's help in prayer and crossing oneself, fights such thoughts immediately when they appear, by effort of his will, he switches the mind and thought either to prayer or at least to any other not defiling subject. To excite (arouse) oneself with impure imagination means to morally corrupt oneself and to ruin oneself... And this is why, fighting with bad thoughts, a Christian must immediately and abruptly move away and distance himself from all that can cause these impure thoughts".
And now let us turn to our beloved father Holy Righteous John of Kronstadt and let us see how wisely, beautifully and with dignity he writes about this subject.
"Nothing is as heavily attacked by the devil, nothing so abused, insulted, or put down as much as the childbearing organs of a man and a woman; for this purpose there exists in the human language special, bad (dirty), put down, not to be printed words (names), with which these organs are debased; for this purpose there are all kinds of bad, sly, unclean thoughts, wishes, insolent, sly and unclean looks; for this purpose there are novels and all kinds of light reading; for this purpose there are tempting pictures and statues representing naked women; for this purpose there are the theater, ballet; for this purpose there are dances with low-cut fronts".
"Oh, holiest law of childbearing, showing immeasurable wisdom and God's kindness! How worthy you are and deserving of respect, wonder, gratefulness and strict behavior toward yourself! And in the meantime the enemy, having seduced humanity in the beginning through the eating of the forbidden fruit, increases (develops) from a very young age, nearly from infancy, to seduce us precisely by means of the childbearing organs and how many unfortunates, who partook of this sin from an early age, suffer through their entire life, perish from it".
Let us repeat from the above, that some spiritual fathers think that, since after the 40th year the child-bearing functions cease, sexual life should also no longer be needed. [29дек10]
Conclusion. Intimate married life is a great gift to man from the Lord God. From it we have children and grandchildren; from it, it is more peaceful in the family. Abuse of this gift leads to many tragedies. Thinking over the 7th commandment and the consequences of its violation, it becomes clear that physical love, of course, must remain within the family
[П1] Эта работа была написана так как в ней была большая нужда и нигде нельзя было найти статью в которой кратко, ясно, просто и доступно объясняется православное учение о Седьмой Заповеди.
Литература на наших эл. стр.
• Moral Corruption of the Roman Empire (Professor Philip Schaff, 1858) (ДД-06.15ар)
• Teaching of Lord Jesus Christ (ДД-21.4а)
• Учение о христ. жизни в вопросах и ответах (по Слободскому) (ЦГ2-2)
• Christian faith and life (Slobodskoy) (ДД-35а)
• The Law of God. For Study at Home and School (Slobodskoy) (ДД-55ра)
• Christian Morality (per Met. Filaret, 2004) (ДД-64.5а)
• Девство, Брак или "свободная любовь"...- Какой выбрать путь? http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/russian/devstvo_brak_blud.htm
• Вавилонская печь. О грехе блуда http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/russian/vavilonskaia_pech_r.htm
• К.В.Зорин. Вино блуда (Зорин) http://www.wco.ru/biblio/books/zorin1/Main.htm
• Bible KJV Bible KJV