“When individuals have sexual relationships, they have involved more than a pleasant physical sensation and emotional response. Because of oxytocin in the woman’s brain and vasopressin in the man’s brain, connectedness and bonding do occur.”
(Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children, by Joe McIlhaney and Freda Bush, 2008, p. 105
16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. (1 Corinthians 6, King James Version)
Prescience is evident when information which conforms with modern science is found in a document written at a time when no one had the scientific knowledge to have documented such information.
So, Paul, writing in the 1st century AD could have had no clue (despite his education) about the nature of every sex act which we moderns are only now becoming aware of through the developing field of neuroscience (brain studies), yet his notion of a kind of fusion or joining surrounding every sex act finds support from neuroscience!
The authors of Hooked highlight the role of three neurochemicals (brain hormones) that are generated during sexual activity; dopamine, oxytocin and vasopressin. Dopamine is a ‘feel good reward hormone’ and “sex is one of the strongest generators of the dopamine reward” and one “can get hooked on it [sex]” (p.35) Oxytocin, which is “critically important to healthy sex and bonding, though present in both genders, is primarily active in females.” (p. 35)
Even a 20-second hug, the authors claim, triggers the release of oxytocin “sealing the bond between the huggers and triggering the brain’s trust circuits”. So, they advise and warn “don’t let a guy hug you unless you plan to trust him” (p.39-40).
Vasopressin is the neurochemical responsible for the male brain response “related to relationships—bonding of the man to his mate…” (p. 41).
Paul tacitly suggests that the element of prescience extends back to Gen 2:24 which he cites, and which was written approximately 1500 BC. That Old Testament text reads in the King James Version “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
Have I been assuming too much based on faulty English translations? Possible but not probable because I have access to the original Greek and Hebrew texts. First though let’s see how a couple of the more respected translations render Gen. 2:24 and 1 Cor. 6:16.
First, Gen. 2:24 from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) and the New International Version (NIV)
24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. (NASB)
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. (NIV)
Now to the text in Paul, 1 Cor.6:16 from these same two versions.
16 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.” (NASB)
16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” (NIV)
Does the “joined/united to his wife” and becoming one flesh of the Genesis text really suggest a result of sexual intercourse? The revered English Baptist commentator and biblical scholar John Gill says of the ‘cleaving to one’s wife’ “they are, as it were, glued together, and make but one, which is more fully and strongly expressed in the next clause: and they shall be one flesh…” (online commentary)
Similarly, Paul’s “joins himself to a prostitute or unites himself with a prostitute” suggests a result of sexual intercourse, according to Gill.
So, something mysterious but real happens when sexual intercourse takes place. The two persons (married or not) are bonded, joined, united together and brain science confirms this.
It makes sense too that our marriage laws regard sexual intercourse as necessary to consummate a marriage!
So then, since neither Moses nor Paul knew brain science, omniscience (from God) is somehow behind their writings on the deeper nature of sexual intercourse.
Rev. Clinton Chisholm is the author of the recently published book A Controversial Clergyman. His online course on critical thinking based on the book will soon be available.