Q. Why do you think that God did not spell out “no sex outside of marriage” as one of His 10 commandments? Is it implied in one of the other commandments such as adultery or coveting? So many of society’s problems arise from this activity i.e. unwanted pregnancy, abortion, disease & emotional trauma. So many abandoned relationships result in harassment and even murder. Just looking for your thoughts on this topic.
A. Fornication (illicit sex) is mentioned 36 times in the bible, but only four of those were in the Old Testament and all were symbolic, referring to the Jews consorting with false gods or the ways of the gentiles. All of its literal uses appear in the New Testament. The Greek word is porneia, from which we get pornography, and by definition included all forms of illicit sexual intercourse from sex outside of marriage to homosexuality to bestiality.
Adultery appears 31 times and when used literally always refers to a man having a sexual relationship with another man’s wife. The penalty was death for both. Leviticus 18 lists a number of prohibited sexual relationships including homosexuality and bestiality but does not mention sex outside of marriage. (I’ve often wondered why Leviticus 18 didn’t simply say, “Do not have sex with anyone but your spouse.”)
But there were several Biblical prohibitions against sex before marriage. For instance a woman unable to provide proof of her virginity on her wedding night could be put to death (Deut. 22:20-21) and if an unmarried couple was caught having sex the man had to pay the girl’s father 50 shekels and marry her. (Deut. 22:28-29)
Many believe that pre-marital sex and all of its attendant problems is really one of the symptoms of our general violation of God’s laws and if as a society we were obedient to God in other ways, the incidence of these symptoms would decline sharply. In other words, like homosexuality it may be a judgment visited upon us for our other sins. (Romans 1:18-32) Perhaps that’s why there’s no direct prohibition against it.