SWM 040 – What happens to our souls when we have sex?

Is there an interaction of souls when we have sex?  Is sex an act of worship to God, or Satan?  Should we pray during sex? These are all things that came up from a single question from our Have A Question page recently.

Rather than lump it with all the other questions, I thought I’d spend some time digging into this, because I think these are issues that a lot of Christians are confused about.

Here’s the question, and then I’ll dig into it:

What do you think of the claim that when you have sex within marriage, it’s an act of worship to God, but when you have sex outside of marriage, it’s an act of worship to Satan? That either way, it’s an act of worship to One or the other? (Just read this on another website.)

Also, what’s your belief about what’s happening spiritually during sex? Obviously two bodies are becoming one flesh; scripture makes this pretty clear. What about souls? What about spirits? (My understanding is that the soul = the mind/personality and the spirit = the eternal part of every person. But some people use the terms soul and spirit interchangeably.) Are souls/spirits communing together during sex? Are souls/spirits mingling together during sex? Do souls/spirits become one for a time during sex, or is that even a biblical concept, since it says, “one flesh,” and not, “one spirit/soul”? (It sounds kind of like Eastern philosophy.) And where is God in the midst of all this? Yes, it is a mystery, and I understand that marriage/intimacy is a picture of Christ’s love for His church. But I wonder if my (and others’) understanding could be more complete.

Also, if both the husband and wife are believers, and we both have the mind (soul? Spirit?) of Christ (1 Cor. 2), and the Spirit of Christ [the Holy Spirit], is something different happening during sex between believers? For instance, communion with one another’s spirit, facilitated by the Holy Spirit?

Another somewhat related question– should Christians pray during sex? Not before. Not after. During. (?) If a married couple is wanting to become as intimate as possible, and the two best things to do to increase intimacy are praying together and having sex together, then should these (routinely?) be combined? What about praise or worship during sex? I’ve heard of people singing the doxology right after orgasm. At first I thought this sounded a little unorthodox (actually I’ll admit it sounded downright crazy). But this could just be because of my upbringing, and the idea’s starting to grow on me. Thoughts?

Anonymous reader

So, I see three main topics here:

  1. Is sex an act of worship?
  2. What are souls, and what happens to them when you have sex?
  3. Should you pray during sex?

Let’s get started.

Is sex an act of worship?

What do you think of the claim that when you have sex within marriage, it’s an act of worship to God, but when you have sex outside of marriage, it’s an act of worship to Satan? That either way, it’s an act of worship to One or the other? (Just read this on another website.)

Anonymous reader

We kicked this around in our supporters forum, and many said the same thing:

Everything we do is an act of worship.  We are either giving worship to God, or to Satan, knowingly or unknowingly.  I happen to agree with this.  That’s why I get very frustrated when people say doctrine doesn’t matter.  It matters, because in everything we do, we are either drawing closer to God, or away from Him.

That said, I don’t think it’s as simple a distinction of “Sex inside marriage is worship of God and sex outside of marriage is worship of Satan.”  Frankly, I’m not sure with our sinful nature that we can ever have a “pure” worship of God situation.  I think it’s probably always tainted by sin.

I do agree that we have more potential to have sex be worshipful to God in marriage than outside, and I believe that sex outside of marriage (though “marriage” is difficult to define) is against God’s will.  But, I think even in those situations, there are those who are being self-sacrificing, loving and caring, which are godly attributes.  Even if they don’t realize they’re reflecting God in those situations, I’d argue those are partially honouring to God, even while they dishonour Him by their action.

In the same way, we can have “godly” sex within marriage, but be focused on our selfish desires rather than sharing love, or having sex out of guilt rather than out of love for our spouse.  In those ways, we honour a split from God rather than worshipping God.

So, I think we have a lot of variations of grey rather than a clear black & white.  I would imagine that’s a frustrating response for many.  It’s frustrating for me.  I tend to be very black & white in my theology.  But sin is one of those where we all sin, almost all the time (if not all the time).  If there’s any black and white about it, it’s all black.

That said, I think being cognisant of “who is this worshipping” is a great idea.  We should be more focused on “does this honour God or not”.  To that end, I don’t want people thinking “oh, well I’m married, so I don’t need to think about it anymore”, or that all married sex is godly.

What are souls, and what happens to them when you have sex?

Christianity is split all over the map on this, however I think most of it has been heavily influenced by society and the media rather than the Bible.  It’s been going on for centuries, so much so, that most people can’t tell you why they believe what they believe.  They don’t know where they learned it, or where it came from.  

For example, many Christians believe in soul-mates, for which there is absolutely no biblical evidence.  The concept of soul-mates comes from one of Plato’s stories called The Symposium.  It’s actually a story within that story where Plato tells of humans being created by the gods with four arms, four legs and two heads.  These humans were so powerful, the gods were scared they would take over, so the gods split the humans in half, male and female, so that the humans would spend their entire lives searching for their soul-mate so they can feel whole again rather than fighting the gods.

Similarly the idea of an immortal soul comes from mythology and has no biblical basis.  The Bible is very clear that:

  1. Immortality belongs only to God (1 Timothy 6:15-16) and is conferred only at the second coming to believers (1 Corinthians 15:54).
  2. The dead know nothing, see nothing, don’t love (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6).
  3. Noone has been to heaven yet except Jesus (John 6:46).
  4. The dead in Christ (believers) will remain dead until Christ comes again and they are raised as part of the first resurrection (Daniel 12:2, Revelation 20:4-6).

This of course causes a lot of problems with related-doctrines about the soul.  Some churches teach, as the questioner states, that the soul is separate from the body.  The Bible teaches something different.  It teaches that soul is a combination of the body and the spirit of God.  

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Genesis 2:7

In other words, Soul = Body + Breath of Life (spirit of God)

If your body dies, so goes your soul.  It will only exist again upon the second coming when the breath of God enters your renewed body.

But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.

Daniel 12:13

Daniel was very clear about this theology.  He knew exactly what was going to happen when people died:

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt.

Daniel 12:2

While dead, nothing happens.  Your soul isn’t off traveling to heaven, because Jesus said no one has been to heaven.  It’s not an angel, those are separate created beings.  It’s not looking out for its loved ones.  When Lazarus died, Jesus said that he slept.

He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.

John 11:11b

Lazarus wasn’t singing praises in heaven.

For in death there is no remembrance of You; In the grave who will give You thanks?

Psalm 6:5

He wasn’t thinking.

Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish.

Psalm 146:3-4

He wasn’t remembering his life here on earth.

For the living know that they will die; But the dead know nothing, And they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten.

Ecclesiastes 9:5

He was dead.  Waiting to be “woken up” as all dead people are.  

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

And you know people don’t understand it, because, frankly, usually pastors don’t understand it.  If you ever go to a funeral, pay close attention to the pastor. Most of them betray the fact that they have no idea what’s happening to the recently deceased.  

They will tell you they are resting in the grave waiting to be resurrected (true), that they’re in heaven now (false), that they are always with us (false), or a host of other things.  By the time their sermon is done, they’ve split this poor soul 3 or 4 ways and have it in different places.  

It’s not that they are intending to be confusing, they’re just reading the typical funeral verses without actually paying attention to what they’re saying.  They’re just trying to comfort the families, which I get, but let’s not teach them bad theology in the process.

Our comfort should come from the Bible, in knowing that our loved ones who follow God are resting from all their plans and struggles in this life, and the next thing they will know is the resurrection.  Christ will return, they will be raised, and will put on immortality.

Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

1 Corinthians 15:51-54

After the wicked are destroyed (after the second resurrection), there will be no more death ever, for anyone, no pain, no sorrow.

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

Revelation 21:4

Now, I feel I should address one common rebuttal to this: What about the thief on the cross?  For those who don’t know, Jesus was crucified with two thieves.  One taunted Jesus along with the crowds, and one defended Jesus.  According to the King James Version:

And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Luke 23:43 KJV

But this causes a problem later on when a few days later after His resurrection, Jesus says to Mary

Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father;

John 20:17

How is it that Jesus hadn’t been to heaven yet if he promised the thief He would meet him there days ago?  

Here’s what I think happened.  I think the translator injected his own beliefs into his translation.  That or there’s a typo.  You see, Greek doesn’t have commas.  If you move one comma a word to the right, suddenly this verse aligns with scripture.  As the Concordant Literal Version translates this verse:

And Jesus said to him, “Verily, to you am I saying today, with Me shall you be in paradise.

Luke 23:43 CLV

So, then we have not changed scripture, arguably we’ve corrected a bad translation, and at the same time realigned the Bible with itself including Jesus’ own words days later.

Hopefully that clears up some misunderstandings about what a soul is.  A soul is the body plus the spirit/breath of God.  It’s not separate, it’s not immortal, it doesn’t survive past death.  You don’t have a soul, you are a soul.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the question:

Also, what’s your belief about what’s happening spiritually during sex? Obviously two bodies are becoming one flesh; scripture makes this pretty clear. What about souls?

What about spirits? (My understanding is that the soul = the mind/personality and the spirit = the eternal part of every person. But some people use the terms soul and spirit interchangeably.) Are souls/spirits communing together during sex? Are souls/spirits mingling together during sex? Do souls/spirits become one for a time during sex, or is that even a biblical concept, since it says, “one flesh,” and not, “one spirit/soul”? (It sounds kind of like Eastern philosophy.) And where is God in the midst of all this? Yes, it is a mystery, and I understand that marriage/intimacy is a picture of Christ’s love for His church. But I wonder if my (and others’) understanding could be more complete.

Also, if both the husband and wife are believers, and we both have the mind (soul? Spirit?) of Christ (1 Cor. 2), and the Spirit of Christ [the Holy Spirit], is something different happening during sex between believers? For instance, communion with one another’s spirit, facilitated by the Holy Spirit?

Anonymous reader

If we go with the understanding that the soul is your body and the breath/spirit of God, then this becomes really a non-issue.  What’s happening to the soul?  The same thing that’s happening to your body, because they’re fairly synonymous.  What’s happening to the spirit?  Same thing.  It’s a part of you, you can’t really separate it, if you did, then you’d cease to be a soul and you’d be dead.

Do souls/spirits become one for a time during sex?  Only in the same way we say two bodies become one.  

Does something happen differently between believers and non-believers? I don’t see how.  Whether they believe or not, they still are souls, with bodies and the spirit/breath of God.

Should you pray during sex?

Another somewhat related question– should Christians pray during sex? Not before. Not after. During. (?) If a married couple is wanting to become as intimate as possible, and the two best things to do to increase intimacy are praying together and having sex together, then should these (routinely?) be combined? What about praise or worship during sex? I’ve heard of people singing the doxology right after orgasm. At first I thought this sounded a little unorthodox (actually I’ll admit it sounded downright crazy). But this could just be because of my upbringing, and the idea’s starting to grow on me. Thoughts?

Anonymous reader

My personal thought is that we shouldn’t be afraid to pray during sex, but we shouldn’t feel compelled to, except in the sense that we should pray unceasingly.  That is, our life should be living prayer.

I wrote in our supporters forum this week when discussing this question:

I’ve definitely prayed during sex. Usually something like “Please God, let her have an orgasm soon!” typically when I can tell she’s getting frustrated and I’m getting tired.

Jay Dee – Supporter’s Forum

But if you’re worrying constantly that you should be praying during sex, then you’re unlikely to have a productive prayer, or a productive sex life.  I think there are times when we should choose to put our focus on one thing or another.

To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.


Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

It doesn’t say a time to pray, but I’m told “a time to cast away stones” is a euphemism for having sex.

But my wife and I have definitely said a prayer of thanks for sex and orgasms afterwards before.

So, hopefully that answers your questions.  I’m sure some of you are going to have some questions raising from this.  I’m more than willing to answer any you might have.  You can contact me here or write in the comments below. If you have a question you’d like to have answered, you can ask it anonymous on our Have A Question page.

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