by Stan Hudson who served as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor for 38 years and is currently the Director of Creation Ministries at the North Pacific Union Conference
Hollywood generally makes their movies using tried and true formulas, meant to draw the masses in for a look. One of the most popular formulas currently is to depict powerful women fighting against various evils, some sociological, some more menacing physically. Often having super powers, women are shown to be able to kick bad guys into next week. But an apparently necessary part of that super image is to be super gorgeous. Gal Gadot, for example.
It’s that kind of power I want to talk about. It’s something God designed. When Adam first saw Eve, according to Professor of Theology Dr. Jo Ann Davidson, his first word (lost in English translations) was “Wow!” He liked what he saw.
With a fairly normal curiosity, though in my fallen nature, I remember the first time I saw a picture of a naked woman. My recently-divorced dad was living with a couple of buddies in a bachelor apartment; as a nine year old I was exploring their digs when I saw a magazine called “Playboy.” I had a strong sense that I shouldn’t open the pages, but I did anyway…. Fast forward to my college freshman days and a hike with friends up a canyon near Palm Springs. There not far from Doug Batchelor’s famous cave were a pair of free-spirited hippies cavorting in a swimming hole. The couple sported their birthday suits.
Images. Images that are powerful, hard to erase. And there is someone who knows their power and wants desperately to use that power to hurt God’s precious things. Satan uses images to entrap people, especially men, to look at things that we shouldn’t.
When I was pastoring my first church we were in a major building project. One day about five of us men, including my head elder, were discussing things in the center of the unfinished sanctuary. In came the head elder’s daughter, maybe 20 years old, with a message for her dad. She was a beautiful young lady, tall, blond and…she had on cut-off shorts. Our group of men stopped talking and were clearly discomfited (look it up!). I had to stifle a laugh at this exhibition of a woman’s power.
There is something mysterious and sacred, something hard to quite grasp in all of this. Solomon said that a “man with a maiden” (Proverbs 30:19) was one of the things he couldn’t quite figure out. And this from a man who had literally hundreds of women!
We all know about David and Bathsheba. Good men can look where they shouldn’t look. David’s sin started with a look. It always does.
On today’s internet nothing is difficult to find. How easy it is to see an advertisement or some kind of story that features a beautiful woman that tempts us to click into more images that entangle us. I have wished that God would grant us a delete button in our brains, but He allows us to live with the consequences, with the hope that we will learn to direct our gaze elsewhere.
But since there IS power there, God has very specific instructions as to how this power can safely be enjoyed. And that you all know is in an active, monogamous and loving relationship, where both parties are united in a sacred commitment to each other. Any images that draws us away from that or builds false expectations about sex, for example, will lead us down unhealthy paths. And those paths can lead to destruction of so many beautiful things.