Before the Protestant Reformation (1517), the church generally regarded sex, even sex within marriage as a necessary evil. Some of the Church fathers were often quoted to support this position. Ryken and Hughes say, “Tertullian regarded the extinction of the human race as preferable to procreation. Ambrose said that married couples ought to be ashamed of their sexuality. Augustine was willing to admit that intercourse might be lawful but taught that sexual passion was always a sin. Many priests counseled couples to abstain from sex altogether. The Catholic church gradually began to prohibit sex on certain holy days, so that by the time of Martin Luther, the list had grown to 183 days a year.” Thank God for the reformation. With its cry of “Sola Scriptura” (The Bible as the only authority), it began to restore the God ordained biblical view of the physical acts of lovemaking within marriage.

The Song of Songs (Canticles or Song of Solomon) is unique. I would argue with many others that it’s not simply an allegory or a drama or a personal diary of Solomon’s experiences. One writer says, “The lover and the beloved are just ordinary people.” That’s encouraging. The Song is about us, about every husband and wife. It can speak to us, and in doing so make a dramatic difference in our lives. It truly is an entire book in the Bible that is completely devoted to the celebration of romance and sexual love with marriage. The same commentator also says, “It comes to us in this world of sin, where lust and passion are on every hand, where fierce temptations assail us and try to turn us aside from the God-given standard of marriage. And it reminds us, in particularly beautiful fashion, how pure and noble true love is.”

In the Song of Songs we read about the passion that the two newlyweds have for each other. She says, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine…” (1:2). He says, “Your lips drop sweetness as the honeycomb, my bride; milk and honey are under your tongue” (Song 4:10-11). There is nothing vile, disgusting, or inappropriate in the language of love as expressed in this book. It’s sensual but not pornographic. It presents God’s blessings upon the normal sexual expressions between a man and a woman. God could have chosen any way for mankind to reproduce. Woman could drop seeds where man would come by later and fertilize, like fish. We could simply reproduce like the amoeba whose simple cells just split to form another cell. We could be like flowers which are pollinated by insects. But to our great delight and pleasure God created the act of physical union between a man and a woman!