Libraries could be filled with books that deal with the difficult question of human suffering, difficult especially for those who believe in a loving and all-powerful God (for the atheist, suffering is merely part of what it means to live in a godless and meaningless universe and thus doesn’t present the difficult philosophical questions it does for Christians). However, without an understanding of the great controversy between Christ and Satan, most of those books don’t make much headway (even with an understanding of the cosmic drama, the question of suffering is, indeed, difficult enough).1
And though the question of human suffering touches all aspects of life, we mustn’t forget life’s pleasures either. Why does food taste so good? Why so many taste buds perfectly matched to sense the many appealing flavors in food? Why are there so many shades of colors? Why is the human eye able to connect with and revel in all the vivid colors? Why the joy of married sexuality? Reproduction certainly doesn’t require the kind of pleasure that sexual activity offers. Some forms of life simply split in half to reproduce. Imagine if that were what we went through in order to reproduce. Even now, humans occasionally use methods of artificial insemination that don’t involve pleasure. Why do we have the exact nerve endings needed to enjoy sensory pleasure, even sexual pleasure?
The answer to all these questions is the same: it’s because God has made us that way. God created humans as physical beings who are to enjoy physical pleasures.
No book of the Bible deals with this topic better than the Songs of Songs. Why is that book in the Bible? It is a book of sheer romantic pleasure. All the sexual pleasures included in the book have no connection to child-bearing. The book explicitly reminds us of the specific pleasures God designed and intended for husbands and wives. The effervescent springs of romantic love can be traced to their source in God.
Skim through the Song of Solomon. What does the book say to you about how God views the pleasures of the flesh in the right context?
Of course, compared to many of the crude and licentious practices of our surrounding culture, Christian ideas about sex, marriage, and physical pleasures in general can seem outdated, prudish, and restrictive. But these principles come from the One who created our physical pleasures, the One who knows how they can best be enjoyed. Who alone but God can even begin to assess the pain and suffering caused by abuse of these wonderful gifts? Who hasn’t been impacted one way or another by their abuse?