I often wonder what happened if the fall never happened. What would our world be like if Adam and Eve trusted God in the garden? What would this original goodness have been like?
It seems unimaginable! Genesis tells us that Adam and Eve were in the garden and naked without shame (2:25).
Unfortunately the fall did happen and the original image of God in us was distorted. Adam and Eve make loin cloths to cover themselves (3:7). After this, relationships between the sexes are weakened and we use each other for gratification.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Men and women are made for love not for lust. Love has become twisted and distorted.
In our own day, this distortion of love and twisting of the goodness of the human person continues in many ways, one of which is pornography. On some level, we know that pornography is a problem, but a few sobering statistics might help to show its prevalence.
• 79 percent of men between 18-30 view pornography monthly
• 49 percent of men between 50-68 view pornography monthly
• 10 percent of American adults admit to having a sexual addiction
• 72 percent of pornography website visitors are men and 28% are women (it isn’t just a male issue)
The average age of a child’s first exposure is 8-9 years old
• 80 percent of 15-17 year olds have had multiple exposures to hard-core pornography
• 90 percent of high schoolers admit to viewing pornography at least monthly
The latest neuroscience shows that pornography functions like an addictive substance. Physically, the body can become chemically dependent on porn and crave it. Emotionally, it can be used to alleviate deep pain.
For individuals shows them that women exist solely for sexual pleasure and that women must look and act like a porn star to be worthy of love. It can lead to severe loneliness, depression, social anxiety, and decreased confidence.
In a marriage pornography is similar to cheating on a spouse. Many women experience symptoms similar to severe trauma. Pornography encourages selfishness, prevents communication and marital intimacy. Pornography plays a serious role in 56% of all divorces.
However, there is always hope. Jesus Christ says, “In the world, you have trouble, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). The Son of God became man to enter into the mess of our lives and offer us redemption. He became incarnate, died, and rose from the dead to take us back to the garden, and restore the image of God within us.
There are lots of good resources available. There are groups like Sex Addicts Anonymous. Books like Integrity Restored by Peter Kleponis and everything written by Matt Fradd are helpful. A couple great websites are Integrityrestored.com and fightthenewdrug.com. Programs like Fortify and Pure Life Ministries have great results.
Jesus Christ comes to heal our wounds. He wants to offer us health and salvation. He wants to protect our children from a distortion of love and a distorted self-image. May his love permeate our families and community.
The writer is the parochial vicar for the Petersburg Parish Region, which includes St. Joseph, Wapakoneta, Immamaculate Conception, Botkins, St. Lawrence Church, Rhine, and St. John, Freyburg.