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Dear Son, Quit Porn. She Is Royalty.

by Ray Ortlund, contributed by our Friends at Crossway
Time: 10 Minutes
1

She Is Royalty

Dear Son,

She matters too. She matters more than you know. That girl, that woman, the one on the porn site—she isn’t just pixels on a screen. She’s real. Somewhere, right now, she’s out there trying to get by. I’ll bet you any amount of money she didn’t volunteer for porn. She was degraded and abused into it. And that precious woman has hopes and feelings and longings and sorrows, just like you. She is as human as you are, as worthy as you are, as royal as you are.

In this letter, I have some hard things to say. But here’s where I’m going. I’m asking you to change how you see that woman on the porn site. I’m not asking you to make anything up. I’m only asking you to accept the way God sees her. He is on her side. He is indignant at the ways she is objectified, monetized, and mistreated.

Which leads me to ask you for something else. I’m also asking you to change how you treat her. I want you to stop abusing her and start defending her. You’re doing one or the other. More on that in a minute. But for now, just hold your emotional horses long enough to let me make my case.

The King of the universe created you to stand as royalty, advancing his kingdom. Let that awareness settle on you. Here’s your next step: she is royalty too. God created every woman with high dignity and immeasurable worth. Whether or not any woman herself believes it, this is still true: God created her for majesty. God is why she matters. And no one has the right to degrade her, since God has dignified her. Whoever a woman is in his sight—that’s what she’s really worth.

Since, to God above, every woman is regal, cherished, worthy, it’s about time we men demand of ourselves, and of all this world, that she be treated right.

She Deserves the Same Respect as You

Let’s think back to that Scripture I quoted in my first letter. Remember the last line in that verse?

God created man in his own image;
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27 ESV)

Back when the Bible was written, nobody else was saying that. It’s not as though human thought was evolving upward, inching its way toward the equal royalty of the sexes. It’s not as though the ancient philosophers and gurus got the ball into the red zone, and then the Bible finally scored the touchdown. No, Genesis 1:27 surprised everyone. It was God speaking into our abusive world with a bold claim: a woman deserves all the respect any man deserves, because she is created in God’s image as much as any man.

In the ancient world, people came up with their own versions of how we all got going. The Babylonians, for example, believed the human race was the brainstorm of the god Marduk:

Blood I will mass and cause bones to be.
I will establish a savage, “man” shall be his name. Verily, savage-man I will create.[1]

The Babylonians saw themselves as savages, and they acted like it. Their creation story didn’t even mention “male and female.” But the Bible celebrates “male and female.” Genesis 1:27 is the first poetry in all the Bible, because God rejoices over us men and women. He doesn’t call us savage. He happily calls us royal—both man and woman equally.

She Is Worthy of Your Celebration And Cherishing

But there’s no woman like Eve in the Babylonian account of creation. The first woman in all of history, and not even an honorable mention! But the Bible? Adam’s heart leaps with joyous love at first sight.

This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man. (Genesis 2:23 ESV)

These are the very first recorded human words, and again they are poetry. Adam welcomes Eve with relief: “This at last. . . .” He identifies with her, personally, closely, as “bone of my bones / and flesh of my flesh.” He isn’t threatened by her equality. It’s the very thing that thrills him. He just finished naming the animals there in the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:19–20). And lions and tigers have their place, I suppose. But only Eve has Adam’s heart. She isn’t property. She isn’t a prize of war. She isn’t even—not yet, anyway—the mother of his children. In and of herself, by God’s design, she is worthy to be celebrated. And Adam loves it this way—and embraces her.

We call this amazing human arrangement “marriage.” It’s the only place where a man and woman should experience each other sexually. It’s where sex becomes the win-win God wants it to be: “And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25 ESV). There they are, Adam and Eve, married by God, together in the garden of Eden, naked and sexual and both completely happy. And in that place of permanent belonging and gentle acceptance, the woman isn’t the only one naked and vulnerable. She isn’t exploited, shared, or sold. They are both naked, and not ashamed or degraded or used, but comfortably at ease, fully accepted, tenderly embraced.[2]

A man and a woman can still experience this today, under the blessing of God, within marriage. Through their wedding vows, they give up their solo futures and commit fully to one another. On their wedding day, they step inside the circle of the “one flesh” union of marriage (Genesis 2:24 ESV), where they share everything.

Everything.

Other healthy relationships limit how far things will go. What’s unique about marriage is the unlimited openness a man and a woman joyfully sign up for. It’s why marriage is sealed, celebrated, and refreshed through sex. Marriage is all about total sharing, total belonging—like real sex. Inside the circle where only a husband and wife fully belong, they cultivate safety and honor, so that sex is unashamedly joyful for both of them equally. When the minister concludes their wedding ceremony with “You may now kiss the bride,” he is saying, “Let the sex, as God meant it to be, finally begin!” Are the man and woman still vulnerable? More than ever. But for that very reason, their intimacy is all the more wondrous.

She Is Precious in God’s Sight

Now let’s fast-forward to the end of the Bible, where we finally see the point of it all. The risen Jesus will not merely upgrade this existence we’re stuck with now. He will lift us into “a new heaven and a new earth,” where we will “reign forever and ever” (Revelation 21:1; 22:5 ESV). In that sparkling new universe, every redeemed woman will stand in glory as a Queen of the New Creation. No matter how she has sinned in this world, no matter how she has been sinned against, she will be radiantly royal forever and ever.

In my mind’s eye, I see her there even now. She stands like Lady Galadriel, queen of the elves in The Lord of the Rings. In Tolkien’s vision, Galadriel is breathtaking with beauty, knowledge, and power. She speaks gravely, wisely, and courteously. She is mighty, fair, and fearless. When the Fellowship of the Ring must leave Lothlórien, Galadriel asks Gimli the dwarf what parting gift he would like to receive from her: “‘None, Lady,’ answered Gimli. ‘It is enough for me to have seen the Lady of the Galadhrim, and to have heard her gentle words.’”

Our world today is blind to the glories of true manhood and true womanhood. But the Bible teaches us men to respect every woman as a potential Galadriel, whose glory can, by God’s grace, leave us awestruck forever.

The porn industry sure doesn’t teach us to see women that way. That vile world is oblivious to a woman’s actual glory. But now we know, thanks to the Bible, that every woman was created for a destiny so magnificent that the story of it cannot be fully told in all the ages of time. God’s heart for her, God’s purpose for her, can only be revealed in the eternal new creation. All this world, even at its best, is too small for her, too unworthy of her. And every woman—however much she suffers in this world—if she entrusts her future to the care of the risen King, he will tell her true story in the next world forever.

Footnotes
1 “The Creation Epic,” trans. E. A. Speiser, in Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, ed. James B. Pritchard (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1969), 68.
2 This rhetorical device (“not ashamed”) is called antenantiosis, which uses the negative “in order to express the positive in a very high degree,” according to F. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1971), 160. For example, if I say, “He is no fool,” I mean, “He is very wise.” I thank Dr. Bruce Waltke for pointing this out to me.
Content taken from The Death of Porn by Ray Ortlund, ©2021. Used by permission of Crossway.
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