Knowledgebase: Bible Questions
Posted on 10 May 2012 11:39 AM
Is masturbation a sin?
The act of masturbation is lust. In fact, it is fornication with self. It is not motivated by a desire to become emotionally close; it is not motivated by love for another. It is simply carnal self-gratification. And "blanking" one's mind from what he or she is doing is attempted deliberate avoidance of responsibility, which reasoning suits Satan just fine. It is self-serving, willful delusion that by not thinking about something, we aren't guilty of what we are at that moment doing. Not true, in God's eyes. Our intention would be to masturbate, so not thinking about it when we are doing it would still be the carrying out of a wrong intention. Furthermore, blood flow to "harden" the penis must occur for masturbation to occur, and that stimulus comes directly and only from the brain. Therefore, the brain is involved at some point, no matter if denial is present. And even further, if one's mind stays blank during the act, so that one is unaware of what one is doing--- what's the point? Let's be realistic-- and honest, here.
This topic is an important one. Ellen White wrote very plainly on the matter, calling it a vice and a sin: "I saw that he was deceived in regard to himself, that he was not in favor with God. He had practiced self-abuse until he was a mere wreck of humanity. This vice was shown me as an abomination in the sight of God. No matter how high a person's profession, those who are willing to be employed in gratifying the lust of the flesh, cannot be Christians. As servants of Christ, their employment, and meditations, and pleasure, should consist in things more excellent." An Appeal to Mothers [ApM], 25.
Self-abuse is practiced by both sexes, to their detriment: "Females possess less vital force than the other sex, and are deprived very much of the bracing, invigorating air, by their in-doors life. The results of self-abuse in them is seen in various diseases, such as catarrh, dropsy, headache, loss of memory and sight, great weakness in the back and loins, affections of the spine, the head often decays inwardly. Cancerous humor, which would lay dormant in the system their life-time, is inflamed, and commences its eating, destructive work. The mind is often utterly ruined, and insanity takes place." ApM 27.
"Youth and children of both sexes engage in moral pollution and practice this disgusting, soul-and-body- destroying vice. Many professed Christians are so benumbed by the same practice that their moral sensibilities cannot be aroused to understand that it is sin, and that if continued its sure results will be utter shipwreck of body and mind. Man, the noblest being upon the earth, formed in the image of God, transforms himself into a beast! He makes himself gross and corrupt. Every Christian will have to learn to restrain his passions and be controlled by principle. Unless he does this, he is unworthy of the Christian name." CG 441.2
Masturbation is submission to our animal propensities, which unfits us for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. What greater danger could we be in? "I have felt deeply as I have seen the powerful influence of animal passions in controlling men and women of no ordinary intelligence and ability." CG 442. Note that this vice is controlling the person, not the other way around. If we are controlled by our lusts, then we are not under the control of the Holy Spirit. We are to be wholly His, not occastionally His.
Self-abuse is one of the fleshly lusts referred to in Ephesians 2:3: ". . . Children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation [conduct] in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." Note here that the desire of the flesh is coupled with the desire of the mind, making the people "children of wrath."
1 Peter 4:2 tells us we should "no longer live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God." It is true other things besides masturbation is included in these verses--- things such as gluttony and sloth-- but one cannot exclude self-abuse, a term used in Ellen White's writings that indicates its nature, also-- both physical and spiritual abuse.
There is another danger regarding masturbation, particularly when practiced with greater frequency than might occur in marital relationships. It is the depletion of zinc from the body. Ellen White, moved to write by divine inspiration, wrote counsel that today is being confirmed. She wrote, "Sexual excess will effectually destroy a love for devotional exercises, will take from the brain the substance needed to nourish the system, and will most effectively exhaust the vitality." Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 477. And also, "The body is enervated, the brain weakened. The material deposited there to nourish the system is squandered. The drain upon the system is great. Ibid., p. 470.
What is this "substance" or "material" needed to nourish the brain and system that is depleted by sexual excess, including masturbation? Zinc. And read the following for ways its depletion can affect one spiritually and mentally.
Dr. David Horrobin, an M.D. and Ph.D. from Oxford University, states: "The amount of zinc in semen is such that one ejaculation may get rid of all the zinc that can be absorbed from the intestines in one day. This has a number of consequences. Unless the amount lost is replaced by an increased dietary intake, repeated ejaculation may lead to a real zinc deficiency with various problems developing, including impotence."
"It is even possible, given the importance of zinc for the brain, that 19th century moralists were correct when they said that repeated masturbation could make one mad!"—Zinc (Vitabooks: St. Albans, Vermont, 1981), p. 8.
This statement is similar to that made by Carl C. Pfeiffer, Ph.D., M.D., in his book on zinc. He declares: "We hate to say it, but in a zinc-deficient adolescent, sexual excitement and excessive masturbation might precipitate insanity."—Zinc and Other Micro-nutrients (Keats: New Canaan, Conn., 1978), p. 45. (quotes found at http://www.truthorfables.net/zinc_brain.htm)
See Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce [TSB], pp. 269-270, appendix A "Masturbation and Insanity." Also see An Appeal to Mothers, entire book.
A third danger of masturbation is the risk of reducing the size of the penis or causing weakness known as erectile dysfuntion or impotence. An erection is not caused by muscles but by blood flow into spongy tissue. When that tissue is treated roughly, damage occurs--sometimes even scar tissue. This is referring not only to surface but internal abrasions. Repeated damage accumulates.