Every parent has the responsibility of eventually having “the talk” with their children. You know the talk I mean—the one that finally tells the children where babies come from. I don’t think there are too many parents who look forward to the conversation or too many that are confident with their handling of it. But somehow we blunder through and both we and our children survive.
I spent much of this week preparing a couple of conference messages about God’s design for human beings and human sexuality. This required diving deep into the differences between a biblical understanding of sexuality and the one espoused by the culture around us—an understanding that requires deconstructing what humans have always believed and creating all kinds of new and alternate categories. (See, for example, The New Birds and Bees.) The more I read about the utter confusion that surrounds the topic today, the more I became convinced of the need to not only see “the talk” as a parental responsibility, but to see it as a parental privilege. “The talk” is not only an opportunity to convey information, but an opportunity to convey wonder.
Just pause for a few moments to think about the human reproductive system, the subject of that infamous talk. Let’s consider just one aspect of it. Have you ever thought about why we use the word “system” to discuss reproduction? When I was writing a book on productivity I had to look up the definition of a system and arrived at this: “A system is a set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole.” A system usually looks outwardly simple but is actually very complex; the complexity is hidden because of the smooth functioning of the whole. In that way, human reproduction involves a system—a stunningly simple and complex system. The wonder of it is that an independent and fully-functioning male reproductive system can combine with an independent and fully-functioning female reproductive system to become one much greater system. Not only that, but when combined they can create an entirely new system, an entirely new person. There’s nothing like it! It is mind-boggling and very nearly miraculous. It is wonderful—it evokes awe and wonder.
Now think about the prevailing understanding in society that these two systems came about through evolution, through the fortuitous combination of time and chance. No, really. People deny the design and insist on chance. Think about the corollary that because they came to be without the involvement of a designer, there is no particular meaning or significance to them. Certainly there is no moral responsibility attached to them—they can be used however we see fit. In fact, we can’t even insist that what looks so obvious actually is obvious. We can’t even insist that the difference between the sexes has meaning. Think of the hopelessness and meaninglessness, and contrast that with the sheer wonder of admitting what God has done and marveling at it.
Many years ago, Elisabeth Elliot wrote these words:
Throughout the millennia of human history, up until the past two decades or so, people took for granted that the differences between men and women were so obvious as to need no comment. They accepted the way things were. But our easy assumptions have been assailed and confused, we have lost our bearings in a fog of rhetoric about something called equality, so that I find myself in the uncomfortable position of having to belabor to educated people what was once perfectly obvious to the simplest peasant.
Though she was not writing about twenty-first century sexual confusion, she may as well have been. What was once so simple has become so difficult. What was once so obvious has become so complicated. What was once a source of wonder has become a source of confusion and uncertainty. And in the face of this confusion and uncertainty, we have the joy of celebrating God’s good and wonderful design. We can celebrate what God has done, what God has made.
“The talk” is a time to help your children marvel at God’s good design and to see the evidence of his handiwork behind it. Your task is not just to convey the necessary facts, but to convey the appropriate wonder. Your task is to say, “Look what God has done! Look what God has made!”