Skip to content ↓

Porn’s Ever-Evolving Verbs

Evolving Verbs

Porn existed before the digital era, though it was rarely spoken of and was relatively scarce. In these days it primarily took the form of images printed in magazines stashed in (and stolen from) the forbidden top rack in convenience stores. It seems quaint now, but in those days porn was something we only looked at. [Look: “Perceive with attention; direct one’s gaze towards.”]

By the time we were in our twenties and thirties, porn had evolved. Liberated from print, it first made its way to Betamax and VHS before making the leap to the new digital formats. It rolled over the internet like a virtual Ghengis Khan and soon subjugated an entire generation (who, as it happens, found themselves only too eager to be conquered). Those silent static photographs of their parents’ younger years had been replaced by high-definition video. Porn was no longer something they looked at but something they watched. [Watch: “Look at or observe intently over a period of time.”]

Porn is no longer something we merely have to look at or watch, but something we can experience.

Today, porn still exists, of course, and is just now leading the charge into the new and growing medium of virtual reality. To hear it from those who are blazing the trail and those who have already experienced it, this VR porn offers something far more immersive than flipping pages in a magazine or endlessly clicking videos on an x-rated site. Porn is no longer something we merely have to look at or watch, but something we can experience. [Experience: “Encounter or undergo and event or occurrence.”]

Tomorrow, porn will continue to exist, of course. Its future forms remain opaque for now, but will undoubtedly take advantage of the many new innovations that reduce the distance between technology and biology, that employ smart, responsive devices capable of delivering physical actions and sensations. Porn will be something we do and something that is done to us. It will be something in which we participate. [Participate: “Share in or be involved in an action or event.”]

Porn’s verbs have evolved of the years, but the sin that lies at its root has not. In its earliest and most basic forms, porn was a manifestation of rebellion against God and his law; in its final and most advanced forms, porn will still be a manifestation of rebellion against God and his law. The growing strength of the verbs simply displays the reality that sin is never content, but always longs to progress. Sin goes from thrilling to boring in an instant. Discontent to merely look at or watch what God forbids, we demand to also experience it and participate in it. Inevitably we will find ourselves dissatisfied, longing for new verbs that express deeper depravity.


  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (May 21)

    A La Carte: A theology of immigration / Christian catholicity in an online age / Violent pornography’s assault on the marriage bed / Heresy that warrants no apology / Franchising church / With each passing moment / Kindle deals / and more.

  • Why Do I Feel Such Profound Loneliness?

    This week the blog is sponsored by Moody Publishers and is written by Steve DeWitt. The story of human loneliness has its roots in the character of God and God’s purpose in creating us.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created…

  • Stop Swiping Start Serving

    Stop Swiping, Start Serving

    I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that in the past few weeks, you have probably not gotten rip-roaring drunk nor participated in a debauched drinking party. You have probably not given yourself over to rampant sexual immorality or a life obsessed with sensuality. At least, I hope not

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (May 20)

    A La Carte: What media got wrong about supposed Christian self-immolation / We are walking on holy ground / “His Glory and My Good” / How pop Nietzscheanism masquerades as Christianity / Why a full calendar doesn’t necessarily produce mature church members / Thinking biblically about social justice / John Piper Kindle deals / and…

  • One Measure of Greatness

    One Measure of Greatness

    While all of us ought to see evidence of marked growth in our knowledge of God, our relationship with him, and our obedience to him, none of us ever evolves beyond our need for the ordinary means of grace. We never “level up” to such a degree that we gain access to some hidden extraordinary…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (May 18)

    A La Carte: What it takes to survive ministry / The power of prayer / The dog’s game / Why do Christians do bad things? / Does it matter whether seminary education is in-person or online? / Greet one another with a … what? / and more.