I remember the first time I heard Tina Turner. Silent Bob introduced me to her before we were married.

He, like most men at that time, found her to be the epitome of female sexuality. All legs, she aggressively, suggestively danced while singing with the Ikettes. There was a directness, a rawness to her music that translated to sexual promise, telegraphed through her thighs and calves. Despite the lack of an hourglass figure (I remember thinking her body was all most mannish) her legs promised whatever whoever was watching her could imagine.

In 1984, Tina released “What’s Love Got To Do With It?” She strutted, her legs still as agile as her voice, throwing that mane of hair around and throwing out the question rhetorically while walking along a chain link fence. Love had nothing to do with sex. It was a matter of biology.

“You must understand
That the touch of your hand
Makes my pulse react
That it’s only the thrill
Of boy meeting girl
Opposites attract”

I’m talking about all of this because in the way the universe works, or at least the one in my head, that song came to mind at exactly the same time I was pondering a comment about sex contained in a book I was reading. A book written a little of short of 2000 years ago.

The book was the gospel of Matthew and the particular verse has confused me from the first time I read it.

Before I tell you the verse, let me set the stage.

The man who wrote the book was a well educated Jew living in Syria, probably around 80 AD. Let’s just call him Matt realizing that we do not actually know the name of the writer of the book because our earliest copies do not display a name designating authorship. As a Jew, Matt lived his life with all the rules that his home country, Israel, had taught all Jews. News, accountings, happenings, history of any kind were written, archived and sent through handwritten letters and documents, passed along by whatever method available.

Rome was the political and social power west of where Matt lived that was becoming more powerful with each day. In the town he lived, he and his fellow townspeople likely had the same philosophical worries we do, they were just framed on a different stage. I am sure he worried about his future. No doubt he worried about his children if he had them. How much was Rome, its culture, social morals, sexual climate going to affect his own culture, his family? Maybe this Jew found that living in Syria, he had some nice Roman neighbors, maybe even a few Greeks, dark and swarthy, that were his friends and he wondered at how much they had in common or didn’t. Maybe he or someone he knew loved a dark skinned beauty who never knew any of the rules that Jewish women had to obey. I imagine he pondered more esoteric questions that have always been part of our sentience. What is our purpose here? What happens when we die? Are we alone?

Add to all of this social and culture change, Matt was living with the knowledge that something pivotal had happened in his country. It was being talked about, debated, and influencing almost everyone he knew. The event was effecting the world as he knew it. The event was calling on the truth and reality of those old testament rules and laws that he and all other Jews had memorized, treasured, and discussed.

It was the birth, short life and death of a carpenter named Jesus.

About 50 years before, the man Jesus, had made public claims to be the son of God. He claimed he was the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy. He engaged anyone he came across, with wanton disregard for social acceptance, in public and in worship places, telling them the good news that he had to share. He amassed followers. They were called disciples.

Jesus must have been the most down to earth person you could be around and yet nothing like other common craft workers of his day. He could argue logic and knowledge of Old Testament rules, better than trained rabbis. And yet there was evidence that he wasn’t subject to natural laws. There were individuals claiming that he had performed miracles. He healed people. One of the people closest to Him was a doctor and even he had written down instances of how Jesus had some kind of supernatural power when it came to health issues. In three short years, he was tried, beaten, found not guilty, summarily sentenced to death by the very church leaders he had spent time with and crucified. In the most astounding account, and witnessed by hundreds of people, after being dead for three days, he had come back to life. As He had told them He would.

Matt would surely had access to some of the early documents that had recorded all of this; he may well have had some in his own library. There were people still alive, first hand witnesses. The scrolls he had access to weren’t the equivalent of archived copies of the National Enquirer detailing aliens. These were serious documents being pass around, scrutinized for details. According to the stories being written and the stories being told, this Jesus, this son of God, wasn’t found guilty in the way the highers up of the Jewish synagogue wanted him to found guilty, as attempting to abolish the law, the very fabric of their lives. Basically He’d taken the laws and put heart to them. In a way that had never been explained.

He was a revolutionary in the most gentle of ways.

Christ explained the role of love in every single law.

More than that, He gave examples of what he meant.

He wanted you to love everyone. He wanted you to love others above yourself. He wanted you to love the people you thought didn’t deserve to be loved. He wanted to show you how much He loved. He was the original unconditional love guy.

(We are just about to circle back to Tina.)

One of the stories that Matt wanted to make sure was written down in his book for everyone to know was one of the times the Jewish religious leaders were trying to trip up Jesus.

There were two main groups of Jewish religious leaders in Jesus’ time. Those that believed there was life after death (the Pharisees) and those that didn’t (the Sadducees). There were other differences, but this suffices for now.

The way things worked back then was just like now, but different. People would hear that Jesus was going to be talking somewhere, so a crowd would gather. As Jesus went along teaching, the Pharisees and the Saducees tried to prove in public that He was not worth listening to. As Matt relates the story, the Pharisees had already come to where Jesus was talking, thinking they were going to show him up and ended up slunking out of the gathering with their tails between their legs. The saducees tried next. They didn’t believe in resurrection and already knew that Christ’s main story was “love me and you will live forever.” They thought they had him.

Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. Finally, the woman died. Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”

Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’ ? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”

When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.

Say what?

No marriage in heaven?

This is the verse that has troubled me.

Honestly, Heaven seems like it will be missing something with out the connection that sex, ahem marriage, offers to us humans.

That is because in my mind, just like in most humans, love is strongly correlated with sex. Or at least we like to say it is.Tina might sing to her heart’s content that love is a second hand emotion, but we all know how much sex plays a part in our ability to know, for certain that we are accepted, that we are loved.

Nothing else explains the fact that there are people out there, who believe, or maybe just want to believe, that Hugh Hefner can garner the attention of four young women simultaneously, because they love him.

Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.

But that’s how love, the need for it, can make us delusional. And how we can forget that sex is not love.

That’s why what Christ was saying about love resonated with those around him.

And should be what every Christian understands about true love.

Just for the heck of it, I googled ‘love without sex’, which has such search result ramifications that I made sure I didn’t do it using any of my employer’s resources, in case somebody wanted to hold me accountable for the majority of content in a million plus returns. However, among all of the search floss and dross, was a young woman named Julie who’d thought about the issue from a perspective I never would have had and decided she write about it on the internet. And two thousand years later, with her words, a little bit of Tina floating around in my brain and the words of Matt, it finally hit me today what Christ was saying, why there is no sex, uh I mean marriage, in Heaven.

It’s because there is a fundamental rule about humans. No matter how smart we get or how fast we can transfer information, no matter how free we get in expressing sexual desire or wants, no matter how enticing someone strong long legs might be, what we actually require is love.

We can manage without sex. We can’t do without love.

We were made to have love. We have to have love. Sex is a brilliant  invention of God’s that assures life goes on, (yeah, baby), but it was never meant to be a substitute for love. On Earth and especially in Heaven. Love lasts forever. Love has no limits. Love never fails.

Upon further examination I think it was rather clever of God, the whole way He planned things.

Knowing what Christ taught sure made things simple and clear. Maybe not always easy, but simple. Show love. How satisfying can you get, no matter what the circumstances.

Heaven’s going to be heavenly.